Not every vacation is Fido-friendly, which means that boarding is inevitable for most dog owners. Finding a trusted facility is important, for both your peace of mind and for your dog’s comfort. When choosing to board your dog, you should keep the following dog boarding tips in mind:
Take a Tour
First and foremost, always ask to tour any facility that will house your pet. An immediate red flag is any dog boarding service that does not provide this option. You should expect to see where your dog will sleep as well as the outdoor run area. While touring, make sure the temperature inside the kennel is appropriate for the weather conditions, and that there is plenty of shade in the outdoor areas.
Check for Cleanliness
Above all, the areas where your dog will spend his or her time should be clean. All dogs should be promptly picked up after, and outdoor areas should be virtually spotless. Avoid any dog boarding facility that has an overwhelming odor, particularly of urine or feces. In addition to hygienic living quarters, the entire facility should be neat and tidy.
Next, ask questions that pertain to the health and safety of your pet. How often will he or she be given potty breaks? What happens in case of emergency? What is the fee for administering medication? How frequently will your dog’s kennel be cleaned?
Expect to Provide Information
Never board your dog in a facility that does not require proof of vaccinations. All facilities will need proof of rabies and distemper immunization, while additional vaccinations like canine influenza virus, leptospirosis, and Bordetella may also be necessary.
Make Security a Priority
Even if your dog has never made an escape attempt from your house or yard, you should still keep security in mind. Outdoor fences should be at least 6 feet tall and there should never be items lined near the fence or gate that dogs could potentially use to jump out of their enclosure. All gates should be securely locked, with safety protocols in place to minimize the risk of an escape. If your pet is a known escape artist, speak with the kennel manager and address your concerns.
Go With Your Gut
Ultimately, when leaving your dog in the care of someone else, always trust your gut instincts. If you feel uneasy about any aspect of your dog’s care, speak up or make arrangements elsewhere.
Provide Reminders of Home
When you drop off your pet at the dog boarding facility, provide your dog with a simple reminder of home such as a favorite toy or dog bed. This small step can help put your pet at ease if anxiety is a concern.
Prevent Separation Anxiety
Just like at home, the way you say goodbye to your dog is important. Do not say a dramatic goodbye or apologize to your pet as your leave. Doing so will make your dog feel anxious. Instead, use a simple phrase such as, “I’ll be back,” and say your goodbyes quickly.