You can say any foolish  thing to your dog and  your dog will look at you  with a look that says 'My  God You're right! I would  never have thought of  that!’  17273 West Edwards Road, Antioch, Illinois 847-395-0554 847-395-5855 fax Let's Talk About Boarding Your Dog Selecting a Boarding Kennel Stop by a kennel and visit with the owner. Get acquainted with the people who will be caring for your dog. Ask questions; take nothing for granted. "Are toys or bedding welcome? How will Rover be exercised? What will you feed Rover?" Talk about safety features. Discuss frankly any qualms you may have about boarding. They will appreciate your frankness and interest. The experienced personnel at a Pet Care Servoces Association Kennel are trained to recognize the warning signs of potential health hazards and will contact a veterinarian if they feel it is called for. Many times it is easier for kennel personnel to detect problems than it is for the owner of the dog. For example, blood in the urine (a warning sign that deserves attention) can more easily be detected in the kennel than at home, because the dog is exercised in a specific area which is cleaned regularly. Yet, it is not part of the kennel's job to diagnose or prescribe. If Rover does require veterinary aid while he is in the kennel, you should be aware that you, as Rover's owner, are financially responsible for such aid. Discuss, before boarding, any medication or special care Rover might need. Most kennels offer a certain amount of individual care (Playing with, talking to, petting, the dog) but you must be reasonable. Asking the kennel owner to check Rover at 2 a.m. to see if he's uncovered is not reasonable. During boarding, it is possible that dogs sometimes step in their stools or urine and become dirty. This can happen in the cleanest of kennels! Also, some of the finest disinfectants available for sanitizing are not always the most pleasant smelling, and the odor may cling to your dog's coat. Grooming may be indicated, and you should advise the kennel owner if you want Rover to have a bath on the day he goes home. One standard for measuring the kennel owner's interest in his/her profession is their membership in the Pet Care Services Association. You can be certain that PCSA members are trying to keep current on the latest developments within the industry, and that they truly care. Their membership certificate will be proudly displayed. Make certain you understand the rate structure for all services and the hours of operation. The fee for boarding not only includes the care of your pet, but for the peace of mind that goes with knowing that Rover is safe and with someone you can trust. A Working Partnership Let us suppose that you do choose to board your pet. Boarding is a shared responsibility. As a responsible pet owner there are a few things you must attend to before bringing Rover in to board. First, make certain all immunizations are current, including the parainfluenza vaccine for protection against tracheobronchitis. Your pet should be free of internal and external parasites and not have been exposed to any contagious diseases. Do not feed Rover for at least 4 hours prior to kenneling to minimize the possibility of stomach upset. Boarding at a kennel is the best alternative, but separation from master and/or being in strange surroundings can produce stress in your dog, and stress can result in lowered resistance and sometimes even temporary changes in behavior. Be sure to inform the kennel proprietor of any special idiosyncrasies or medical problems Rover may have, such as a history of epilepsy or fear of thunder, etc., that may aid them in keeping Rover healthy and happy. Dogs should be prepared psychologically for boarding. It's best, of course, to begin with a pup as soon as the immunization program is complete. Puppies usually learn very quickly to enjoy boarding! Some kennels offer "daycare" services, enabling you to leave your dog for a few hours at a time. This is an excellent way to introduce your dog to boarding. After just a few visits Rover accepts a kennel as a normal way of life. The psychological preparation of a dog for boarding (and also for helping him develop a healthy personality) also includes getting him used to new people and experiences (socialization). This is probably most easily accomplished by taking them through obedience classes and occasionally boarding him. Naturally, a dog who is relaxed about boarding is more likely to board well. It almost goes without saying that a pet owner should not moan or cry over their dog in the kennel office upon leaving him, nor should they bring out the suitcases at home the day before the trip. You should understand that both of these things cause your dog to be unnecessarily upset! Understanding the Kennel Environment You should understand the possible effects of stress on a dog and not be shocked if, while your dog is boarding, he develops tracheobronchitis or, occasionally, intestinal problems. You should be aware that some dogs carry viruses in their systems for months and begin to show symptoms only after being subjected to a stress situation. In other words, they can 'catch' a disease from themselves. Sometimes temporary behavior changes can occur as a result of unfamiliar surroundings. For example, dear sweet Rover may tear up the bed he has slept in for years, or 'Killer' (usually the rowdy scourge of the neighborhood) turns into a little lamb. Eating habits change under stress, and all dogs assimilate their food differently. Some will eat like canaries at home and like vultures at a kennel. They may put on a few pounds. Others can lose weight though eating well or lose weight by not eating enough. Kennel life can be very exciting, and some dogs lose weight because they run the weight off as they charge around barking at other dogs and having a wonderful time. These dogs often go home exhausted but happy, and sleep a lot the first couple of days at home. All of the preparation by the pet owner merely points out that they should recognize that successful boarding depends not only upon the kennel, but also upon how well the owner prepares their dog for the experience. Now that Rover is Home Again... When Rover is picked up, he will be very excited to see you. Dogs do not have a sense of time, so he would be just as happy to see you if you left him for 5 minutes or 5 days. Do not feed him (though he will act hungry once back on familiar turf) for at least 3 hours, and then be very careful not to overfeed him. Also, excitement will cause Rover to pant a lot, lose body water and be thirsty. Give him a few ice cubes to tide him over until feeding time. Again, in his excited state, excessive food and water consumption can create problems. Copyright © 1998 - Pet Care Services Association: A Nonprofit Corporation dedicated to the betterment of the Boarding Kennels Industry.