5 Things to Do Before Boarding Your Dog for the First Time

Did you know that 37% of people have chosen to stay with their dogs rather than go on a trip? If you’ve invested in a fun beach vacation, you don’t want to miss out because you don’t have good dog boarding services. Instead, take the time to find a reputable boarding service so your dog can stay happy while you’re gone.

Read on to learn 5 things you should do before boarding your dog for the first time!

1. Socialize Your Pooch

If you’re the master of your dog’s world, consider expanding that world before seeking dog boarding services. A dog who only knows his human master might struggle in a different environment. Nervousness could become a stumbling block, but fortunately, your dog can overcome it.

Take your dog to the dog park to get your pooch more comfortable with other dogs. You could even schedule some play dates with a few friends and their dogs. When you see your furry friend interacting well, reward him with a treat and verbal affirmation.

Invite new friends over to give your dog a chance to interact with different kinds of human personalities. Instruct friends or curious passersby to pet your pup around its chin so as not to surprise them. Understand that for anxious pets, you need to take baby steps.

You might even be able to sign up for socialization classes, too. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations or work with a professional trainer. Ultimately, you want to start socializing your dog as soon as possible, and well in advance of a stay at the kennels.

2. Get Your Dog Current on Vaccines and Medications

When was the last time your dog had a rabies shot? Check with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is up to date on all vaccines. There’s a good chance a reputable dog boarding service will want proof of vaccines.

Ask about the distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus (DHPP) vaccine, for instance. Additionally, ask about vaccines for Lyme disease and heartworm prevention. These, and other vaccines, may require annual booster shots.

With your pup’s upcoming stay in mind, inquire about vaccines that protect against kennel cough, too. Your dog is at risk of catching this respiratory disease caused by viruses and bacteria. And the risk goes up when they’re around other dogs.

Finally, you may want to ask your veterinarian about special calming chews. These can help regulate your dog’s nervous system so your dog doesn’t get worked up. This will make the car ride to the dog boarding services a little easier, as well as the hand-off.

3. Make a Visit Before Boarding Your Dog for the First Time

Are you wondering how to choose a dog boarding service? It’s wise to scope out dog boarding services before signing on the dotted line.

Initially, you may want to do this scouting trip alone. But once you’ve found a good option, consider scheduling a trial overnight stay for your dog to see how things go. If there are regular pets who board there, this will be a good opportunity for your dog to get acquainted.

By doing a preliminary visit, you can get a sense of the staff’s personalities, as well. You also can observe the cleanliness and outdoor spaces available to your pet. Bring questions, and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.

When you do officially drop off your dog for an overnight stay, be nonchalant about it. Stay calm as the kennel staff take the leash and speak with an even tone. You don’t want to induce an anxious response by being too emotional as you depart.

4. Bring Some Familiar Toys and Treats

Bringing familiar items is another way to soften the transition from home to the kennel. Load up a travel bag with your dog’s favorite treats. They’ll feel comforted and more trusting toward the boarding service staff if they taste something familiar.

Similarly, pack your dog’s food plus feeding instructions. Your dog may need special food for digestive issues or other ailments. You want to be sure that they’re not in distress eating foreign food.

Before you leave for the kennel, toss some toys into the car, too. Your pet pooch will enjoy the familiar scent of her favorite bone or chew toy. Toys will provide a welcome diversion from barking and occupy your dog during alone time, too.

And don’t forget to pack your dog’s leash. It’s one more familiar item they’ll associate with a much-loved ritual!

5. Communicate Needs and Concerns Before Boarding Your Dog

Is your dog anxious during summer thunderstorms? Or does she react with barking if someone touches her back? Any unique personality traits are ones you should disclose to the boarding staff.

Offer any details you can about your dog’s behavioral tendencies at different times of the day. If your dog isn’t used to being around other dogs, communicate this.

Provide your contact information so the boarding service knows how to get ahold of you. Make sure your dog’s ID tag features a current phone number. And consider getting a microchip for your dog as one more precautionary measure.

The best dog boarding service will work with you to take notes and make accommodations. Bring medications that your dog needs and explain dosage amounts. And, of course, if your dog is reluctant to take medications, offer tips to help the staff administer them!

Find the Right Dog Boarding Services

Boarding your dog for the first time can feel like a stressful experience. But if you do preliminary visits, you can find the right blend of attentiveness and professionalism. After all, you want your furry best friend to be happy and healthy while you’re enjoying a little vacation time!

Find more tips to support your pet’s wellbeing. Check back for new articles!