Choosing The Right Dog Kennel Or Dog Boarder

To travel, you may be forced to leave your dog with someone else. This is not an easy decision to make, but if it is necessary, ensure your dog stays in an environment that is both comfortable and safe. Hire a dog sitter to come to your home during the duration or put your dog in a dog kennel for dog boarding.

Before You Leave

If you choose the option of dog boarding, ask other dog owners if they can recommend a few good dog kennels. Then make phone calls or visits to determine the best one for your dog. Ask each dog kennel questions about their care and policies before making your choice. Make sure you get answers before putting your precious dog in a dog kennel.

What is Needed

Different dog kennels have different requirements. You may be asked to provide the following items to ensure your dog’s safety and comfort while you’re gone:

  • A dog crate or bed
  • Dog toys
  • Dog food
  • Your dog’s medical history
  • Your contact information

Visit a Few Dog Kennels

Inspect a prospective dog kennel before boarding your dog. Ask to tour the kennel. You want to ensure that it is clean, comfortable, and safe for your pet. Look at the dog runs and cages. Some dogs are okay with staying in cages, but others may not be accustomed to being in them.

Take this into consideration when choosing a dog boarding environment for your pet. In addition, if you have an older dog with a medical condition such as arthritis, he may require a larger living space. If you don’t like the idea of your dog staying in a cage while you’re gone, consider putting your pet in an upscale dog boarding environment such as a “pet hotel.”

A pet hotel provides individual small rooms complete with dog beds and toys. Your dog will be in a home environment. This is better for dogs that are not trained to live in crates.

Consider Your Dog’s Exercise Options

Some Coquitlam dog daycare companies only take dogs out twice each day for a few minutes at a time. If this accommodates your dog’s usual schedule, this type of kennel may be a good fit for your dog. However, if your dog requires more exercise and time out, look for a dog kennel that takes dogs out three or even four times a day.

Ensure the kennel has a fenced area for dogs to run around for a few minutes every day. At a minimum, ask if the dog sitters can walk your dog for a few minutes when it’s time for him to relieve himself. This gives your dog time to exercise before going back into the cage.

Consider the Feeding Options

Even if your dog has been boarded before, dog boarding is still probably stressful for him. This type of experience is a change that can have a negative effect on eating that results in vomiting and diarrhea. Avoid this as much as possible by supplying the kennel with your dog’s regular dog food. However, understand you may be charged an extra fee if your dog needs a special diet.

Unfortunately, some dogs will not eat well while in a dog boarding situation. So, add a few special treats in order to make mealtime even better for your dog. Don’t forget to give the dog kennel staff specific feeding instructions for your dog.

Dog Socialization

Some dog kennels allow its guests to play with other occupants. This may be a fun thing for your dog, but it may also be problematic. Even if your dog is well behaved and accustomed to socializing with other dogs, too much stimulation in a group environment could lead to fights with other dogs.

If the dog kennel allows socialization, ask if the attendants monitor such dog play. Ask how the dogs are matched in terms of playtime. Are same sized dogs matched with each other, or are all the dogs put into an open space together? In addition, ask what happens if and when a dog is injured.

Dog Injuries or Illnesses

Although you don’t want it to happen, your dog could get sick or become insured while you are away. Good and reputable dog kennels should monitor its guest’s daily habits. This includes keeping logs of urination, food and water intake, defecation, sicknesses, and injuries. Some will monitor closely to ensure nothing changes physically day by day.

If your dog isn’t boarded at a vet’s office, ask what happens if your dog gets sick. Where will he be taken? Request that he is taken to your dog’s personal vet if and when he gets sick.

There are regular dog kennels, but if your dog has a special medical condition, you may want to put him in a veterinarian boarding environment. Most veterinarians provide dog boarding options. This is probably your best option if your dog is sick, and you still need to travel.

Budget for Your Chosen Kennel

People plan for their vacations all of the time, but for dog owners, this also involves making plans for their dogs as well. Shop around for the best dog kennels and get the best accommodations for your money. Determine if there are hidden costs or add-ons.

Keep in mind; some dog kennels charge a fee if they have to give your dog a special diet or medications. They also charge if they have to provide extra exercise for your dog. Get all of these special fees in writing before going on vacation.

Prevent Problems

If you perform your due diligence and determine that dog boarding is not right for your situation, there are alternatives. Get a professional pet sitter or leave your dog with friends or relatives. You could also plan to take your dog with you.

Problems could arise while you are away. This is why it is important that the dog kennel has your emergency contact information before you leave. Give them your information and that of a local friend or relative who can respond on your behalf, if something happens to your dog while you are away. Make sure this proxy information is in writing and enforceable if you cannot be reached.

