By Dr. Caitlin O’Donoghue
We’re in the middle of the holiday travel season and many pet owners are boarding their pets. Leaving your pet with someone else can be anxiety-inducing, on top of all the other stressors of the season. Our vets have brainstormed recommendations for preparing your pet for boarding, to provide you some peace of mind.
BEFORE THE STAY
For dogs that are easily stressed - a sitter that can board the dog at their own home or the clients is often better than a facility.
Clarify with the boarding facility what your pet’s day to day will look like. Some facilities charge more for playtime, extra walks, private rooms or in-room cameras. Knowing what to expect will alleviate some stress, and clarifying with the boarder will prevent surprises.
Make sure your dog is vaccinated for Kennel Cough. Most boarding facilities require this, but even if yours does not - get them vaccinated! Kennel Cough is highly contagious and can take weeks to fight off.
If you have enough time, take your pet to the boarding facility prior to your trip so they can familiarize themselves with smells and staff.
Pre-bag food and label everything brought (painters tape can be stuck to bedding) and keep a list of what’s brought.
Let your vet know your traveling and leave a card on file Incase you can’t be reached.
DURING THE STAY
Bring a bed/towel/blanket/t-shirt from home so that your pet can have something familiar with them. This can help ease stress for some pets.
You can usually book or ask for individual playtime with staff. If your pet doesn’t like to play, they can also offer extra cuddle time, which we usually recommend over group play sessions.
Thundershirts or supplements, if recommended by your primary care vet, can alleviate anxiety and ease the time away from you.
Overall, the more you know before the trip and the more open your communication is with your boarder, the easier things will be.
Safe travels and happy holidays!