If you’re thinking of boarding your dog in the near future, it’s important to brush up on everything you need to know about this experience beforehand. Boarding can be a stressful time for you and your pet both, but with enough preparation and knowledge to help you get started, the situation can be as easy as possible.
Below, our Houston, TX, veterinarians give a quick rundown of some of the most important tips to keep in mind when you’re planning to board your dog. With the help of this guide, you should know how to begin and what to expect from the boarding experience.
Any good quality boarding facility is going to require vaccinations for your dog. Some facilities may require only rabies and kennel cough vaccines, while others may require much more. It is up to you to reach out to the boarding facility ahead of time to find out which vaccines are required for your pet.
You will need to get written proof from your vet that your dog has received the required vaccinations before you can take her to her first stay. After that, the boarding facility will likely want updated medical records for your dog every year thereafter.
Spaying or Neutering Recommended
Although it is not usually required for your dog to be spayed or neutered before being boarding, it is often strongly recommended. This recommendation is simply because many dogs will get into fights with each other when they are intact, but these fights are much less common when dogs are spayed or neutered.
Some boarding facilities may require dogs over a certain age to be spayed or neutered no matter what. It is entirely up to the boarding facility to decide this, and if you are unable to comply, then you may need to look at your second choice instead.
Provide Food and Treats
You will need to provide more than enough food and treats from home for your dog during her stay. This means you should likely bring in a new, unopened bag—or a good portion of a large bag that has already been opened—to ensure she has enough to eat while she’s there.
You should also provide detailed written instructions for how much your dog is fed and how often she gets her meals. You should additionally let the facility know how many treats per day your dog is allowed to have, and whether or not she is required to perform a command (like “sit”) before she gets them.
Visit Ahead of Time
Always visit your boarding facility of choice ahead of time to make sure it is a safe and clean environment for your pet. Any good quality dog boarding facility will be happy to take prospective new clients on a tour and show you how things work at that specific location.
If the boarding facility is not willing to show you around, this should be a red flag that it isn’t clean or safe. The facility should also be able to answer questions you may have about your dog’s care while staying at that location, too.
Boarding facilities book up fast, especially during the summer months and at winter holiday times. As soon as you know your vacation dates, book your boarding facility of choice right away. The sooner you can let them know your needs, the better off you and your dog both will be.
Make sure to double-check with the facility at the time of booking to ensure your dog has all the paperwork and vaccinations she needs beforehand. Then, call again a couple of weeks before her stay to be sure that nothing has changed.
Look for One-on-One Time
Many boarding facilities for dogs take so many dogs at once that they don’t have time to spend one-on-one with any of them. This is not a safe environment for your dog or any others, so it’s important to look for facilities that provide one-on-one time every day.
Your dog should get at least an hour or two of time to play with a human member of the boarding facility’s team daily. Additionally, your dog should be spending more time out of her kennel or crate than in it.
Our Houston, TX, Animal Hospital Offers Dog Boarding
Boarding can be difficult for you and your pet alike, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep this information in mind and you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect boarding facility to keep your pet safe during your travels.
Remember, too, that boarding isn’t the only option. Depending on how long you’ll be gone, you may be able to hire a pet sitter to keep your dog at home instead. This option can become pricey for longer trips, however, so it’s important to consider your budget, your pet’s needs, and your family’s needs as well.