3 Ways to Board Your Pooch This Holiday

By Amy Loeffler      

Leaving your furbaby in the care of strangers can be stressful for both you and your pooch. Take down the anxiety level for everyone this holiday season by researching boarding facilities in your neighborhood and taking the time to plan ahead.

Services available at boarding facilities, and the facilities themselves, can vary widely. The best thing you can do is plan a visit to the kennel where you are considering boarding your dog. Even if you can’t make the visit, at the very minimum make a request. If the staff seems hesitant about your visit then move on. Staff should never feel put upon by a customer’s request to visit the facilities. Once you have narrowed down Fido’s options for his overnight stay find out what you will need to board your pet. Kennels may have rules that prohibit unaltered dogs (not spayed or nuetered) and most, if not all, kennels require your pet to be up to date on vaccinations.

No Frills
Some kennels, perhaps even your vet’s boarding facilities, are nothing more than the equivalent of large crates whereby the animals are fed and let out twice a day to go to the bathroom without much opportunity for exercise. These types of facilities will probably be less painful on your wallet, but you will pay in time spent with Fido when pick up day arrives and he is all wound up because he hasn’t had any exercise in your absence. If your pet is fairly low key and does not require a lot of exercise this may be acceptable for a day or two, but the reality is nobody likes solitary confinement, even for a short time.

Boarding, Baths and Beyond
If you tend to be scatterbrained or just suffer from a constantly jam-packed family and work schedule, try a kennel that has an on-site veterinarian. If you happen to show up sans vaccination papers on drop-off day you can always let the staff give vaccinations during Fido’s stay. Many boarding facilities also handle basic grooming needs such as baths and nail trimmings. An increasing number of kennels have expanded into day-spa-like retreats for your pet as well. The Dog House Kennel and Grooming in Newnan, Georgia is one establishment that started out as a grooming business and expanded to a doggie day care/boarding facility offering everything from hot oil treatments, to bubble baths and massages.

Camp Canine
Some kennels like the Colorado-based franchise Camp Bow Wow let your dog mingle and play with others. This can turn a dreary kennel stay into a bonafide vacation for your pet! This option may not be good for last-planning, however, as you will need to schedule an initial interview with Camp Bow Wow personnel. The interview allows the staff to evaluate your pooch for temperment and how well he gets along with others. A passing grade means he gets a green light to sleep over and play with canine friends. Camp Bow Wow also has their own version of nanny cams (called Camper Cams) so you can see what Fido is up to while you’re away.

If you have to leave your furry charge in the care of someone else, first and foremost request a visit to the boarding facility. Make note of the staff. Do they seem genuinely interested in the dogs and interacting with them? Go with your gut. If things seem off, they probably are.