Make the time to tour some kennels in advance and choose the best one. There are bad kennels out there, but there are also really good kennels and everything in between. Find the one that is right for your dog by taking the time to schedule a tour.
2. Make sure the kennel staff is aware of your dog’s special needs.
Does your dog have a sensitive stomach? Is your dog on special medications? Writing out a short list might be helpful if your dog is on medication or has allergies. You don’t need to write a book but do list out all special needs such as my dog has seizures, is food aggressive or is scared of thunder.
3. Feel free to bring your dog’s food.
A good kennel will encourage this because dogs have sensitive stomachs and might get sick if they suddenly eat a different brand of food. Bring enough of the food in a sealed container with a little extra just to be safe.
4. Bring a special toy or blanket for your dog.
It is reasonable to bring something like a bed, toy or blanket from home that might make your dog feel more comfortable. Don’t bring in all his toys because that is just extra work for you and the kennel staff.
5. Leave a phone number where you can be reached.
Leave your cell phone number and also a friend’s number in case you are out of cell phone range and they need to contact someone locally. You will want the staff to be able to contact you or someone who knows your pet if there is an emergency or if they have a question about your dog.
6. Respect the kennel’s pick-up and drop-off hours.
Remember that the kennel staff are working. They have families and pets at home so respect their hours of operation.
7. Make the departure quick.
There is no reason to make the goodbye more stressful than it needs to be. You will only make it worse for your dog if you are anxious or excited because he will pick up on your stress level and think there is a reason to be anxious. Stay calm and your dog will remain calm. It’s best to just quietly hand the leash over and depart.
8. Don’t worry if your dog is tired when he comes home.
If your dog comes home tired, it’s because he has been busy watching and playing with dogs all day. Once he’s home is the time to catch up on sleep because he won’t have to keep up with all the other dogs. It is also common for a dog to eat less while staying at a kennel, so don’t stress if your dogs loses a pound or two. You should be worried, however, if he comes home sick, really dirty or if he is lethargic for more than two days.
9. Call and check on your dog, but don’t be a nuisance.
Calling once or twice during your trip to check on your dog is fine and probably a good idea. Just don’t be that obsessive pet owner who calls every day or more than once a day! Trust that the staff members are doing a good job. Remember, they are all dog lovers too!
10. Thank the boarding kennel staff for a job well done.
Tip the person who walks your dog out to you. Tip the person who bathed him. Send a thank you or even just say thank you and mean it. Showing any kind of gratitude can go a long way. Remember, these people are taking care of your dog. You want them to feel appreciated so they will continue to do a good job. A tray of cookies wouldn’t hurt, either. They will remember your deeds the next time you kennel your dog!