11 Things to Look for When Boarding Your Dog

Updated on July 8, 2019
Teeuwynn Woodruff profile image

Teeuwynn has owned dogs her whole life. She has enjoyed the companionship of everything from Pugs to Newfoundlands.

You won’t have to worry too much about your precious pooch when you go on vacation or on a work trip if you follow these 11 recommendations to make sure you pick the right place for your dog to stay while you’re away. Having the peace of mind to know your pet is well taken care of can mean the difference between a great vacation and one filled with nagging stress.

1. Is the Kennel's Inspection Certificate Up-to-Date?

Some states require kennels to be inspected regularly. If your state requires this, make sure any kennel you consider displays a current inspection certificate. Does your state require kennel certificates?


2. Does the Kennel Require Current Vaccinations?

It's very important to make sure any kennel you choose requires all animals boarded there to be up-to-date on vaccinations. A kennel or boarding facility is an easy place for disease to spread, and you don't want your dog to get sick while you’re away.

3. Is the Kennel Clean?

The boarding facility should be clean. All animal waste should be cleaned up quickly using sanitary spray or wipes. Take some time while you are at the kennel to make sure the staff is keeping up with animal waste on a regular basis.

4. Is the Staff Friendly?

Employees should be friendly with you and with the animals at the boarding facility. Employees should be willing to answer questions, interact with your dog in a friendly manner, and treat you politely too.

Ready to go!
Ready to go!

5. Does the Kennel Have an Indoor and Outdoor Play Area?

Dogs should have access to both inside and outside play areas. Dogs can get stressed if they don’t have any access to outdoor spaces for a prolonged period of time.

6. Does the Kennel Provide Your Dog With Enough Space?

Each dog should have a place to rest comfortably without being crowded. The amount of space required depends on the size and activity level of your dog. Remember, most dogs are comfortable resting in a space where they can easily get up, turn around, and lay down without difficulty.

Bonus Tip! Enough Exercise?

Talk to the kennel to make sure your dog will get enough exercise. What's enough? That depends on your dog. If your dog isn't too active, a couple of activity breaks or walks should do it, but a more active dog might need three playtimes a day to avoid excess anxiety.

Are you SURE I have to go?
Are you SURE I have to go? | Source

7. Can You Bring Your Dog's Regular Food?

Ask the kennel staff if you can bring your dog's regular food for his or her stay. Dogs' stomachs can get easily upset by a sudden change in diet, and the additional stress of being away from home won't help with that either. Keeping to the same diet will really help your dog feel more at home while waiting for your return.

8. Can You Bring Your Dog's Belongings?

Another comfort item you can bring for your dog is his or her bed. The familiar scents and feel of the bed will help keep your dog’s stress levels down. You might also consider leaving an old shirt of yours that you have worn recently as it will have your scent on it. You are very important to your dog, and your scent is a comforting reminder of home.

If you do decide to bring your dog’s bed or any other item to the boarding facility, make sure to wash it when you get home just to make sure you aren’t bringing back any unwanted bugs or germs.

9. Be Prepared!

Before dropping your dog off at the kennel, make sure you are both as prepared as possible. Provide a list of your contact information (including information on where you will be staying), your veterinarian, and a local friend.

Bring any medications your dog is on and provide information on what the medication is for and when and how the staff should administer it. If your dog likes to be petted in a specific way or has other unique quirks, let the staff know that too.


10. Go for a Visit or Two

Ask the kennel if you can come by with your dog for a visit one or two times before your trip. This can familiarize your dog with his or her temporary home. Hopefully, this will make it a little easier on both of you when it’s time for the actual drop off.

11. Relax!

Finally, relax! You and your dog will both do best if you don't get too stressed out about the upcoming separation.

Having your dog stay at a kennel can be stressful for both you and your pet. But if you do a little research and spend some time preparing your dog, you can both have a great experience and an even better reunion.

Ready to play!
Ready to play!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2018 Teeuwynn Woodruff


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