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Boarding Your Dog

AUTHOR: Robins Nest
Jun. 24, 2010

by  http://www.petparents.com

Choosing the right day care/pet boarding facility is paramount in providing pet owners with peace of mind while on vacation. You wouldn’t just drop your child at daycare without touring the facility. It should be the same with your pet. First and foremost – take a tour of the facility.

During your tour, ask yourself:

  • Do the dogs coming into the kennel seem excited to be there?
  • Do the pets look happy/seem well cared for?
  • Does the staff seem knowledgeable and caring?
  • Does the facility look and smell clean (not like wet dog)?

Know the right questions to ask:

  • Are dogs required to be current on vaccinations and parasite (flea/tick/heartworm) preventative product?
  • Are pets checked for fleas upon drop-off?
  • What veterinary services are available?
  • How often do they clean cages, exercise animals?
  • How do they handle pet emergencies?
  • How often are pets fed? Can the owner bring a pet’s special food?
  • Are other services available such as grooming, training, bathing, massage?

Walk away from any facility that doesn’t:

  • Ask for your veterinarian’s name and contact information
  • Ask about your pet’s vaccinations or parasite control products
  • Have a plan for what to do in case of a pet emergency
  • Smell or look clean

Here are some tips for preparing yourself and your pet for the separation:

  • Leave behinds. Favorite toys or blankets can be lost during playtime or as the facility’s laundry is being done. So, if you do leave something with your pet, make sure it is something you or your pet can live without.
  • Do a trial run. Consider short, overnight stays at the kennel prior to an extended boarding stay to help your pet get used to boarding.
  • No pre-board binges. Don’t overfeed your pet right before going to the kennel. The extra food is not really necessary and the result might be an upset stomach.
  • Parasite protection. Make sure your pet is current on parasite control treatments (such as K9 Advantix® flea, tick and mosquito control for dogs or Advantage® flea control for dogs and cats).
  • Don’t overcompensate. Prior to boarding, show your pet a bit less attention than usual. That may be painful for you in the short-term, but if you start overcompensating for your coming absence with lavished affection, your loss will be more keenly felt by your pet.
  • Stay cool. Don’t get over-emotional at the drop-off or pick-up. The scene you cause can really stress out some pets since they can sense and reflect our emotions. If any family members won’t be able to control themselves, leave them at home.

Before you bring your pet home from the kennel, consider the following tips to make their return home as happy as your own:

  • Settle in first. Unpack and get everything settled at home before going to the kennel. Open up the house, get back the familiar smells, and relax for a bit if possible. You want your pet to come home to the house he remembers.
  • Remain calm. Don’t go crazy when you pick your pet up. If you don’t stay calm, your pet may pee all over you when he mirrors your excitement. Act as though nothing has happened and it’ll make future boarding easier.
  • Give them the once-over. Upon pick-up, make sure your pet looks okay. Also, visually inspect your pet for fleas, ticks, cuts and scratches.
  • No bingeing (again). Limit the intake of food and water for the first 24 hours. Pets (especially dogs) given the opportunity will eat and drink everything in reach.
  • Zzzzzzzz. Pets may sleep a lot for several days because they have been up all night barking and partying with all their friends.
  • Don’t worry, be happy. If your dog is depressed and not happy to see you, it’s probably just because he’s had a good time at the kennel. Try not to take it personally.

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