Boarding Your Dog.
Choosing the Right Option.
Holiday time is here and many of us are excited to be jetting off for a few weeks of well earned relaxation. For many owners this will mean leaving the care of their beloved dog to someone else. It is vital that you think carefully and make arrangements well in advance. There are 3 main options people tend to choose:
• A pet sitter
• Boarding kennels
• Home boarding
When deciding you need to consider where your pet will be safe and happy. Which ever option you choose do spend the time thoroughly researching. Ask friends , the local Vets, pet shops and dog trainers for recommendations. Be prepared to pay for a proper service, you want your dog to enjoy their holiday too and not be stuck in a crate for long hours in someone’s house! Check that they are licensed and insured. Even the most confident of dogs can feel unsettled when their familiar routine and surroundings are changed. It is therefore important that the environment is secure and that the person caring for them is knowledgeable, qualified and experienced. This will mean they can quickly identify if your dog is uneasy and know what to do to help them settle.
Ideally you want to find a place which has great facilities so your dog can enjoy enriching activities. Some centres will offer things such as training, swimming, country walks and even agility. A well structured routine with fun sessions helps settle dogs quickly and if they are occupied having fun they are less likely to pine missing you!
Things to Take.
If you opt for your dog to be looked after elsewhere here are some things to take:
• Your dogs food-do not change your dogs diet, if you need to, provide your own. You don’t want your dog getting an upset tummy.
• Some treats you know your dog loves.
• A selection of his/her favourite toys. Ideally have some they can have access to all the time and others they can have interactive play sessions with the carer. If you have any enrichment toys eg Kong’s which can be stuffed take them pre prepared so your dog can enjoy them during quiet periods.
• Your dogs bed, although most places will offer bedding there is nothing better to help your dog feel more relaxed than their own bed. If your dog uses a crate as a bed it’s a good idea to take it, the door wont need to be closed but many dogs who use crates love their den!
• Write a detailed information sheet about your dog, it will really help the carer if they know about your dogs temperament, what they enjoy and don’t. Include bad things( if there are any) as well as good eg if your dog gets agitated when being groomed or likes to be left alone when eating.
• Vaccination records and Veterinary surgery details.
• Medication(if applicable) and information relating to it e.g. the drug, dosage, the reason for it, directions for administration, the prescribing vet etc.
• Emergency contact details. Include your mobile number, where you are staying, your vets details and a friend or family member who is willing to be a contact if you are unavailable.
• Anything else you feel will make your dog feel more at home- I’ve known people take rugs for the floor!
The Day You Take Your Dog.
The day you are going away is usually hectic and everyone is excited. Your dog will pick up on this and it can cause him or her to become anxious so it is a good idea, if possible, to take your dog before the mayhem starts.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time so you are not rushing and have time to register and discuss your dogs care in detail.
Even though you may feel guilty , anxious or upset about leaving your dog, it is important to try and hide this from them. If you don’t they are likely to become upset too. In stead try to be upbeat and save your tears until you have left.
A great tip is to give your dog a high value treat eg a Natural Instinct ‘Goodie Tube’ so that when you leave they have a tasty distraction.
Now its time to relax and enjoy your well earned break. Whilst you are away keep in contact with your dogs carer, they will be happy to give you updates and many even will send you pics or short videos of your dog enjoying their break too.