How to Board Your Dog in a Kennel

Puppy in blue kennel, boy playing with him.

You'll most likely need to travel without your dog at some time. Even though it's difficult to leave your pet, you should make sure your dog has a secure, cozy area to stay while you're away. You may either hire a dog sitter to come to your home or board your dog in a kennel, depending on the circumstances.

Before You Begin

Ask your friends and your veterinarian for advice if you're thinking of your dog in a kennel. Then, call several kennels to learn more. Dog owners frequently ask a few fundamental inquiries concerning boarding. Prior to booking for your dog, be sure to ask the facility these questions.

What You Need

Depending on the kennel, you may be asked to bring certain things to make your dog's stay more comfortable, including:

  • Dog bed or crate
  • Familiar toys
  • Food
  • Medical records and emergency contact information

Visit Kennels

It's crucial to be aware of your dog's temporary living arrangements. Request a tour of the facilities to check that they are clean, orderly, and odor-free. Think about the runs or cages. Boarding in a cage can make a dog anxious if they are not used to it, even while it may be OK for a dog that has been trained to utilize a crate. Additionally, senior dogs with arthritis require more space to move. Find a boarding facility that provides premium boarding if you don't like the notion of your dog spending the entire time in a little cage. These "pet motels" sometimes offer compact rooms with dog beds and toys, creating the impression of a home. For boarding a dog that hasn't been crate-trained, this could be your best alternative.

Match Your Dog's Lifestyle With Exercise Options

Some boarding facilities only allow dogs to go outside twice daily for a little period of time. It might not be a problem if your dog is accustomed to this. Look for a kennel that can take your dog for walks three or more times each day if you want to give them a little additional exercise. Ask whether there is a fenced-in area at the kennel where your dog may have some freedom. If not, ask if the staff can walk the dogs for a while as opposed to just letting them go potty fast and putting them back in the cage.

Consider Food Plans

Even if your dog is used to it, going to the kennel might be traumatic for it. A dietary shift may put more strain on the body, which might cause vomiting or diarrhea. The simplest method to avoid this is to bring your dog's usual food. Find out if feeding a special diet will cost you more (this is somewhat customary). Don't forget to emphasize how crucial it is to provide your dog his normal meal. Some dogs won't enjoy their boarding experience, so you might want to bring something enticing but nutritious that can be mixed in with the food to make it more appealing. Make careful to provide the boarding facility explicit guidelines about what your dog may and cannot eat.

Interaction With Other Dogs

Dogs are allowed to play off-leash together during certain daily sessions offered by some boarding facilities. While your dog will get a lot of terrific exercise and enjoyment from it, it may also be dangerous. Even dogs who get along with other canines might get overstimulated in a pack setting, which can occasionally lead to a battle. If playtime is permitted, staff members should closely supervise the dogs and only permit a small number of well matched dogs to play together at once. Inquire about the facility's rules for dog playing, including their set procedure in the event of an injury.

Plan Ahead in Case of Illness or Injury

Every boarding facility should keep track of their boarders' regular routines. Most people record their food intake, water consumption, urine, and feces. Other unusual behavior, such as vomiting or diarrhea, should be recorded. Particularly if the boarding facility is a component of a veterinary hospital, some boarding facilities may do a daily "once-over" on boarders to ensure there have been no changes in their physical condition. Find out where ill pets are taken if the boarding facility is not a veterinary hospital. If your dog need medical treatment, find out if it may be transferred to your own veterinarian.

Look into boarding your dog with a veterinarian if your dog has a medical issue, needs special care, or has to take medication. This alternative—often the only one you have for a sick pet except caring for it at home—is offered by many veterinary facilities.

Budget for the Kennel You Choose

Budgeting for your dog's lodgings is a part of vacation preparation. Be upfront and honest regarding the boarding facilities. Inquire about the daily base boarding rate based on the size and breed of your dog. Ascertain whether there are any additional fees or hidden expenditures, such as charges for giving your dog a special food, administering medicine, or providing extra walks. If at all feasible, try to obtain a written estimate in advance.

Preventing Problems

You will need to take other options into account if after doing your study you conclude that boarding is not the best option for your dog. You might board your dog with a friend or relative or arrange a pet sitter. Further preparation might be made on how to travel with your dog.

Make sure the boarding facility offers a phone number you can call in case your dog has an emergency while it is being boarded (and make sure your emergency contact is aware of this). You want someone who can act as your proxy in an emergency and is quickly reachable. It might be useful to have a written, signed document that designates your emergency contact as your proxy and grants them the authority to make all emergency medical decisions in the event that you are unable to do so.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.


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