Packing For Your Dog’s Boarding Kennel

Taking a break occasionally is something that all pet owners want to do, whether it’s a ten-day trip to Europe, or a couple of days spent camping. Thanks to the proliferation of facilities offering dog boarding, it’s now easier than ever to do that. And it’s just as important to make sure you have everything packed for your dogs when taking them to the local kennel, as it is to make sure your own bags have everything you need.

While you are on vacation having fun, you want your dog to be stress-free and comfortable in your absence, whether it’s his first time in a dog boarding facility, or he’s an old hand. Treats, bedding, and other essential supplies are typically included in the costs of your boarding fees, although to ensure your dog gets as much as possible out of the experience, it’s acceptable for pet owners to bring along other items too. Most dogs will benefit from having the following items packed for them during their stay.

1) Food

An upset stomach and a refusal to eat can be the unwanted results of trying to switch your dog’s brand of dog food, and for that reason, most dog owners feed their dog one or two types they know he likes. It’s important to keep everything as familiar as you can in the unfamiliar surroundings of a dog boarding facility, especially as your pet may already be anxious. Use small plastic bags of food that you can leave with the boarding staff, and these can be marked breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Be sure to leave enough food to cover the length of your trip, and make sure the amounts are similar to those you would normally feed him. It may be an indication your dog is anxious or stressed if he doesn’t eat all the pre-determined amounts of food every day.

2) Supplements and Medication

Be sure to supply the staff at the dog boarding facility appropriate and clear instructions on any medication your dog takes, as well as the correct dosages. You can include the medication or supplements in the pre-packaged bags of food if they need to be taken along with food. Many dogs take medicine of some sort, so the facility shouldn’t mind doing this.

You may want to pack some emergency medication just in case it’s needed during your absence. An existing condition in your dog can be worsened by simply being in close proximity to other dogs or by being in an unfamiliar setting.

3) Toys

Most dogs are lost without their favorite toys, and you may want to pack a few of them for him to take to the dog boarding facility, despite the fact that they’ll probably have their own toys there.

4) A Reminder of Home

You will probably miss the company of your dog almost as much as he will miss you during his stay in the kennel, and a reminder of home can be an easy and effective way to make the parting a little easier. A tee-shirt, blanket, or even an old sock are some possible things to include when you pack for your dog, as they will retain your scent and remind him of home. Your dog is much more likely to enjoy a stress-free, relaxed, and enjoyable stay if he has one or more of these reminders.

5) A Leash or Two

It’s recommended to send two leashes with your pet, just in case one gets lost or destroyed. Most dog boarding facilities will require that you send at least one leash with your pet.

6) Paperwork and Documents

Rule acknowledgment forms, a contract, emergency contact numbers for yourself, as well as medical records and vaccination histories are all paperwork that the boarding kennel will probably need. Make sure you have all of this gathered together and submitted when you drop your pet off; it can be stressful trying to get this together at the last minute or knowing you’ve forgotten something. If a form isn’t clear, ask the staff for clarification.

7) Other Items

Put anything into your dog’s bag that you think he might appreciate or need to make his stay more enjoyable; after all, nobody knows his likes and needs better than you. He may have a certain treat he can’t resist, a kong that he loves, or certain water or food bowl that he seems to prefer. It can make a big difference in how relaxed and comfortable his stay is.

Your dog’s comfort is important to us!

Just like you, we want your dog to be as comfortable and as happy as possible, and we don’t want you to have to worry about him while you’re on vacation. You can help us to make his stay enjoyable by following the tips above on what to pack.

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Good Dog Health Starts Early

by John Schwartz

Good long-term dog health has many causes, but the one common factor is an owner who takes his puppy care duties seriously right from the start. It’s no coincidence that in study after study, veterinarians and animal scientists report that when dog health is a primary concern of the owner from the outset, that pet often lives longer and suffers fewer canine diseases. The clear message to owners: put good puppy care at the top of your list from the moment you get your new friend home.

The first step to ensuring excellent dog health for the life of your furry friend is to get him checked out by a vet within a few days of bringing him home. Most doctors will recommend a puppy care regimen consisting of a series of vaccinations in the early months and good nutrition from the beginning.

While a dog’s psychological needs might make many readers scoff, it’s important to understand that proper dog health includes bonding with owners in a loving environment. That’s why puppy care involves more than just shots and food. Stress, both physical AND mental, can wreak havoc on a new puppy’s immune system, for example, which makes him more susceptible to many canine diseases (mange, distemper, parvovirus).

Finally, don’t forget your dog’s teeth in the overall dog health picture. A good puppy care plan includes lots of hard bones and crunchy treats to chew on regularly – preferably healthy versions, not typical pet store biscuits.

About the Author

John Schwartz is the owner and webmaster of He lives in East Texas with his wife, Shannon, who owns a dog rescue ‘no kill’ shelter.