Summer means taking a break from work or school to travel to a fun vacation destination… but vacations are often unsuitable for your pets. While cats are sufficient at home for a short period of vacation time (as long as a neighbor checks in daily to give them food, water and clean their litter box) you will most likely have to make special accommodations for your furry Fido. Boarding your dog at a kennel is a great solution to insure that he or she is properly taken care of.

While leaving your pets may be hard, you can be sure your dog is in good hands with an experienced boarder. Make your pet’s stay a little easier by following these 8 tips: 

Make sure the kennel staff is aware of your dog’s special needs:

Send your dog to the kennel with a list of important information that someone taking care of him or her would need to know. What qualifies as important is if your dog has seizures, is food aggressive or scared of thunder, etc. You do not have to get as specific as what their favorite treat is or at what specific time your pet is fed.

If your pet requires medication, be sure to let the kennel know the name of the medication, dosage, and frequency they need to take it. Also indicate any allergies, special foods or dietary restrictions.

Feel free to bring your dog’s food:

You’ve probably learned the hard (and messy) way what happens when you switch up your dog’s food. Dogs have sensitive stomachs and they might get sick if they suddenly eat a different brand of food. Bring enough food for your dog in a sealed container, with a little extra in case you get held up a day.

Bring a special toy or blanket for your dog:

Many dogs experience anxiety being away from home. Make them feel more comfortable by bringing their bed, blanket or favorite toy with them. Or, consider packing along something that smells like you, like a towel, pillowcase or old shirt. If you pack your dog toys, however, limit them to just a few. They may get lost in the hustle and bustle of the kennel.

Leave a phone number where you can be reached:

Give your cell phone number, as well as a friend or family member’s number in case you are out of cell phone range and they need to contact someone locally. You never know if they have an

emergency or if they have a question about your dog.

Respect the kennel’s pick-up and drop-off hours:

Your kennel may have specific times when they are available to take care of your dog. This may mean that you have to pick your dog up a day later than you arrive back from your vacation. Don’t expect them to make a special exception if they are closed. When it is time to pick up your pet, call ahead to let them know when you are picking them up. Kennel attendants will often give your dog a bath and make sure he or she is ready to go when you come to pick them up.

Make the departure quick:

When dropping your dog off at the kennel, make it short and sweet. Long, drawn out goodbyes can be stressful on your pooch, making them feel excited and anxious. Stay calm, pet him quickly, hand the leash over and be done with it.

Don’t worry if your dog is tired when he comes home:

Your dog will stay active while you are away, watching and playing with dogs all day. Our boarding facilities offer plenty of walks and playtime with other dogs during its stay. Once your pup comes home, they will need to catch up on sleep.

Lastly, call to check on your dog, but don’t overdo it:

Feel free to call and check in on your dog if you are worried about them or forgot to tell the kennel staff something important. Also, let them know if your arrival plans have change. Your dog is in good hands, and the kennel staff are experienced dog lovers making sure your pooch is as comfortable as possible.

Follow these tips and relax on your vacation, knowing that your pet is in good hands while you are gone. We offer boarding at our Albia and Ottumwa locations! Schedule your pet’s stay by calling Garver’s Animal Health Center at 641-932- 3455 or Animal Clinic Southside at 641-682-8701.