Things to Know When Boarding a Dog in Bolingbrook, IL
Even the most loving pet owners can sometimes be faced with an emergency situation which requires leaving your dog a boarding facility. The experience is usually harder on the human than the dog. If you are faced with this situation, there are things that can make it stress free for the animal and their human.
Learn About the Facility Ahead of Time
A high quality boarding facility will openly share information with you about their policies, staff, and inspection reports. If the facility has a website or Facebook page, read reviews from other pet owners and look at any photos.
Visit the location ahead of time, if possible. While certain situations arise that might force you to leave your dog in a rush, you will feel more comfortable if you and your pet visit the location before your departure date. Some places require an appointment for a tour. Others will show you around if you drop in unannounced.
As you tour the facility, notice if the flooring is stained. Notice the smell. There should not be a smell of urine or feces, but there should not be a strong smell of bleach or disinfectant, either.
Look at the size of the kennels and runs. Would your dog feel safe and secure there? Notice if there are repaired places in the kennel walls or gates. If the facility does not offer a fenced yard, look for dig holes around outdoor kennels. You don’t want your dog to escape under a fence.
Ask if you can bring your dog’s favorite things. Some boarding kennels allow you to bring your dog’s bed, blanket, or toys to help him feel comfortable. Some kennels provide beds and blankets for pets. If this is the case, ask to see the bedding to make sure it is free from rips and tears, fleas or ticks, or anything else that might harm your best friend.
Ask about the feeding and outdoor play times. Find out if your pet will be walked alone or turned out into a fenced lot with other dogs. Are there separate runs for small dogs and large dogs? Is the run covered in case of bad weather? If your dog is frightened of storms, will the staff allow you to bring a thundershirt or wrap? Find out if anybody will be on site to comfort your pet in this situation.
Understand the Rules
Boarding facilities are required to operate under certain rules and regulations. This is not done to inconvenience you. These rules are put in place to protect your pet.
Boarding facilities expect your pet to be up to date on vaccinations, including rabies and bordatella. The bordatella vaccine should have been administered within the last six months. The purpose of the vaccine is to prevent kennel cough in dogs that are housed with other dogs, even for a short time in a boarding facility. Often, your vet will allow you to do a walk in visit just for the vaccine. It is administered nasally.
Some kennels may ask for recent proof of a negative fecal exam for evidence of intestinal bugs like hookworms and roundworms. Again, this is to protect the health of your dog and others staying at the facility.
Understand the Routine and Schedule
Unless the boarding facility has 24 hour operating hours, expect that staff will be on site during the day, but return to their own homes after closing time. Upon their return in the morning, they will need to feed, walk, and attend to all the pets in the facility.
At most locations, staff will report early in the day to feed and walk pets. While this is taking place, other staff members may clean up kennel floors and bedding or care for cats, birds, or other animals. Your pet will need to be able to adapt to this routine, at least for the few days they are at the facility. Be sure to notify the staff if your pet has any condition that might require more frequent walks or smaller feedings. In most cases, the staff will try to accommodate any medical or social conditions so your pet will be comfortable and happy.
Emergency Care Procedures
Each facility is required to have an active plan in place for emergency care. You are leaving your pet in the safekeeping of the staff, and they will do everything they can to protect your animal; but accidents can happen.
If there is an emergency, do you want the facility to use their on-call vet, or would you rather have your family vet contacted? Will you agree to pay whatever costs are associated with emergency pet care?
In the unlikely event that something life threatening happened to your pet, you might be asked to sign a form giving the kennel staff permission to authorize euthenasia. Is this a decision you are willing to make?
Other Things to Consider
One of the most convenient ways to board your pet is to schedule medical care and boarding at the same time. If your dog is due for a dental checkup and cleaning, or it is time to spay or neuter your pet, an overnight stay might be required as part of the treatment. Even if it is not recommended aftercare, you might consider letting your pet spend the night at the vet’s office if you have small children or other pets at home.
Some veterinarians’ offices provide boarding services in addition to medical care. In these cases, a portion of the holding kennel area is reserved for boarding pets. The advantage of a situation like this is your pet will be familiar with some of the staff members, you know about the facility, and medical care is available.
One thing you, as a pet parent, need to remember is that these facilities are places of business with limited staff members. While your pet is precious and deserves to be treated like a king, there are other dogs at the facility that also need attention and care. Don’t ask facility staff to call you throughout the day with updates or photos.
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About Boughton Square Animal Clinic
Since 1979, Boughton Square Animal Clinic has served Bolingbrook, IL and surrounding communities as both a veterinary care provider and a devoted partner in treating your animal family members for life.