The holidays are such a magical time of year where everyone is constantly traveling to visit friends and family. While traveling can be fun and exciting for most, it can be pretty stressful for our K9 friends and their parents, too. Many dog parents enjoy the thought of a multi-day trip for just a few seconds before reality sets in: they’ll have to make accommodations for their fur-babies. Unless you have a small pup who easily fits in a carrier or you have a road trip-distance destination with a dog-friendly place to stay at on the other end, you’ll have to decide what the best dog holiday care option will be. Then it’s a combination of having to leave one of your cherished family members behind during family time plus worrying that your pup is being well taken care of while you’re gone! Finding the right way to board your dog can be an extra layer of unnecessary stress, so here are some 8 tips for boarding your dog to ensure your pup has the best possible time while you’re away!
Know Your Options
Depending on your prior experiences and your dog’s specific needs, you may already know what the best option for dog care is while you’re away. If you’re new to the whole process, however, know that there are plenty of dog boarding options to choose from! If your pup has trouble adjusting to sleeping in a new place, you can even use services like Rover, DogVacay or Care to find someone to come to your house to feed, walk and care for your pup while you’re away. These sites, which allow all users to rate one another after each stay, also offer overnight care at the sitter’s house if that sounds like a better option – these sites are great because they offer cage-free stays and often even have other dogs around that your pup can play with! If your dog has medical needs or requires special treatment, check out your trusted vet’s facilities, or look on Yelp to find the best (and most affordable) options in your area.
Do Your Research
Before deciding which boarding method you’ll use, make sure to do some thorough research. Ask your friends what their preferred facility is or which specific dog-sitters they’ve had good experiences with in the past, then check reviews. Rover, DogVacay and Yelp are all review based, so you can ease your mind by only booking sitters who have received many 5-star reviews already. For extra peace of mind, you can ask to meet up with the caregiver before your drop your fur-baby off (many sitters prefer this anyway), to make sure it will be a great fit. This goes for a boarding facility as well; you’re definitely entitled to take a tour beforehand.
Ask for Updates
When using dog-sitting services, you’re dealing with bonafide dog people, meaning they’re down to take and send you photos of your pup having a great time while you’re away. If you let them know ahead of time that you’re nervous about leaving your pup, they’ll be extra diligent about sending you daily updates on how your little buddy is doing.
Tell Them Everything
Be super open with your sitter about any issues your pup may have while you’re away, and do your best to prepare them for anything that might happen. If your dog is never around other dogs, for instance, let her know that you’re unsure how your dog will react at mealtime or if your dog doesn’t get along with cats, let her know that she’ll have to be careful on walks. They are always very willing to accommodate special needs.
Bring Comfort Items
Regardless of where you’re dropping your dog off, make sure you bring some comforting items for them to enjoy in case they have a hard time adjusting. It’s smart to bring your own food to avoid any upset stomachs, but it’s also nice to bring along your dog’s favorite toy, dog bed or blanket that brings him comfort (since it smells like home!).
Sometimes dogs refuse to eat when they’re away from home, so make sure your boarders have a backup plan. With your permission, some facilities will add chicken broth to their food to encourage dogs to eat, but you could also send along some super tasty K9 Power supplements that can easily be mixed into dry food and your pup will gobble it up right away.
Don’t Forget Treats
Another way to make sure your dog warms up to the sitter right away is to leave behind some treats! Let your sitter know how many you allow your dog to have in an average day and order some K9 Power Carnivore Cookies for the occasion!
It’s easier said than done, but now that you’ve done all the research and made sure your pup is under the best possible care, try to relax. Don’t linger too long when you’re dropping him off and try to remain calm as your dog will pick up your emotions and feel stressed if you are. Trust that your dog is in good hands and enjoy your vacation knowing that your fur-baby will be enjoying his vacation too!
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