Should I be Worried About Boarding My Dog?

July 05, 2022

You're about to head out of town and your trusted friend, who usually takes care of your fur baby while you're gone, is unavailable. You might turn to your computer and Google "best dog boarding facilities," but the information is overwhelming, and you don't know where to begin. It's OK if you're feeling nervous. If you're boarding your dog for the first time, it's natural to have a lot of questions.

How do I choose the best dog boarding facility?

You can start by talking to your veterinarian. It's also smart to ask your friends or family members who own dogs about their experiences, go online and read the reviews of recommended facilities, or do a drop by to see what things are like when they're not expecting you. Finally, interview someone at the facilities you are considering. Here are some good questions to ask:

  1. Do you have staff onsite 24/7?
  2. What is the plan in case of an emergency?
  3. What are your immunization requirements?
  4. How much exercise will my dog get?
  5. How often will my dog be going outside?
  6. Will my dog be interacting with other dogs?
  7. What do I need to bring? Do I need to bring food?
  8. Can you give my dog his medication?
  9. Will I have access to a webcam to check on my dog?
  10. What is your cancellation and refund policy?
  11. What time can I drop off my dog?
  12. What time do I need to pick up my dog?

You can also ask if any other services are available. This might be the perfect time to get some grooming done while your dog is staying overnight. You'll be extra happy to be reunited when you come back to a freshly bathed dog with a beautiful new hairdo!

What if I'm boarding a dog with separation anxiety?

If your dog has separation anxiety, there are several things that can make you and your animal feel more comfortable. It helps if your dog has things that are familiar around. When you're getting ready to head out the door, be sure to pack a favorite toy, bed, blanket, or food dish. Make sure the facility you've chosen provides lots of opportunities for distraction, like plenty of playtime and exercise. It works just as well for pets as it does for people; when you're busy, you don't dwell on being stressed or concerned.

If you're still worried, talk to your vet about medications that can help calm your dog's nerves. There are also other calming options, such as distraction toys and swaddling jackets.

Will my dog be traumatized by being boarded?

Absolutely not! It's possible your dog might eat less while being boarded because he's in a new environment. If you are allowed to bring your dog's usual food, that's a good idea. A sudden change in diet might mean your dog will eat less and find this change stressful. If your pet is on a diet, this is going to be especially important. If you've prepared properly, this will not be a stressful experience at all. If it is possible, schedule an overnight stay in the facility you've picked just to test it out — both for you and your dog. This is a good way to dip your toe in and see how things will go.

What should I do at the drop-off time?

Don't make a big fuss or linger too long. You need to remain calm even if you're feeling nervous because your dog will be able to sense your anxiety. The last thing you want is to pass along your stress, and trigger separation anxiety in your dog. The best thing to do is deliver your pet with enthusiasm and walk away.

And before you ask, no, your dog will not forget about you. Dogs have excellent memories, and just think about how great it will feel when you come back for pick-up!

If you find yourself thinking, "but I'm still worried about boarding my dog," then reach out to us at Forever Vets. We'd be happy to walk you through the boarding process to ensure you're comfortable with boarding your dog.