Hurray, winter is over – almost! Good-bye coats, boots and shovels and hello camping, cottaging and barbecues. While many cottages and campgrounds allow pets on the campsite, they are very strict about leash use and many campgrounds do not have swim areas for dogs. For these reasons many of us will board our dog or cat with a good kennel so that they are cared for while we enjoy our short trip. A good kennel will allow you to visit before your trip, for a full tour. Kennel owners should be happy to answer any of your questions about the facility and should allow you to observe how the current residents are housed. Dogs should have access to the outdoors, either by frequent walks or the use of outdoor exercise pens. Outside areas should be secure and have sheltered areas from the cold weather. The kennel should look and smell clean. Ask family and friends for the names of kennels that they have been pleased with – and don’t be afraid to ask for extra references!
Here are a few tips to help ensure a good boarding experience for your pet:
- Bring your pet’s regular food. The stress of being away from home may cause an upset tummy the first few days, and a switch of diet on top of this can only make matters worse. Check with the kennel beforehand to ensure that they are willing to accommodate your pet’s feeding schedule. If your pet has an especially sensitive tummy or food allergy, inform kennel personnel not to feed treats.
- Bring some comforts of home. A familiar blanket, sweatshirt or toys that smell like home will help comfort your pet. Don’t pack your favourite sweater, as a certain amount of wear-and-tear should be expected!
- Make sure your pet is well identified. While good kennels should be very secure, accidents can happen. Should your pet get loose you want to be certain he/she can be identified and returned to you. ID tag with a phone number, municipal license, microchip, and rabies tag are all great forms of identification.
- Safety first. Good kennels should ask for the name of your veterinary clinic, and an emergency contact number. Be sure to choose a contact that you trust to make decisions for your pet until you can be reached. Give us a call to inform us about your vacation to help reduce confusion should veterinary care be necessary. Inform kennel staff of any special health concerns that your pet may have.
- An ounce of prevention. Good kennels will require all vaccines to be current, including vaccination against Bordetella, a.k.a. “kennel cough”. Examination, fecal and vaccines should be performed 2 weeks prior to boarding.
- Homecoming. When your pet returns he or she may seem tired and sleepier compared with usual. The kennel is a new and busy environment, resulting in less sleep. If your pet is not back to his or her normal self in a few days, a trip the vet may be in order.
If you would like more information on choosing a good boarding kennel, or other options for care while you are away feel free to drop us a line – we’d be happy to help!