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Spring has arrived which means summer is not far behind. Warmer weather means vacation plans for many families. If you’re unable to travel with your pets, making vacation plans also means making plans for your furry family members to go into a boarding kennel. This can be a stressful time for both you and your pet so we want to discuss how you can best prepare yourself and your pet for boarding so you can relax and enjoy yourself while traveling.

The most important place to begin is to make a reservation as early as possible. Many people choose to travel during the warmer months which means kennels can fill up quickly. Therefore, the earlier you begin the process the more time you have to compare boarding kennels to find the best fit for your pet.

Boarding our furry family members can cause us to worry and feel guilty. Consider boarding with a kennel that provides ample play time as well as the opportunity for your pet to run around, exercise, and interact with other dogs. Making sure your pet is happy and enjoying themselves while boarding will certainly add to your enjoyment while you are separated from them.

Most boarding kennels require your pet to be up to date on their vaccinations. This is important, not only for your pet’s well being, but for all of the pets boarding at the kennel. Take a moment to check to ensure your pet’s vaccinations are current. If they are not, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Don’t forget to request documentation from your veterinarian to show the boarding kennel proof of updated vaccinations. The vaccines most important are those that protect against Rabies, Distemper, Bordetella, Parvo Virus, and Influenza.  Bordetella, otherwise known as kennel cough, is especially important. Where dogs congregate, there is a risk of upper respiratory infection which is highly contagious. So protect your pet and make sure their vaccinations are all up to date prior to their going into a boarding facility.

Another important consideration is flea and tick preventives. If your dog is not currently receiving preventives, get them started before they board. Ask your veterinarian which spot-on treatment or oral medication would be best to protect your pet as well as the other pets he or she will encounter while boarding.

Don’t forget to pack your dog’s favorite food. An abrupt change in their diet could cause your pet to develop a stomach upset or worse. Take a few minutes to prepare daily portions of your pet’s favorite, regular food. You can go one step further and place it in small, individual bags or containers in the appropriate serving size. This will not only be beneficial to your pet but will provide you peace of mind knowing your pet’s diet is not disrupted while boarding.

Another very important step before boarding your pet, is to write down the name and phone numbers of an emergency contact. Choose someone who can make decisions on your behalf should an emergency occur and the kennel is unable to contact you.

Finally, stay calm when dropping your pet at the kennel. Our pets are sentient beings. They can sense when we are worried or stressed. It is important to remember this at the time of drop off. If you remain upbeat and positive, your pet is less likely to become nervous or agitated. So do your best to stay calm. Not only will it help your pet, it will be a great start for a happy, restful vacation for you and the rest of your family.