If your dog can't join you on your vacation, make sure you find an awesome home away from home for them! The place you choose to board your dog is an important decision so that your dog's physical and mental well-being are taken care of.
This depends on the time of year you want to book. If you are booking during the holidays, a reputable boarding location will likely be booked months in advance. As soon as you know you’ll need boarding, place down a deposit.
The dog boarding industry is not overseen by a regulatory body, so there is no standardized set of paperwork all locations require. They should at least require your dog to be up to date on their rabies shot, canine distemper, infectious hepatitis and canine parvovirus. If they don’t require these vaccinations, stay away. Even if the dogs are not kept together, diseases can spread through bodily fluids and even air so you want to make sure the boarding kennel you work with takes safety seriously.
Your dog will either be kept in a crate, individual kennel (larger gated area), or a group room (multiple dogs housed together in a single room). The best place for your dog will depend on their training, and how they behave around other dogs.
When inquiring about a boarding facility, you want to ask where dogs are housed during the day and at night, as well as how often they are taken outside to relieve themselves. They should be flexible and do their best to reinforce your current schedule with your dog.
Ventilation is key. You want to make sure your dog says in a well ventilated, clean room at all times. The easiest way to assess this is to ask to see where the dogs are kept. If you walk in and you can’t handle the smell, your dog won’t either.
Changing a dog’s diet abruptly will lead to an upset stomach. If your dog is allergic to something or eats a certain diet (e.g., fresh food), they need to be happy to partner with you to continue your dog’s nutritional plan.
Emergencies happen, so make sure to ask ahead of time how they will react in the event of an emergency. Does the staff have first aid training? Is there a vet on staff? What happens if there is a medical emergency in the middle of the night?
If you can’t tour, leave immediately. You should be thorough as well, and insist you are able to see all the locations where your dog could be.