Dog Boarding - Choosing the Best Dog Boarding Facility

What should I consider when boarding my dog?

Good question. The most important thing to consider is what are your needs as an individual and especially what are your dog's needs? Some of our dogs may need some assistance with chronic health issues or things like that. Other dogs may be young, full of energy, and socialization is more important than being in a setting where they can be around other dogs. Our dogs often form a very close bond with you as an individual. It can be stressful when you need to leave town or board your animal for whatever reason. Looking at your specific dog’s needs is the best thing to do to help you make the wisest decision for your pet in the type of boarding.

Dr. Cason McInturff
Berry Farms Animal Hospital - Cupola Animal Hospitals

What are the different types of dog boarding options?

There are many different types of dog boarding options. The first one would simply be a pet sitter coming to your home to either stay in your home and take care of your pet or check on your pet. Other options would be boarding at a boarding facility where they may have situations where your dog can interact or play with other dogs. Dogs that are more prone to the stress of not being with you if you're out of town may be best served in an environment where they're getting extra special attention from individuals—at a boarding facility or veterinary hospital where they're getting some attention from people, and they still have that human-animal bond.

There are veterinary hospitals that board as well. Here at Berry Farms, we take care of our customer's animals when you're out of town or when you need that. There are often medical concerns for that. We know your dog well, and being able to build off that relationship and your pet being in a familiar environment is always a good thing. Still, it’s important to weigh your dog's specific characteristics or behavior. For example, you may not want to leave your dog at home alone if you're going out of town. Have the pet sitter come a few days or a few times a day if they like to eat socks and blankets and things like that. There are different risks or characteristics in the dog that you need to weigh when making your decision.

Will my dog get active social time while boarding?

Yes, depending on the type of boarding facility, there are different ways for your dog to get social time. And that's social time with other dogs or social time with individuals. Of course, your dogs will get adequate exercise because that's a very important thing at Berry Farms Animal Hospital. We're able to serve that by taking our dogs on walks around the neighborhood, allowing them to get active. Some dogs may not like other dogs or get nervous in unfamiliar environments. It may not be best for them to have the opportunity to play with other dogs that might be boarding. Again, it's essential to judge the specific situation, but of course, your dogs will get plenty of exercise at Berry Farms Animal Hospital.

What question should I ask at the dog boarding facility or kennel?

This is a good question because there are several things that you'd want to ask. I think one of the important things is, "Well, how much supervision will there be?" If our dogs are in an open environment to play with other pets, they must have supervision during that period to ensure everyone's getting along and playing appropriately. Some places provide overnight supervision and care for your dogs where someone is present. That's not always the case.

It’s also important to know the vaccine requirements for any given boarding facility because they may vary. We must prevent the spread of illness, or infection, by making sure our vaccinations are current. When our dogs are in close quarters together, it's easy for bad things to spread around. You want to make sure that your dog is current on whatever the boarding facility may require in terms of vaccination. Of course, you also want to find out about the food they’ll be getting and what things you need to bring for their boarding stay.

Is there anything else I need to know about boarding at a vet's office?

Yeah. Boarding at a veterinary hospital is a wonderful thing. Of course, you've got the eyes of a veterinarian present if your dog were to need any medical care. We see many older dogs that need frequent medications given that we can serve at the veterinarian hospital or dogs with some chronic health condition. We're able to keep eyes on them and care for them, making sure they get their medications while you're out of town. There are situations where I think boarding at a veterinary hospital may be the best thing for your pet. Again, I think it's great, too, that your veterinarian probably already has a relationship with your dog and is familiar with them and their medical records; if anything were to arise.

Is there anything I need to know about boarding at a pet hotel or resort?

Many pet resorts or pet hotels have more a la carte-type options where you can get extended playtime or even nature walks with your dog. It’s important to know the type of play that they may be getting while they're there. Is it with other dogs, and does that best fit your dog's personality? These are the things that I think are essential to ask, along with the vaccination requirements.

What do dog boarding facilities need to know about my dog?

It's vital to let them know if there are any medical or health concerns your dog may have. Of course, if there are any medications that your dog might be taking or vitamins, supplements, probiotics, it's essential to let them know about that. If your dog doesn't like certain situations, it's very important to share, such as if they don't do well playing with other pets. If they like to chew up their blanket or play with their toy a little too aggressively, it's good to let our boarding facilities know that as well so that our dogs don't eat something that they shouldn't. Dietary concerns are also essential to share. Does your dog have any sensitivity to foods or any particular foods? If you don't want them having any treats at the boarding facility, or you want them only to have your specific treats, those would be things to share as well.

What should I bring, and how should I prepare when boarding my dog?

Good question. I think the most important thing to bring would be any medications your dog may be taking. The other thing would be your dog's food. I think it's best that while you're out of town and your dog's boarded, that they have their food to eat. We see that sometimes changing up what our dogs are eating can upset their stomach. If they're already a little stressed from being in an unfamiliar environment or being away from you, then that can certainly trigger a little gastrointestinal upset, which we don't want to cause or exacerbate. Discussing food is very important.

One thing that you can do that makes things easy is pre-packaging your dog's food. Get some little Ziplock baggies. If your dog eats a half cup of their food in the morning and evening, then go ahead and pre-package those. That way, you can make sure they're getting fed appropriately and that they're eating all their food. It’s also imperative to help make them as comfortable as they can be on their stay, so bring any anti-stress toys or anything that your dog may specifically like.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (615) 224-7776, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.