Having to stay at a kennel can be traumatic for a dog. The environment is often loud and full of strange people and dogs. They are not in a comfortable room, lounging on a sofa like they are used to doing at home. For you, there’s the worry your dog will be safe and happy or the trouble they may cause. Whether you are preparing for a week-long stay or just a weekend, there are things you can do to prepare your dog for a stay that is safe and pleasant.
Preparing Him to Be Left
If you are home most of the day, then chances are your dog is not used to be left alone for longer than a couple hours. For these dogs, a kennel stay can be very traumatic not just because of the environment, but because you don’t return quickly. So for starters, you need to begin leaving your dog for longer and longer periods of time so they get used to you not being around. If you work all day, your dog is already used to this routine and he won’t be as upset.
If your dog shows signs of separation anxiety – it’s time to work with a professional dog trainer.
Since almost every type of kennel facility will put your dog in some type of crate or run during part of his stay, crate training can help them be comfortable in a confined space. For this work, you will need to start the training a least a couple months before you plan to leave them.
If the kennel you are using also offers daycare, it’s a great idea to leave your dog there a couple times just for the day. This allows him to get used to the people, dogs and smells. It also lets you know whether or not your dog is going to be able to handle it. Not all dogs are suitable for these types of kennels. Better to find out during a trial when you can go pick him up, than when he is stuck there for a week and you are away on vacation. If they don’t offer daycare, have your dog spend a night or two to help him get used to it. Again, better when you are around to pick him up if the need arises.
These tips will also help with a dog that has to go to a groomers and be left in a kennel until it’s their turn, or even a stay at the veterinarian’s office.
Keep Him Healthy
While the kennel should require it, make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccines he may not normally get, such as bordetella. This is a vaccine that dogs do not always get because if they are not in contact with other dogs, they probably are not in danger of getting sick. However, at a kennel there will be many other dogs. In addition, stress and the large amount of activity in the play area can cause their immune system to get run down, making them more susceptible. A dose of flea control is also a good idea.
Check out the kennel before booking and make sure it’s clean and that proper disinfectant is being used. Nothing worse than getting your dog back and he has an illness or fleas.
Doing these simple things can really make a difference in how enjoyable of a stay your dog has at the kennel. Not to mention keeping him out of trouble so that he is welcome back the next time you are
going on vacation. If it turns out your dog is not suitable for a kennel atmosphere, your next option is a pet sitter. Check out this article on how to pick a good pet sitter for your dog.
(link to our other article).