Hobo's Advice Column
Welcome to my advice column.
Remember, I am only a dog like you. My opinions are to the best
of my knowledge but are only opinions, researched or what I feel is
correct.. The writer of this page is not responsible for any actions
the reader may take as a result of reading this column.
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Current Column - Boarding Your Dog
There are many articles about Boarding your dog on the internet, and many are written by companies or associations wanting to sell you on their services. Some are good, and some may not be so good. We thought we should give you our own opinion.
First things first. You have many options for Boarding if you are lucky enough to live in a larger community. Don't let the cost be your main objective. This is too often the case, you are going away on vacation and already are spending a bundle so may think about saving a little here and there. But remember the statement "you can pay me now, or ay me later." It may be true for boarding your dog as well. The ultimate cost could be the ruined behavior, poor health, or even death of your dog.
You can choose between several options. There are commercial boarding kennels, upscale pet hotels, hiring a pet sitter for your own home, staying with a friend, or maybe even staying with the breeder you purchased your dog from. Of these we would choose staying with a family member that knows your dog. Our reason is that most dogs are social animals needing attention. But be sure that family member is responsible and willing (be prepared to return the favor later - or pay them!
OK so you don't have the option of a friend or family member. And you have to choose a kennel of some sort. Remember that even those flashy places may not be the same once you leave, so you have to do a little investigating.
We recommend you first talk to others who have used boarding facilities and find out how satisfied they are. Next, ask your vet. The vet of course may provide such services but often their own space is restricted so don't jump on that possibility. You can also call your local better business service or chamber of commerce. The chamber may recommend solely on the basis of who is a member (which only means they pay their dues)
Planning in advance
In most case you can not just call a kennel the day, week or even month before a trip and expect them to be able to accommodate you. Also, you may need preliminary vet services. Here are some things you should do, followed by a discussion:
1. No matter what kennel, if they are reputable at all they will require
your dog to be vaccinated and most likely require immunization for things
like kennel cough. Make an appointment well in advance with your vet
and get everything up to date. (Rabies, distemper, parvovirus (DHLPP),
bordetella, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parainfluenza, sometimes tracheobronchitis)
We also suggest heartworm preventative, and preventative for fleas and
Get all the facts about the kennel. You do not want any surprises.
So now you have investigated and found a kennel well in advance of
your trip. There are some other things you may want to do to prepare.
Folder - Once you have all the veterinary records completed, make up a folder with that information, your competed contract (if you have been provide one in advance), your vet's name and contact information, your itinerary with contact information, additional contact numbers of family or friends (especially if you authorize them to represent you in emergencies). Also make a list of any special requirements (and you have by now discussed those with the kennel to be sure they are able to satisfy those requirements), You may even want to break in a few more toys to include with your dogs stay.
When you drop your dog off.
Make sure your dog is leashed. Remember that there will be other dos coming and going from the kennel. When you arrive you will likely need to complet some paperwork. Sometimes it is a good idea to bring along someone to help by holding the leash while you do this. In some case you will have already become to know the operator, or the operator is thoughtful enough to provide help.
Don't make a big deal over leaving your dog. Your dog will read your body language. If you are overly excited, your do will be as well. Pretend this is just another moment in the day and nothing unusual is happening. The best thing is to hand the dog over and act as you will be back soon.
We suggest that you unpack and get everything settled at home before going to get your dog from the kennel. Open up the house, get back the familiar smells, and relax for a bit if possible. You want your dog to come home to the house he remembers.
Arrive during normal business hours to pick up your dog. Try to arrive at least half an hour before closing. Bring along an extra collar and lead (even the best kennels can misplace these items) You will want enough time to pay your invoice, collect all the items you provided, and of course collect your dog. But before you see your dog, ask about his stay and make sure to find out about any problems or concerns. If possible, arrange to get a copy of any comments made by the kennel's employees as this will help you in the future should you require these services. Ask when your dog last received food and water.
When it is time to great your dog for the big homecoming try to be as calm as possible, but of course happy. Many dogs will pee all over as they are so excited. You are happy to see you best friend, but you act as though nothing has happened. You are calm and your dog is happy to see you.
Try to resist a big meal or too much water when you get home. Your dog may be overly excited and become sick or have diarrhea. Wait until everything has settled down before feeding - usually three to four hours. Expect your dog to pant a lot, provide a small amount of water or an ice cube. This might be a good time for one of his favorite walks or just a little familiar cuddling.
Generally people will write in and ask us our choice of methods when we write these articles. Maybe from a dog's point of view. We have tried out a variety of kennel types and different length of stay at the kennel.
My own favorite kennel was away from the city. It was a combination of a breeder facility and a boarding kennel. The owner's home was next to the kennel and there were additional staff available night and day. The kennel also has grooming facilities, and the owner was a veterinary assistant.
What we liked the most about this kennel was the variety of excellent services. The kennel had an option of walking the dog through a nicely wooded area once or twice a day. There was a large exercise area.
The kennel itself was protected from fires with sprinklers - and more! This is our biggest fear as several kennels have burnt to the ground with all occupants incinerated. This kennel was made of block, the normal area provided an indoor area and outdoor run. There was a door between the area that provided access to the run. At night that door was closed, but in the event of a fire alarm the door would automatically open, allowing the dogs to gain access to a long fenced in outdoor run.
During the day the kennel hired additional staff to just spend time with the dogs. Great fun.
We have also used day care, and love it. Some might not agree with this type of day care as the dogs are allowed to run with each other. They are carefully screened before being allowed to come to this day care and any dog that cause problems must stay in his own run. All dogs have extra vaccination requirements. - more than the norm, do to this environment. We find that the dogs learn socialization form this experience.
The humans also have arranged for our other humans to take care of us in our own home. We liked this the best.
Oddly, the worse place we have stayed was at a veterinary office. The reason is that this is usually a crate .. maybe an occasional walk .. very boring.
Please do add your comments and suggestions by emailing us (there is
a link at the top of the page.
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