boarding (1)Planning a vacation is almost as exciting as going on the actual trip. However, if your dog is afraid of the pet boarding experience, you may be more focused on worrying about how he or she will manage while you are away than the fun you’re going to have.

Thankfully, there are several things you can do prior to pet boarding that will help your fearful dog feel more safe and confident while you are away.

Take a Tour of the Kennel Before You Leave for Your Trip

Prior to the big stay, bring your pet in for a tour of the facility and to meet the people working there. Letting your dog sniff out the new smells prior to boarding will help your pet feel more comfortable when he or she arrives for their stay.

If time permits, consider bringing your pet in for a day or two of doggie daycare, or leaving your pet at the boarding facility for an overnight stay. This will also help your pet feel more at home while in our care, and help make longer stays less stressful.

Special Needs and Behavior Problems

Make sure the boarding facility is familiar with any special needs your dog may have, as well as any behavior issues.

If your dog is food-aggressive, make sure our staff knows ahead of time. If he or she is afraid of children, or thunderstorms, tell us. We are happy to work with you to make your pet’s stay as enjoyable as possible.

Likewise, please let us know if your pet has any health conditions that we’re not aware of, and be sure to pack any medications and instructions so we can care for your pet’s health, as well as their well-being.

Make Boarding Feel More Like Home

You may also want to consider bringing your dog’s usual food. This will help your dog to feel more comfortable and will avoid digestive upsets. There is no reason to bring an entire 50lb bag if you are only going to be gone for the weekend. Bring enough food for your dog, plus a little extra, in a sealed container.

You can also bring along a favorite blanket, dog bed, or fun toy. Don’t get carried away and bring every toy in the yard, just one or two should be enough. You may not want to bring the most beloved toy if your pet is likely to get aggressive in defending it from other dogs. Be sure that whatever you leave has your scent on it. This will help your pet with the homesick blues, as well as reassure him or her that you’re coming back soon.

Finally, stay cool when it’s time to say goodbye. You won’t do yourself, or your dog, any favors by getting emotional. Your pet can sense your emotion, and the worry will rub off on him or her. The best thing you can do is hand over the leash, give a quick head scratch and a “Be a good dog, see you soon!” and walk away. If your pet senses that this is no big deal, he or she is more likely to feel the same way.

A little bit of advance preparation will go a long way towards making your pet’s staycation at the pet boarding facility a fun treat. If you haven’t made your pet’s reservations yet, give us a call! Our Pet Paradise summer schedules can fill up fast, and you don’t want your four-legged friend to miss out on all the fun!