Dog Boarding Tips
Rock Creek Kennels’ experienced, Certified personnel are trained in animal care and to recognize the warning signs of potential health problems and will contact a veterinarian if they feel it is called for. Many times it’s easier for us to detect problems than it is for the pet owner (e.g., blood in the urine can more easily be detected in the kennel than at home) because the animal is exercised in specific areas which are cleaned regularly.
However, it’s not part of the kennel’s job to diagnose or to prescribe. If your pet requires veterinary aid while in the kennel, you should be aware that you are financially responsible for such aid. Before boarding, let us know about any medication or special care your pet might need. Most kennels offer a certain amount of individual care (playing with, talking to, petting) but you must be reasonable. (Asking the kennel staff to check your pet at 2 a.m. to see if he’s uncovered is not reasonable.)
During boarding dogs may step in their stools or urine and become dirty. This happens in the cleanest of kennels! Some of the finest disinfectants available for sanitizing are not always the most pleasant smelling and the odor may cling to your dog’s coat. If bathing is necessary let the kennel staff know that you want your pet to have a bath on the day he/she goes home.
A Working Partnership
If you choose to board your pet, you need to understand that boarding is a shared responsibility. Here are a few things you must attend to before boarding your pet:
Dogs should be prepared psychologically for boarding. It’s best to start boarding them as a pup as soon as their immunizations are complete. Puppies usually learn quickly to enjoy boarding. Some kennels offer “day-care” services so you can leave your dog for a few hours at a time. This is an excellent way to introduce your dog to boarding. After a few visits Rover accepts a kennel as a normal way of life.
The psychological preparation of a dog for boarding (and also for helping him develop a healthy personality) also includes getting him used to new people and experiences (socialization). This is most easily accomplished by taking him through obedience classes and occasionally boarding him. Naturally, a dog who is relaxed about boarding will likely board well. A pet owner should never moan or cry over his dog in the kennel office upon leaving him. Nor should he bring out the suitcases at home the day before the trip. Both of these things cause your dog to be unnecessarily upset.
Understanding the Kennel Environment
Any time your dog stays at a kennel, he or she will experience some amount of stress. In some cases dogs may develop tracheobronchitis or, occasionally, intestinal problems while boarding. Also, some dogs carry viruses in their systems for months and begin to show symptoms only after being subjected to a stress situation. In other words, they can “catch” a disease from themselves. Sometimes temporary behavior changes occur as a result of unfamiliar surroundings. Dear sweet Rover tears up the bed he has slept in for years or “Killer,” that rowdy scourge of the neighborhood, turns into a little lamb.
Eating habits change under stress and dogs can assimilate food differently. Some will eat like canaries at home and like vultures at a kennel so they may put on a few pounds. Others may lose weight though eating well or by not eating enough. Kennel life can be very exciting and some dogs lose weight because they run the weight off as they charge around barking at other dogs and having a wonderful time. These dogs often go home exhausted but happy and sleep a lot the first couple of days at home. A successful boarding experience depends not only upon the kennel but also upon how well the owner prepares his pet for the experience.
Now that Rover is Home Again
When Rover is picked up he will be very excited to see you. Dogs do not have a sense of time. They’ll be as happy to see you after 5 minutes as after 5 days. Do not feed him (though he will act hungry once he gets home) for at least 3 hours, taking care not to overfeed. Also, excitement will cause Rover to pant a lot, lose body water and be thirsty. Give him a few ice cubes to tide him over until feeding time. Remember, in his excited state food and water can create problems.
Rock Creek Kennels is in the business because we love dogs. That goes for you, too, Rover!