Preparing your pets for boarding3

You’re getting closer and closer to your vacation time, and are probably getting more than just a little excited about spending a few days away from home. We know the feeling! Your bags are getting packed, the hotels and tours are getting booked, you’re scrambling to get ahead at the office so you’re all set for takeoff, and your pets are all booked into your favourite kennel. You’ve crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s, as they say.

During all of this time spent on vacation preparation, you’ll also need to remember to prepare your pets for boarding. You’ve booked their stay, and now it’s time to prepare them for THEIR vacation. Here are six ways to prepare your pets for the big day:

1) Vaccinations

The first thing to do to get your pets ready for a trip to the kennel is making sure they are up to date on their vaccinations. Call the vet to find out where Fido stands. If he needs a booster shot, make sure to book a time with the vet at least two weeks before your departure. This same guideline goes from any other treatments you usually give your dog, such as flea treatments, de-worming treatments, and preventative tick treatments.

If your pet is allergic or sensitive to vaccinations, let the kennel know well in advance so special arrangements can be made.

2) Book a Trial Day

If this will be your dog or cat’s first time staying at a kennel, we recommend booking a trial stay, which could prove to be quite insightful and save you the stress of thinking up until the day of your departure, “I sure hope Buddy is going to be alright when I’m gone.”

Having your dog stay the day at the kennel will allow you both to see how they will react to the situation. It will also give the staff a chance to meet your pet. If all goes well, your dog will be less likely to object to being dropped off when it’s time for their longer stay. And, who knows? They might even barrel out of your vehicle in excitement at the chance to see their furry friends again!

3) Pack a Bag

Much like you wouldn’t want to spend the weekend somewhere without your belongings, it’s the same for your dog. Depending on their routine and temperament, you might want to pack some items to drop off with them. First things first, however. You will need to make sure your dog is wearing a removable collar and their ID tag upon your arrival.

After that, aside from the essentials, such as special food and supplements and any regular medications your pets are on, most kennels allow pet owners to bring in additional items to help ensure their pets will enjoy their time away from home. Things to consider dropping off include a blanket or special bedding (no dry-clean-only items or sleeping bags, please!), an article of clothing that smells like you, special collars or harnesses, favourite chew toys, and grooming tools.

4) To Groom or Not to Groom? Kennel staff are not overly concerned with how pretty your pets are groomed upon arrival, provided they are in good health, of course. In fact, a lot of boarding facilities offer onsite pet grooming services that you might want to consider booking to enhance your pet’s experience away from home. They’ll be extra pampered while you’re away, and be in tip-top shape on the day you return for them. So, if your pet is adverse to regular trips to the groomers, consider saving their next appointment until they are set for boarding, thus eliminating one errand leading up to your time away. 5) Exercise and Diet If possible, take your dog for an extra-long walk on the day you are planning to drop him off. This will hopefully tire him out so he won’t get too excited on drop-off day. As for food, the kennel will have a feeding schedule for your pets, but it wouldn’t hurt to feed your animal before drop off to reduce their stress levels. We also recommend not making any dietary changes in your pet’s world during the weeks before their trip to the kennel. Special diets take time to monitor and see if your dog has a negative reaction to the dietary change, so the goal here is to avoid any negative reactions from happening while you’re out of town.

6) Be Strong!

Our pets can sense it when we are sad, scared, stressed out or anxious. This means that when it comes time to drop off your pet, you’ll need to be strong, and be brief in your good-byes! You might be worried about experiencing some separation anxiety, but showing these emotions in front of your vulnerable animals is not a good idea, as they, in turn, might become frightened over what is happening and stay that way while you’re gone.


At the Puppy Love Pet Care Centre in Victoria, BC, we are committed to making sure your pets are comfortable and happy in your absence. To ensure the day of drop-off goes smoothly for all of us, just follow the tips above and you’ll be starting off your vacation on the right foot, and your pet will be starting theirs off on the right paw! If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us for more details. We are open 7 days a week from 9 am to 6 pm!


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