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Boarding our dogs can be stressful — for us and our dogs. Since boarding often comes alongside the chaos of traveling, we often forget what we should pack for our dogs.

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. This way, you can rest assured that your dog is safe and comfortable while you’re away. So what should every owner pack for her dog’s boarding stay?


It’s essential to make sure your dog has proper identification. During a boarding stay, you’ll want to ensure 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 including your dog’s name and your name, phone number, and your address. Going one step further, you’ll almost certainly want to include emergency contact information.

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Emergency Contact Information

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 if there’s an emergency at the boarding facility. A friend or family member whom your dog is familiar with is probably the best bet.

Along with their information, include contact information for your veterinarian. They’ll have all of your dog’s health records on file and serve as a reference should something happen while you’re away. If your general practice veterinarian can’t help, they 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 also list them for the boarding kennel. 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 they become stressed or homesick, and these items are easy to pack in a bag. Plus, they’re soft and physically comforting.

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Favorite Snacks and Toys

If your dog is staying somewhere other than home, there’s a good chance they’ll want some distractions to stay busy during the day. Packing long-lasting chews is a great way to keep your dog occupied during their visit. Bringing their favorite toys will also help entice them to enjoy their stay and play with any new canine or human friends.

These items may also remind your pup of home and help them stick to a normal routine. 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.

Extra Food

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 they’re staying with a friend or at an overnight daycare, we highly recommend bringing your dog’s usual food.

You’ll also want to pack extra food, just in case something unexpected interferes with your travel schedule. Travel plans change, and stays are extended for a variety of reasons. If this happens, you’ll want to ensure your dog has enough food to hold them over until you return. The last thing you want is an unexpected extension to turn into a bigger upset tummy for your pup.

Related article: What To Know and Look For When Boarding Your Dog
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