Boarding our dogs can be stressful — for us and for our four-legged companions. Since boarding often comes alongside the chaos (or upheaval) of human traveling, we often forget what we should pack for our pups. Whether you’re boarding your dog at a daycare facility or a friend’s house, you’ll want to make sure you have some essential items ready to go. The idea is to make sure your dog is safe and comfortable while you’re away. This way, you can rest assured that your pup is in good hands, while you enjoy your travels. So what should every owner pack for her dog’s boarding stay?
Proper identification is one of the most important aspects of dog ownership, even if you’re just living everyday life at home. But during a boarding stay, you’ll want to make sure all your pet’s information is up-to-date. A collar with an ID tag, along with a microchip, is arguably the best form of identification for dogs. They should both hold information pertaining to your dog’s name, your name and phone number, and perhaps even your address. Going one step further, you’ll almost certainly want to include emergency contact information.
Emergency Contact Information
Just as you would for a human child, leaving emergency contact information for your dog is a great idea. If you’re leaving town, you’ll want to leave the name and phone number of someone in the area to help care for your dog in the event of an emergency at the boarding facility. A friend or family member is probably the best bet, as they are often good friends with your pup, too! Along with their information, it’s best to include the information of your veterinarian. Your regular veterinarian will have all of your dog’s health records on file and can use them as a reference should something happen while you’re away. If your general practice veterinarian is unable to help, he or she can refer the boarding facility to a local emergency facility. If you’re familiar with the emergency clinics in your area, it’s probably a good idea to list them for the boarding kennel, as well. The more information you leave, the better the kennel staff can react in case of an emergency.
A Familiar Blanket or T-Shirt
It’s no surprise that our dogs miss us when we’re away. Staying in a boarding facility, or even at a friend’s house, can be stressful on our pups, so leaving them with something familiar can help them feel more at home. A worn T-shirt or blanket is always a good idea. These items hold your scent, your dog’s scent, and the scent of the rest of your household. The familiarity will help soothe your dog should he become stressed or homesick, and these items are very easy to pack in your pup's bag. Plus, they’re soft and physically comforting.
Favorite Snacks and Toys
If your dog is staying somewhere other than home, there’s a good chance he is going to need some distractions to stay busy during the day. Packing long-lasting chews is a great way to keep your dog occupied during his visit. Bringing his favorite toys will also help entice him to enjoy his stay and play with any new friends, human or canine, he may make. These items may also remind your pup of home and make him feel that the routine is staying somewhat normalized. For example, if your dog gets a certain treat at a certain time every day, you can ask the boarding facility to do the same thing.
Some boarding facilities offer their own food, but a sudden change in diet can be bad for our dogs, especially if it’s happening during an already stressful time. Whether he is staying with a friend of yours or at an overnight daycare, we highly recommend bringing your dog’s normal food. And you’ll want to pack extra food, just in case something unexpected interferes with your travel schedule. Flights are delayed and missed, and stays are extended for a variety of reasons. If this happens, you’ll want to make sure your pup has enough food to hold him over until you return. The last thing you want is an unexpected extension to turn into a bigger upset tummy for your pup.