18/03/2020 12:00 AM
Deciding to put your pooch into boarding kennels can be a stressful time – for you as much as your dog. You can’t be completely sure that they will settle into their new surroundings, especially if they are prone to separation anxiety.
However, there are certain steps you can take which will increase the chances of your dog taking to their temporary home. If they’re happy, you’re happy, at the end of the day.
In this article, we’ll highlight some important pre-boarding tasks and we’ll discover the maximum time you should leave your dog in kennels. With a bit of luck, when you return to pick up your pooch, the kennel staff will report that your pup took to boarding like a duck to water!
As your pup may more than likely encounter other dogs at the kennels, it’s best to make sure they’re covered with dog insurance before their stay.
The first thing you should do is consider whether boarding is the right option for your dog. You have options, even if it sometimes feels like you don’t. Assuming that there’s no feasible way of bringing your dog with you – perhaps you’re going on a family holiday abroad – here’s what else you could do other than packing your pet off to boarding kennels:
Is there anybody that would be willing to look after your four-legged friend while you’re away? It can sometimes be embarrassing to ask – but somebody in your network might enjoy being given the opportunity to care for your canine for a few days.
If there is a trusted member of the family or a friend willing to do it while you’re away, you’ll probably feel a whole lot better about having to leave them behind – especially if they’ve already spent time with your dog in the past.
To add an extra bit of incentive, you could always invite the person to stay at your house while you’re away – perhaps promising them a fridge full or food or something else appealing? It goes without saying that your dog will be happier for being in familiar surroundings.
If your pup will be staying in another house with your family or friends, here are some things to think about:
If they aren’t any willing friends and family who’ll look after your dog, you could seek out a pet sitter instead. Pet sitters will live in your home during the time you’re away and care for your pooch for a fee.
Paying for a pet sitter will ensure that your pet remains in their own home so they will be comfortable in their familiar environment. They might not even really notice that you’re gone!
If you like the idea of a pet sitter, here’s some advice on where to go to find a good one:
Home boarders are people who accommodate their clients’ pets in their own homes. While the surroundings will be new to your dog, it’ll be like staying in a hotel for them.
If you like the idea of home boarder, here’s some advice on how to find a good one:
If none of the alternatives will work for whatever reason, then boarding kennels it is! Instead of worrying about how it will work out, focus your efforts on finding a kennel environment that will suit your pup.
Here’s some advice on how to find a suitable dog boarding kennel:
Before your pup goes off to boarding, there are a number of important things to do.
First things first, you need to ensure their vaccinations are up to date, especially the Bordetella vaccine, which protects your dog from kennel cough.
Good kennels won’t accept your dog unless you can show them that they’ve been fully vaccinated. It goes without saying that the last thing you want to happen is for your dog to fall ill while you’re away. Nor do you want to be accused of causing some sort of outbreak in the kennels because you’ve failed to get your dog vaccinated. So, book the vaccinations well in advance of your trip.
The next thing to do is to review your pet’s dog insurance cover, checking that they’ll be covered for their stay in the boarding kennels. If you’re unsure, speak to your insurer who will be able to advise you.
Unfortunately, the chances of your dog becoming ill or injured are higher when they’re in kennels, compared to being at home. That’s because they’re out of their comfort zone, amongst other dogs and not under the watchful eye of you, their loving owner. That’s not say they will pick up an illness or an injury – but you need to guard against any costly implications if they do.
Put a list together of anything that the kennels should know about your dog. For example, if your dog has allergies and is taking special medication, make sure you write down how it needs to be administered and so on.
If your dog has any special dietary requirements, make sure these are made known to boarding staff, too. A change in diet can make your pet poorly or cause them to stop eating, so supplying food for the staff is another way to keep your dog’s stay uninterrupted.
List anything and everything. If your dog is having trouble settling, staff could refer to the list and try a few things that might bring them out of themselves. By thinking about the list in advance, you’ll ensure that nothing is missed off.
Try to make the transition into kennels as comfortable as possible for your dog by packing them a suitcase of some familiar and reassuring items from home. Their bed, bowls and favourite chew toys can all help your pooch to settle into the new environment by providing a sense of reassurance and continuity for them.
If your dog is prone to separation anxiety when left alone or when you’re not around, you’ll need to put in the hard work before you check them into boarding kennels.
By taking proactive steps to work on the root of the problem over time, it can go some way to ensuring the kennel experience isn’t too overwhelming for your four-legged friend when the time comes. But don’t expect results overnight.
When boarding your dog in kennels, you should highlight any issues that they have to staff. Even if you’ve come a long way in your training, you should still make it known to staff that your dog has suffered with separation anxiety in the past. It would be a good idea to describe to them some of the techniques which have proved successful during your training, in case your dog should need reminding when they get to the kennels.
Spend some time talking in depth to staff about the issue your dog might have, how it manifests and ways in which it can be made easier for them. Seek some reassurance from the kennel staff about how they’ve dealt with similar issues in other canines.
When it comes to saying goodbye to your dog, it’s all about playing it cool. Don’t make a big fuss of them or show any signs of your own anxiety as your pup can pick up on this and realise that something is ‘wrong’ or different to the norm. Talk to your dog in the same manner as you would if you were popping out to the shops.
In terms of how long they’re in kennels for, you might not have a great deal of choice. However, if you can, ensure their stay is no longer than a week, especially if this is their first time away from you. Anything longer than that could cause issues during their stay, or make it harder next time.
In an ideal world, you’ll gradually build up the time that your dog spends in kennels – starting from just a couple of nights away. This will teach them that, while you’re going away, you always come back, so they have nothing to worry about.
The risks to your dog increase if they have to stay in kennels, so it pays to be prepared.
Pet insurance from Purely Pets gives you protection from the financial burden of dealing with unexpected vet bills or any treatments your dog may need after their stay.
Other benefits from taking out a policy with a dog insurance specialist like us include:
Did you know that Purely Pets has been voted Best Pet Insurance Provider 2019? Talk to the team to find out more and get a quick quote today.