Boarding your dog, especially for the first time, can be a stressful experience for both you and your dog. Thorough preparation and providing the boarding facility with specifics about your dog will help make the experience easier and ensure your dog is happy and comfortable while you’re away. We’ve taken the most frequently asked questions about dog boarding and answered them as thoroughly and accurately as possible to ensure your dog has a positive experience.
If you’re looking for a highly trained veterinarian in Miami, FL, we’d love to see your dog and make sure they’re up-to-date on vaccinations and anything else required for boarding, so feel free to call us at (305) 842-3228.
What should I consider when boarding my dog?
The most important thing to consider when boarding your dog is their needs. Some dogs may need special attention for chronic health issues, while young and energetic dogs might need socialization with other dogs. Since dogs form a very close bond with you as their owner, it can be stressful when you need to leave town and board them. Considering your dog’s specific needs is the best thing you can do for them to make the wisest boarding decision.
What are the different types of dog boarding options?
There are a few different types of dog boarding options, with each one catering to a dog’s medical or social needs.
The different types of dog boarding options include:
- Pet Sitter – If you have a trusted friend or family member, or a highly recommended pet sitter, it could be an option for someone to stay at your house with your dog or check on them a few times a day while you’re gone.
- Boarding Facility – A boarding facility will offer your dog 24/7 care and interaction with other dogs. This is the best option for dogs prone to stress when you’re not with them, as they will receive extra attention and be distracted.
- Veterinary Hospital – Some veterinary hospitals will also board dogs, most often due to medical issues requiring constant monitoring. If this happens to be your regular veterinarian, you can rest assured your dog will be comfortable since they’re familiar with the environment.
What do veterinarians generally recommend for safe pet boarding?
We recommend a boarding facility with a veterinarian on hand or close by at all times, especially if your dog needs medical supervision. It’s also helpful for the facility to know of any unique characteristics or ongoing medical issues so they aren’t surprised or panicked about something they see. Vaccines are also vital, so make sure your dog is up-to-date on the kennel cough vaccine and, ideally, the influenza vaccine.
Will my dog get active social time while boarding?
Depending on the type of boarding facility, there are different ways your dog will have active social time with both other dogs and humans. Your dog will have adequate exercise in play yards, and some boarding facilities will even take dogs on leashed walks around the neighborhood. Some dogs may not like being around other dogs or become nervous in unfamiliar environments, so it may be best for them to avoid other dogs while boarding. Again, it's essential to judge the specific situation for your dog.
What questions should I ask at the dog boarding facility or kennel?
There are several questions you should ask for your dog’s well-being and your own peace of mind.
Questions to ask a boarding facility include:
- “How much supervision will there be?” Suppose boarded dogs are in an open environment to play with each other. In that case, you want to hear that they’re closely supervised during those times to ensure everyone's getting along and playing appropriately. Many places also provide overnight supervision and care for your dogs, but that's not always the case.
- “What is your access to a veterinarian?” As mentioned above, some boarding facilities have onsite veterinarians, and others might be a phone call away. Make sure there is quick access to medical attention either way.
- “What are the vaccine requirements?” Vaccine requirements may vary from one boarding facility to another, but they’re essential to prevent the spread of illness and infection. In a boarding facility with close quarters, it’s easy for germs to spread, so make sure your dog is up-to-date on everything required and recommended by the boarding facility.
- “What do I need to bring for my dog?” A boarding facility should provide you with a list, including everything from their food to their favorite toy. Also, be sure to note what they don’t allow.
- “What will the daily routine look like for my dog?” This should include social time, outdoor time, when they’re alone, when they’re in a group, when they’re eating, and when they go to bed for the night.
- “Are there extra services available?” Some boarding facilities also offer grooming or bathing, swimming, and other services. You might want your dog to have a special spa day if they’re prone to stress when you’re away.
Is there anything else I need to know about boarding at a vet's office?
Boarding at a veterinary hospital is a wonderful thing. You have the luxury of having a veterinarian close at hand in the event they need any medical care. Many older dogs have chronic medical conditions, and some require frequent medications. A veterinary hospital can keep their eyes on them and care for them, ensuring they get all their medications at the proper dosages while you're out of town. It's also great that the veterinarian probably already has a relationship with your dog and is familiar with their medical records if anything were to arise.
Is there anything I need to know about boarding at a pet hotel or resort?
Many pet resorts or hotels offer à la carte-type options, where you can get extended playtime or even nature walks for your dog. It’s important to know the type of play they may be offered while staying there. Is it with other dogs, and does that best fit your dog's personality? These are the things that are essential to ask, along with the vaccination requirements.
What do dog boarding facilities need to know about my dog?
It's vital to let a boarding facility know if there are any medical or health concerns your dog may have, as well as any medications, vitamins, supplements, or probiotics that need to be given. Behavioral issues are also critical to communicate, including your dog’s temperament. If your dog doesn't do well in certain situations, it's vital to share those details, such as if they don't play well with other pets. If they like to chew their blanket or play with their toy aggressively, it's good to let a boarding facility know that as well. Dietary concerns are essential to share, including any sensitivity to foods. If you don't want them to have any treats at the boarding facility or want them only to have your specific treats, let them know.
What should I bring, and how should I prepare when boarding my dog?
The most important things to bring are any medications your dog is taking and your dog's food to avoid an upset stomach. Suppose they're already a little stressed from being in an unfamiliar environment and being away from you. In that case, a different food offered by the boarding facility can trigger or exacerbate gastrointestinal upset. We recommend packing your dog's food in small bags or food containers with the correct portions for each feeding. That way, you can rest assured they're getting fed appropriately and eating all their food. It’s also important to make them as comfortable as possible during their stay, so bring any anti-stress toys or toys that your dog especially likes. You can also often bring a bed, blanket, and other comforts from home, but again, make sure to ask if these are allowed first.
If you have further questions about boarding your dog, reach out to your veterinarian. If you live in or near Miami, FL, we’d love to discuss your plans and vaccinations needed before boarding, so please don’t hesitate to call us at (305) 842-3228.