Preparing Your Pet for a Boarding Kennel

Once you have located, evaluated and selected your boarding kennel, there is still one thing required to assure that your pet receives the best care possible: to fulfill your part of the boarding.

Even the best kennel in the world cannot take proper care of your pet unless you assist them by preparing your pet--and yourself!--for boarding. Here are our suggestions to make everything go smoothly.

Preparing Your Pet for Boarding

Remember that pets, like people, usually appreciate a vacation in new surroundings with new friends. Dogs, once they become familiar with their new surroundings, have a marvelous, exciting time - almost like kids at summer camp. If your dog has never been boarded before, you might want to consider short, overnight stays at the kennel prior to an extended boarding stay to help him or her get used to boarding. Every time you return your dog is less likely to affected by separation anxiety and can enjoy boarding more. You'll also want to do the following:

  • Make reservations well in advance of your trip to avoid disappointment. Verify items that you should bring with you to the kennel (immunization records, special food, medication, bedding, and toys). Make arrangements for any special services that you wish to have performed while your pet is in the kennel (grooming, training, or shipping). Ask what types of payment arrangements are accepted.
  • Make sure that all immunizations are current (and have immunization records, if your kennel requires them).
  • Don't overfeed your pet right before going to the kennel. The extra food is not really necessary and the result might be an upset stomach.
  • Finally, because pets sense and reflect our emotions, DO NOT allow any member of the family to stage an emotional farewell scene. Your pets can be made to feel unnecessarily anxious about the kennel visit if they are subjected to this kind of dramatic display.

Dropping Your Pet Off

Bring all agreed upon medications and supplies. Make sure that medications list the prescription number and name of the pharmacy so the kennel can obtain a refill if your return is unexpectedly delayed.

Allow enough time in the kennel office to fill out the necessary paperwork. The kennel needs to know such things as: name, address, phone number, return date, additional services requested, where you can be reached in case of an emergency, the name of a local contact, your veterinarianšs name and phone number, special feeding instructions (if any), medication instructions, etc. If your pet has any special problems, such as fear of thunder, epilepsy, or deafness, point them out to your kennel operator.

All of this information helps your kennel take better care of your pet, especially if there is any type of emergency requiring special action. And this is what professional care is all about. Anyone can feed your pet, as long as nothing goes wrong. But what you want for your pet is supervision by someone who can assess and respond properly to emergencies.

Don't be surprised if your kennel operator asks you to leave your dog in the kennel office, rather than allowing you to place your dog in his run. This is done so that your dog will see you leave and will realize that you have entrusted him or her to the care of the kennel operator. It also eliminates the possibility of your dog getting the erroneous impression that you are placing him in the run to eguarde it. When dogs get that impression, they sometimes become aggressive. (This same response often happens when house sitters try to enter your home during your absence.)

Lastly, remember to relax and enjoy your trip! Remember that you are leaving your pet in the hands of capable professionals.

Article submitted by: Terri Perrin. This information is also published with the consent of the American Boarding Kennel Association.

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