Although dog boarding is a routine for some people, if you have a large network of friends and family to watch your dog, you may have no experience with boarding at all. This can make your first boarding experience after moving out of range of your family a somewhat nerve-wracking one, but you can reduce your worries by double-checking to make sure you have all the preparations in place beforehand. Here are some of the crucial requirements to get out of the way.
If you're boarding your dog on the weekend, a holiday, or another high-demand time, you should be sure to make a reservation beforehand so there will be room for your dog when you arrive. This is especially important if you board at a high-end, high-demand facility or if you're boarding with an independent sitter who boards dogs in their home and can only accommodate one or two at a time.
It's important for your dog's health that he or she be vaccinated, but it's important for the health of the other dogs being boarded that you can prove your dog is vaccinated. Boarding kennels won't take your word for it (and if they do, you should be very wary about boarding your dog there); they need to have your dog's vaccination records in front of them. If you don't have a copy, you can ask the vet for this next time you're in the office and then drop them off at the boarding kennel in advance, or you can simply call your vet during business hours and ask them to fax the records to the kennel. It's important to do this well in advance of the time you're boarding your dog, just in case there's something that needs to be updated (for instance, some kennels only require your dog to have a Bordetella vaccination once per year, while others require it every six months for maximum protection).
Food and toys
You'll need to check with the boarding kennel before packing your dog's food, toys, and bedding. Some kennels have a policy that you must bring your dog's food or pay extra, while others feed all dogs the same food during boarding. They'll usually substitute your own dog food if you ask, though. Policies on toys and bedding differ as well; most kennels recommend that you bring at least one item from home to give your dog something familiar, but some kennels forbid bringing bedding or have a policy that they're not responsible if your bedding or toys get lost during the visit (which is kind of scary if your dog is dependent on a certain toy). Check your kennel's policies and use them to decide what to bring.
Double-checking these requirements with the boarding kennel as you prepare can help you to be ready for the big day and have peace of mind that you've done everything you can to help your dog succeed at the boarding kennel.