How To Prepare Your Dog For Boarding
When traveling out of town, you can't always bring your beloved dog with you. Even if you typically rely on dog-sitting arrangements to care for your dog while you're away, you may face a situation where you're in urgent need of dog boarding services to care for your pet while you're away.
Since some dog boarding needs can arise last-minute, it's important to educate yourself on your dog boarding options, and to make sure your dog is prepared to be boarded even if you have no imminent travel plans that would require a boarding service. To help you get ready, here are answers to some common questions about dog boarding, including how to find the right service for you.
What is Dog Boarding?
Dog boarding is a paid service where your dog is cared for and housed by a boarding facility in your local area. These boarding services can house many different dogs at once, and provide a range of services to keep your dogs happy, healthy, and safe while you're away from home.
Typically, dog boarding fees are charged on a per-day basis, although some services may carry added charges. Additionally, the size of your dog—and, in some cases, the size of your dogs' private space—may also affect your dog boarding rate.
What Should I Consider When Choosing Where to Board My Dog?
If you have the luxury of choosing between multiple boarding places for dogs in your area, you may not know how to compare these different boarding services beyond the rates they charge. While price is always a consideration, you should also compare your options based on the following important criteria:
- The private space given to your dog: What kind of private space will your dog be housed in? This can range from a small metal kennel to a mini-room equipped with a bed, toys, and other basic accommodations. Make sure water is constantly available to your dog in this space.
- Immunization requirements: Does the kennel require immunizations for all dogs, and if so, which ones? While this may be important for being approved to board your dog, it also keeps all pets safe at the facility.
- Interactions with other dogs: Will your dog be allowed to interact with other dogs, and if so, how will this be managed and monitored? If you don't want your dog interacting with other dogs, is this okay with the boarding company?
- Relationship with vet clinics and hospitals: In the event of a medical emergency, where does the kennel go? How quickly will your dog receive medical care?
- Staff presence on-site: Are staff on-site 24 hours a day, or are pets left unattended for periods of the day or night?
- Professional certifications: While not every boarding company will have a certification, professional stamps of approval from the IBPSA or other organizations may provide greater accountability and peace-of-mind when choosing a boarding service.
Will Dog Boarding Services Keep Up On My Dogs' Medication?
Many dog boarding services will be happy to keep up on medication needs when kenneling dogs. However, some may charge an additional fee, and others may only be willing to provide medications that have been prescribed by a veterinarian.
For these reasons, it's always recommended that you ask about medications when evaluating a dog boarding service to make sure you will be comfortable with their policies.
What if My Dog Has Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety can be a particular struggle for certain dogs, and this anxiety may be heightened when being boarded—especially if your dog is being boarded for the first time, or being placed in a new facility. While you won't be around to help ease this separation anxiety, you can increase their comfort by sending familiar items with them when boarded, such as blankets and toys that smell like home.
You might consider discussing this anxiety with the boarding service, and asking if they can be extra vigilant when monitoring your dogs' mental health. Some boarding services may also offer extra one-on-one time or other services to give your dog added comfort during their stay. Consider asking about these services if you believe they may help your dog acclimate to their new environment.
Do I Need Immunization Records to Board My Dog?
In general, dog boarding services do require up-to-date immunizations before they will accept your dog in their facility. Vaccinations help protect your dog from dangerous illnesses they may encounter at the facility, and they also protect the rest of the dogs from being exposed to contagions that could seriously injure or even kill them.
At What Age is Puppy Boarding Possible?
While the minimum age for boarding a dog varies by boarding service, it's common for most boarding services to not admit any dog until they're old enough to be fully vaccinated against contagious diseases. This typically happens between 12 and 16 weeks. Once these immunization records are available, you can board your puppy.
How Can I Find Dog Boarding in My Area?
While a search engine will turn up any dog boarding services in your area—as well as online reviews from past customers of that business—it may also be helpful to ask your local veterinary office if they have any recommendations for local dog boarding companies. Your vet may have better information about the quality of care received by dogs at each facility, and the vet may also have existing medical care relationships with certain facilities, which can be a benefit to your dog if they ever have medical needs while being boarded.
By taking time now to prepare yourself and your dog for the requirements and expectations that come with being boarded, you can ensure a better transition when the time comes—and, by doing your due diligence about your various boarding options, you can have greater peace of mind about the experience your dog is enjoying while you're away.