Happy Cat

Your furry friend might be the cutest, cuddliest, friendliest cat or dog around, but just being adorable and loveable is not enough to get them through the door of a boarding kennel. To be eligible for any length of stay at a doggy day care or overnight kennel, it’s important to vaccinate your pet with up to date shots, and the papers to prove it!

What to Vaccinate Against

Vaccinate Your Pet
photo credit: @mariskar

At the very least, dogs staying at a boarding kennel must be up to date on their canine distemper vaccine that prevents distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus (DHLP). Most kennels prefer dogs to have the optional Bordetella and rabies vaccines as well.

For cats, the core vaccine known as the feline distemper vaccine is required for kennel stays, which prevents feline rhinotracheitis virus, calicivirus and panleukopenia (FVRCP).

Always double-check with the kennel on their specific requirements. You will want to be pro-active in this step, as vaccinations aren’t typically a spur-of-the-moment procedure—many are administered over a few weeks until they are deemed effective. Let’s take a closer look:

When to Vaccinate

In general, pets are eligible to receive vaccinations as early as six weeks old. Vaccinations are administered on a staggered basis during the first 20 weeks of an animal’s life. Soon after, booster shots are administered as determined by a veterinarian. These secondary vaccinations depend on the size and breed of your pet, and the types of viral infections and parasites that are prevalent in your community.

It can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks for certain vaccinations to kick in and for your pet to be considered in the clear. This means that at least a week must go by from the date of the last vaccination to the dates of your pet’s stay at the kennel. Different kennels will have different policies regarding the wait times after booster shots, so call ahead if you’re concerned at all about the timing.

To avoid any issues, the general recommendation is to vaccinate your pets as early as possible, and not wait until boarding makes it become a necessity. After all, you never know when a personal emergency might require you to take a trip out of town. You’ll be less stressed knowing that a lack of vaccinations didn’t prevent you from finding eligible boarding on a moment’s notice.

Even if your cat or dog is strictly an indoor animal, vaccinations are still recommended on the off-chance your pet manages to find itself outdoors by means of escape, or if, out of the blue, guests show up to your house unannounced with their animals and decide to stay for a while. If their animals aren’t vaccinated, you’ll be glad yours are!

Why it's important to vaccinate your pet
photo credit: Flickr @merlijnhoek

Why Vaccinate

The reason why it’s so important to have your pets vaccinated before taking them to the kennel is for the health and safety of everyone involved. While you’re away, your animals will be in close contact with many other animals, and if all of the animals are vaccinated, no animal gets sick, and neither do you!

Some animals are already distressed about being away from their owners for any length of time, meaning their immune systems might be lower than usual, so the last thing they need is to be subjected to animals that are unwell.

Here are even more reasons to vaccinate your pet before a trip to the kennel:

  • Your peace of mind: When all animals are vaccinated, you know your animal is not staying in a contaminated facility.
  • Your personal safety: When your cat or dog doesn’t come home with a parasite from the kennel, you’ll sleep soundly knowing your personal safety is protected.
  • Required by most kennels: All legitimate kennels have a policy in place stating all animals need up-to-date vaccinations before they are allowed to stay. If the kennel you are considering does not require this, take your business elsewhere. If your pet is unable to receive shots due to allergies, age or titer testing, Puppy Love will accept written proof from your veterinarian.
  • Prevents additional veterinarian visits: Vaccinating your pets before a trip to the kennel prevents them from picking up an illness or parasite that could lead to expensive treatment at the vet after, or even during, their stay.

To summarize, vaccinations are strongly encouraged for pets, whether or not they are being checked into a boarding kennel. Vaccinations are a gift of modern medicine and should be viewed as a help, not a hindrance, when it comes to the wellbeing of your animals, especially if their care is ever left up to other people. Vaccinations make for happy, healthier animals, and a much better time for them during their next sleepover at the kennel.

Vaccinations. They just make sense!

If you have any questions for the Puppy Love Pet Care Centre regarding vaccination requirements, or anything else for that matter, don’t hesitate to get in touch! We are opened from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week at 2918 Lamont Road in Victoria, British Columbia.


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