Leaving your dog behind while you travel can difficult but it’s just not always practical to bring them along. In many cases, hotels have policies against having pets in their rooms. Even if you are staying with family or friends it’s often not appropriate to bring your dog for the stay. This is where boarding your dog becomes a necessity.

Not all facilities are created equal. Check out our article on What To Look For in a Dog Daycare/Boarding Facility to ensure you find the right facility for your dog.

Boarding your dog can be a very stressful experience both for you and your furry friend. They may need a little extra TLC and a good boarding facility will make sure they are comfortable and feel good about their stay. You should also plan a visit to the boarding facility prior to your trip. Be sure your dog is familiar with the surroundings.

When you take your dog to a boarding facility there are 8 things you need to make sure you have for your dog.

1. Food

dog boarding food

Generally, your dog prefers 1 or 2 different kinds of food. These are the foods they are familiar with and we all know that new foods can sometimes have a negative impact on their appetite and sometimes upset their stomach. The last you want is your dog to be ill away from home. They will already be a little stressed being in a different place with a different schedule. Don’t let food become an issue.

Provide enough food for the entire stay. The best practice for sending food is to use plastic baggies and pre-package their meals, labeled for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This will ensure that you dog gets the right amount of food at the right time of day. Also, it’s a good idea to pack some extra food. Flights get delayed and trips can need to be extended. Having a couple days of extra food will be essential in case of an emergency.

2. Medicine

Many dogs take regular medication or supplement every day. Boarding facilities will be more than happy to be sure your dog gets all required meds and supplements. Make sure you include the instructions on number of doses, dosage amount and the schedule of when they should be given.

3. Leash

dog boarding leash

Most dog boarding facilities require that you send your dog with at least one leash. It’s a good idea to send a second leash just in case.

4. Identification for your dog

Having proper identification is an essential responsibility for any dog owner. It’s good practice to have this information up-to-date at all times but even more crucial when you dog is away from home.

Your dog should have a collar with an id tag and many dog owners will also use a microchip to ensure proper identification. At the very least your dog should have a his or her name, your name as the owner and the best phone number for you or your family. In some cases, you may add an address or additional emergency contact information.

5. Emergency Contact Information

If you took your child to a friend’s house for a sleepover you would leave a phone number in case there is a problem. Same goes for your pup when you leave them at a boarding facility. Make sure that the facility has your contact information in case of an emergency or questions regarding anything else related to your dog.

It’s always good to leave the phone number for your veterinarian as well as emergency contact information other than your phone number. Perhaps use a friend or family member who is familiar with your dog in case the facility is unable to contact you.

6. Reminder of Home

dog boarding blanket

Your dog is going to miss home and miss you as much as you will miss them. This can cause some serious anxiety for your pet. Having something familiar from home can help. To give your dog a sense of home, include something with your scent. You can use a blanket, t-shirt or sock. This can do a lot to ease their anxiety of being away from you and your home.

7. Toys

If you have kids, you know there are toys they will not leave the house without. Your dog likely feels the same way. You know what playthings makes your dog’s tail wag. Be sure to include those favorite toys to keep them occupied during their boarding stay.

8. Favorite Snacks

dog boarding treats

Having your dog’s favorite snacks can definitely help your dog feel comfortable and give your boarding facility a way to treat your pup. If your dog is used to getting a treat at a certain time of day at home, you can ask the boarding facility to do the same. Also, including some long-lasting chews is a great way to occupy your dog’s time away from home.

Good planning will help you get ready for that work trip or relaxing vacation and have you knowing that your best friend will be well take care of. And probably have a great vacation themselves.