Advice about boarding kennels
Here are some tips on making your pet's first stay in a boarding kennel a happy one.
Phone the kennels and arrange to be shown around before you book. This will give you the feel of the place. You may think of questions to ask when you see the place.
If you think you are going to cry when you leave your dog and it will spoil your holiday, why not book him in for a very short spell as a rehearsal?
It would be awful if your dog got sick while you were away! You can prevent this by checking that your pet's inoculations are up to date before you go on holiday. Other dogs could be at the kennels who are carriers of germs. We can prevent our dogs from getting sick by inoculation. The vet will give you a certificate once your dog has had the necessary inoculations. Take this certificate with you to the boarding kennels.
Prevent your pet from getting Biliary
Biliary is a killer illness. It is spread by ticks. Fortunately nowadays there are preparations like Bravecto available from the vet to protect your dog against ticks and fleas. Make sure the product kills ticks and not just fleas! Your dog should be treated the day before it is kenneled to give it time to take effect. Send enough tick and flea product to protect the dog for the whole period. Remember it wears off!
You will not have to worry about other dogs having parasites if your own dog is protected!
You should also deworm your dog before you go to make sure the dog is in peak condition. Worm powder can be obtained from the supermarket or vet. It can be mixed with the dog's food. Click here to read more about health, illness, ticks, etc.
Label the medication
You should never leave your pet in someone else's care if he is sick. An ill pet needs its owner! However, if your pet is not ill but needs medication, make sure that the medicine is clearly labeled and has the pet's name on it and clear instructions as to how often the medicine is to be given.
If your pet is on a special diet, you can take your own food to the kennel. Write down instructions as to the quantity of food, and put your name on the container. It is the same price whether one brings one's own food, or not.
Don't send bones, hooves, or chews to a kennel. Your pet may choke on it, or it might carry the bone outside and drop it where another dog can get it. It may be the other dog who chokes! Dogs have died from swallowing bones. Even an operation could not save the dog. One would not like to risk this happening while your pet is in someone else's care!
Some kennels charge extra for grooming. If your pet needs regular brushing, you may want to send the brush you use, as there are different coat types and different brushes to suit them.
Leave your contact details
Don't phone the kennel every five minutes to ask how the pet is. If every owner phoned, that time on the phone takes the care-giver away from your pet, and the other pets. They would phone you if the pet is sick. But they will appreciate a call if there is any change in your date of return, so take the phone number of the kennel with you so that you can keep in touch.
Leave your cell phone numbers and a relative's number, and your vet's number in case of emergency.
Leave your scent
You may want to send your pet's own bed & bedding so that the pet has a familiar smell of home. Some people prefer to use the kennel's bedding, knowing that animals will chew up & tear anything! Remember that dogs sometimes play outside and jump back into bed with muddy paws if the ground is wet, so bedding will get soiled.
You might want to send a piece of old clothing that hasn't been washed, or a rag you have handled so that the pet has your scent.
Last meal at home
We all use our dogs as dustbins, but avoid the temptation to empty the fridge into the dog's stomach before he goes to the boarding kennel. He may vomit in the car, or have an upset stomach which will get him off to a bad start. Don't feed him bones the day before his holiday, or they may tear his intestines.
Your pet needs your calmness on the day you are to go on holiday! If you are anxious and unhappy about putting the pet in a kennel, your pet will pick this up. The pet will think, "The kennels must be a terrible place! My owner is miserable today!" So act cheerful!
Make a box for kitty
Cats may be upset at seeing their owners packing. They may disappear, so take time to comfort pussy and reassure him he will be well cared for. Cats should be put in a basket or box with a secure lid in case they decide to climb a tree on arrival at the cattery. Get the cat used to the box beforehand. Feed him and stroke him in it.
Put doggy on a lead
Dogs should be put on a lead in case an aggressive dog is loose when he arrives at the kennel. If you haven't got a lead, a rope or tie will do.
Say goodbye quickly
Act cheerful and confident, to instill confidence in your pet. Say "Goodbye, be good!" quickly and depart. Your pet will wonder where you have gone and will be distressed to begin with. The first day is always the worst. Plan to arrive at the kennel about midday, if the kennel allows. This way, the pet only has half a "first day" to endure. He can familiarise himself with the place before it gets dark and before he is shut up for the night.
The other dog boarders, who have already accepted the kennel as their territory, will kick up a row when they see your pet arrive. This is the initiation ceremony! The barking dies down once the animals get to know each other. Cats may hiss and spit when a new cat enters the room, but they learn to tolerate each other!
The next morning, your pet will see that the sun rises as usual and there are interesting things going on at the kennel, and new smells to be investigated. He will settle down! Remember that animals can talk. They can express hunger, loneliness and happiness. God has given them a strong survival instinct. Try not to worry!
Christmas and Easter are the busiest times in any kennel. They are likely to be fully booked, so book your pets in 1st October when know the dates you will be away. Remember to let the kennel know if you have to cancel or change the dates so that other animals can be accommodated. If your pet has never been in a kennel before, book it in for a one-night practice BEFORE the busy season, so that the pet has time to adjust when things are quiet.