How to Prepare Your Dog (And Yourself) for Summer Boarding
Planning a summer vacation is exciting and can be filled with anticipation. But if you have to leave your dog behind in a boarding facility, it can also be an emotionally draining experience. With a little preparation, both you and your dog will be set up for vacation success.
Here are some pre-getaway suggestions from our team at the Good Dog Hotel & Spa. If you have more suggestions of your own, please add them to the comments section at the bottom of this article. We’d love to hear what works for you!
Meanwhile, we hope you have some exciting plans in the works for the summer, and please let us know if we can help.
Schedule boarding now.
Summer is a busy time, and boarding spaces fill up fast. Don’t wait until the last minute to make your reservations. Not only will this ensure that your dog will have a place to stay, it will help ease your mind and give you one less detail to worry about.
Visit the boarding facility.
The Good Dog Hotel & Spa encourages our dog and human families to come visit prior to your scheduled vacation. This will help both of you feel more comfortable when the time comes for that extended stay. If possible, bring your pooch to doggie daycare for a day or two. Having spent time here playing and exploring the area will make the vacation departure smoother.
Spend quality time together.
It will help both you and your dog if you spend some special time together before you leave town, and of course the same goes with other family members. Your dog will appreciate all the extra hugs, walks, snuggles and playtime you can manage. And it makes humans feel good, too!
Know what to bring.
We recommend that you bring your dog’s bed to sleep on while you’re away. The bed will smell like you and your home, and make him more comfortable.
Here’s a list of items you should bring when boarding your pup:
- Your dog’s usual food (if you change his food abruptly, he’s likely to get an upset tummy)
- Two of your pups’ favorite toys
- Any treats you usually give your pup
- Proof of your vaccinations: Rabies, Distemper, Bordetella (Canine Cough) and Influenza
- Dog collar (this is a must-have in order to board at Good Dog Hotel & Spa)
- Dog bed (although we have some you can borrow, just in case)
Exercise your dog before you leave.
Getting exercise is always key, but especially before you leave on vacation. Take an extra walk or two, play fetch, or just get your dog moving prior to dropping her off. Expending some energy will help her feel more relaxed during the transition.
Consider dog calming tools.
Some dogs that experience separation anxiety respond well to things like dog calming pheromone products, wearing a ThunderShirt, or taking calming supplements. We’ve also heard success stories from owners that use CBD treats or oil. Before trying any calming tool, consult with your veterinarian.
Stay calm, cool and collected.
On the day you prepare to leave, it’s important for you to be calm and confident, because your dog will quickly and easily pick up on your emotions. If you’re feeling nervous about leaving him, he will feel nervous about you leaving. If you’re feeling relaxed and comfortable (even though you’ll miss her), your dog will feel the same way.
Distractions are good.
Sometimes a new toy or chew will be just the type of distraction your dog needs on the day before or morning of departure. Novelty items will grab your dog’s interest, and he’ll be less focused on the hustle and bustle of packing, loading the car and vacation preparation.
Of course, your dog will miss you when you’re away, just as you will absolutely miss your dog. The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the more relaxed and comfortable your dog will be. A little preparation goes a long way and will help ensure that both you and your dog are ready to enjoy your vacation.
Give yourself and your pup plenty of time to check in.
Depending on the time of day and year, you may have to stand in line to check in. It is usually very busy between 7-10 am, and again between 4-7pm. If you have medication for your dog that will need to be reviewed, checking with the boarding facility first will help with the transaction.
Check with your facility to see if the required paperwork is available online so you can complete it prior to arrival. Facilities will always want to make sure to have the proper feeding instructions as well, so give yourself extra time, knowing that check in will take several minutes.