Boarding our dogs: A personal experience

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Boarding our dogs: A personal experience

Last week I started a thread here titled "Options for boarding your dog when you have to travel."

This week I'm back to share details from my own personal experience with boarding our dogs overnight. My husband and I were familiar with Country Kennel here locally as a place where we've gone for training a number of our dogs. They also do boarding.

The first thing I'd like you to know is that we weren't actually planning to go anywhere; in fact, we stayed right here at home. "What's that all about?" you may ask.

Before boarding your dog anywhere, you'll want to make sure it's a good fit — for both the dog and you're own perceptions of he place. In order to responsibly do that, you need to be close by in case you get "that" call and have to dash out to deal with a situation or even remove the dog. Sometimes you've made a bad decision on placement, but that doesn't have to be the case: Sometimes your dog isn't ready to be away from home.

When I shared our plans with Country Kennel they actually said that they wished more people would do this, that they'd actually like to work to encourage people to start out this way.

Next — trial run or not — you'll want to make a number of preparations, sometimes well in advance.

For example: All shots must be up-to-date and you're likely to need documentation of this in-hand from your veterinarian. Heartworm testing and a negative fecal exam should be a part of this. We also learned from our own vet that many boarders are now requiring flu shots before accepting dogs.

Here are some other questions you'll want to ask when interviewing a prospective boarder:

  • Do they provide food for meals and if so, what kind? Do they have provisions for feeding your dog food that you may provide? (I highly recommend this.)
  • What about treats? These are often used as incentives and rewards, but your dog may have sensitivities that need to be considered first.
  • Is there a minimum number of overnights per stay?
  • If you have multiple dogs, will they be allowed to stay in the same space? How will they be monitored in case this doesn't work out? (Even the best of friends can sometimes get into scuffles due to the stress of being in unfamiliar surroundings.)
  • How are things monitored during business and non-business hours?
  • How accessible is boarding staff, 24/7?
  • Is there a minimum or maximum age? Breed restrictions?
  • If your dog is on medications, how will that be handled?

Consider bringing along familiar items from your dog's bedding and maybe even a garment of your own clothing (the smell of you can be helpful to them). How much? I'd say to bring no more than would fit in a paper grocery bag.

Once again: Happy Training and travels!