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    896 N. Burlington Boulevard, Burlington, WA 98233 US

    360-757-3722

  • The Chuckanut Valley Feline Center

    1214 Dupont Street, Bellingham, WA 98225 US

    360-671-7707

Boarding for Dogs: What To Look For When Boarding Your Dog

Posted Jan 15th, 2023

Boarding for Dogs: What To Look For When Boarding Your Dog

When it comes to boarding your dog, you want to be able to leave them in a clean, friendly, and safe shelter. Today, our Burlington and Bellingham vets discuss what to look for when boarding your dog.

When looking for boarding kennels for your dog, it's critical to consider the needs of both you and your dog. This is because when it comes to leaving your dog at home or a boarding facility, there are more options than ever before.

If you're looking for a boarding kennel for your dog, you should know what questions to ask and what to look for. A smart place to start is to ask your veterinarian, groomer, dog-owning friends, or neighbors for recommendations on boarders or dog sitters.

Important Things to Consider

The following list contains advice for what you should be looking for or actions you should be taking to find a boarding facility that will suit both you and your dog.

  • Contact the kennel or dog sitter well in advance of your trip to schedule a visit for you and your dog.
  • Do your homework. Find out if the commercial dog boarding kennel is certified or a member of a professional organization. When interviewing a dog sitter, find out how long they've been doing it and how many repeat customers they've had. Check a couple of references as well.
  • Find out what immunizations are required. Many kennels will demand Bordetella vaccinations, as well as rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. Are dogs checked for fleas and ticks as well?
  • Keep an eye out for places that are clean, safe, and sanitary. There should be enough exercise and sleeping places that are securely fenced and have pleasant non-slip surfaces. Is it acceptable for you to visit all parts of the kennel or residence to where the dog will have access? Are they safe and devoid of hazardous chemicals?
  • Meet the caregivers and pay attention to how they connect with your dog. How many dogs will they look after at once? How much exercise do the dogs get, and how frequently are they taken out to relieve themselves? What kind of education and training does the provider have in animal care?
  • Take stock of provisions made for the comfort of borders. This includes fresh drinking water, temperature control, ventilation, and shelter.
  • Find out what happens if your dog has any healthcare needs or emergencies requiring medication and/or veterinary services. Determine if the pet care provider is certified in pet first-aid.
  • Evaluate the staffing situation. Is there proper staff on the premises 24 hours a day? Is there an evacuation plan in case of an emergency?
  • Observe the handling of the dogs. Is any interaction allowed with other dogs? How well is this supervised?
  • Is there a night shift? Will there be someone at least in earshot of the dogs in case something happens? Are there cameras monitoring the dogs at night in case something happens?

How to Prepare Your Dog for Boarding

Of course, you have some responsibilities when it comes to boarding your pooch as well. Consider this list of things you can do to make boarding your dog easier.

  • Understand the rules and policies of the boarding facility. Before boarding your dog at a new facility, inquire about its policies, procedures, and services. For instance, what kind of food do they feed the dogs, what items can you bring from home (toys, blankets, etc.), what their emergency procedures are, and if they can administer your dog's medication? Inquiring about the policies, procedures, and services provided by the facilities can assist you in determining the best home away from home for your dog.
  • When you drop off your dog, keep your emotions in check. Dogs are experts at reading their pet parents' emotions. Your dog can tell if you are stressed, overcompensating, or saying goodbye. This will be reflected in your dog's mood and behavior, making it more difficult for them to relax once you leave. Keep things simple, short, and positive to ease the transition.
  • When your dog first arrives home, he or she may exhibit a variety of behaviors. It's critical to understand that your dog may act strangely in the first few days after returning from the kennel. Your dog may be clingy, lethargic, or suffering from diarrhea. They may even consume more food or drink than usual. This, however, is a normal reaction to your dog's excitement at returning home. However, if things do not improve after a few days, contact your veterinarian.

Other Considerations

Determine the daily/nightly rates and whether they include walks, individual attention, medication administration, and bathing. What is the checkout time, and how much are late fees charged? What about the cancellation policy? Some establishments demand a fee for late cancellations.

Consider a brief overnight stay before an extended stay if your dog has never been boarded before. Even a few hours of canine daycare can be an excellent litmus test. This will make your dog more comfortable with the experience and provide the caretaker with a greater understanding of your dog's needs. It will also allow you to monitor how your dog behaves when you pick them up.

Trusting someone else to care for your canine partner is often the most difficult aspect of leaving town. Taking the effort to locate a boarding facility that you can trust and that your dog appreciates will make all the difference in the long run.

Need a boarding facility for your dog? Contact our Burlington and Bellingham vets to book a preliminary or extended stay for your dog.

New Patients Welcome

Chuckanut Valley Vet Clinic and Chuckanut Feline Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Burlington and Bellingham companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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