Boarding your dog for the very first time can be stressful. Plus worrying about whether or not your dog will be happy and properly cared for can put a damper on your travels, but knowing what to expect can help both you and your pup have an amazing (and fun) experience.
If you are considering boarding your dog for the first time, here are some insider tips to make sure you and your dog are stress-free while you’re out of town.
Don’t avoid the assessment process
It’s common for owners to want to check out facilities without their dog to see if it meets their initial standards. However, by doing that, you’re missing the opportunity to find out if your dog likes it. While you may care about the decor, your dog is more interested in the staff, yard space, and the other pups.
Every dog behaves differently in daycare environments. Some run into the open play yard and love it from start to finish. Others need more time to adjust and get to know the staff and environment but eventually enjoy it. Meanwhile, others may never like it. You won’t know unless your dog meets the staff and the dog pack. Get started with your dog’s assessment at Fitdog.
Be open and honest about your dog’s behavior and needs
When a dog is new to a facility, the staff is depending on you to provide relevant information about your dog that will help them care for your dog in your absence. If your dog is reactive on-leash, doesn’t like his collar touched, or sometimes has minor seizures, these are all important things to tell the facility before you leave your dog.
Are your dogs cuddlers, like Max and Walter? Or do they prefer their own space?
Bring your dog to daycare a few times before you board
Dropping your dog off for boarding for the first time can be stressful for any dog. Bringing them to daycare a few times before boarding helps your dog in a few ways. Your dog will be:
- Better acquainted with the staff and the regular daycare dogs
- Understand the daily routine including the feeding schedule (critical for most pups)
- And most importantly, know from experience that you will be coming back for them
Have correct contact information on file
Avoiding email marketing is not a good reason to enter a fake email account at a dog facility. In general, dog care facilities use email to distribute a lot of essential information such as holiday hours, vaccination reminders, and report cards (you don’t want to miss these!).
If you are traveling to a place with limited phone reception or opportunities to take a phone call, you will want the staff to have a way to contact you, and that’s usually email. Whether your dog ran out of food or is experiencing a health-related issue, you will want to be able to make those decisions on your dog’s behalf. So make sure your email on file is legit.
Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date
Vaccinations keep dogs safe and minimize the risk of communal diseases such as kennel cough. In addition, facilities are legally required by the state to maintain vaccination records for dogs. As such, most facilities do not let dogs play if their vaccinations are expired. Make sure you know when your vaccines are expiring and update them accordingly. Then have your vet email the vaccine records to your boarding facility.
Book one to two months ahead for holidays
Finding the perfect place for your dog is difficult and getting them acclimated to their new friends is a process. But what’s even more frustrating is finding out that your new favorite place has no spots available over the holidays. Don’t risk it. Book ahead and be prepared to put down a deposit to hold the reservation.
Let the staff know your needs
While setting up your dog for success is a big component of first time boarding, there is another part to dropping off your dog – you! If you are the type of dog owner that needs extra pics or email updates, let them know. The staff will share with you the types of accommodations they can make to meet your needs. By not saying anything, you may be left disappointed depending on the facility’s protocol.
It’s a lot to know, but with these tips, you should be able to rest easy knowing that your dog will be in good hands during your trip and that everything is set up properly.