Boarding your dog
The alarm clock rings, you open your eyes and you think “it’s vacation time!” Today’s the day. Imagine being led to a closet-sized hotel room comprised of no walls at all, just transparent mesh. No carpet, either. Concrete. Your neighbors are angry, dysfunctional and loud. You are in an echo chamber which magnifies your neighbors’ distress. Your room smells of cleaning fluids and worse. The door latches behind you and you settle in to wait for whatever happens next. People come by to give you food and water, but these people are strangers to you. This is what your dog experiences when he or she is kenneled during your vacation.
As with humans, the stress comes out sideways. Some manifestations include
Refusing to eat
Shivering and shaking
Chewing (infrastructure, self)
Chasing his or her tail
Lunging and jumping
To mitigate these effects, before boarding your dog:
Visit the kennel and assess how well it is run, how knowledgeable the staff is, and what the staffing model is during and after-hours.
Make one or more trial runs at the kennel and find out how he or she reacted. View footage if it is available.
Bring familiar toys, blankets, bedding and even a piece of your clothing when you arrive.
Realize, too, that you have another option. You can hire a pet sitter so that your pet stays in the comfort of his or her own home. This does not eliminate the pet’s stress when you’re on vacation--your pet knows that you are not there. But, it is the next best solution. Especially when you provide several sitter visits a day and ask for walking, play time, and cuddling. A good sitter will give daily updates and photos of your pet’s day so that you know what’s happening at home.
When you know that your pets are in good hands, you can truly enjoy your vacation.