Wendy Nan Rees offers thoughts and tips on making boarding less stressful for your dog.
Weekly Dog Advice: How to Make Boarding Less Stressful for Your Dog
Whenever we have major changes in our lives, such as a divorce, moving or changing of household members, our pets feel the changes too. We always have to consider them because they are family members too. Just as if they were children, we are the ones who need to protect them. My dogs are going through very big changes in the coming weeks, so I'm planning ahead to make the situation as stress-free as possible. First, my divorce is about to be finalized, and because we share joint custody, my boys will spend part of the time with my ex-spouse. Second, my old roommate and her dog are moving out, and a new roommate will soon be moving in. As if that wasn't already enough, I am doing some major cleaning and renovating of my home in preparation for the new roommate.
There's a lot of stress in the air here right now, and it's beginning to show in my boys. All three dogs have been having house accidents, hence the major cleaning. I have even resorted to having them wear belly bands, a sort of diaper for male dogs to keep them from piddling in the house.
I've come to the decision that it will be too difficult to manage the dogs and the remodel, so I've decided that it would be safer to send my boys to a boarding kennel for a week or so until the work is completed. This way they will only have to deal with one major change and avoid all the workmen and chaos. When they come home we will be doing some major re-housebreaking. With that in mind, I want to share some tips to make things easier.
Tips to Ease the Stress of Boarding
Whether you're moving, remodeling or going through other major life changes, here are some tips to help get you and your pets through the stress of boarding.
- Have a well thought out plan of what you are going to do if there is construction going on in your home.
- Make boarding kennel reservations well in advance, and check the place out before you take your pets.
- Plan how many days they will they have to be at the kennel.
- Have your pets' collars and ID tags on them.
- Provide the kennel with a list of emergency numbers.
- Make sure to send your dogs' regular food and any supplements you may be giving them. Also send full instructions for the kennel, so they know how much food and which supplements to feed when.
- Be sure to send along your pets' favorite toys.
- Also send along a blanket or plush towel with your smell on it so they feel safe and smell you.
- Talk with your vet and ask for advice.
- If you have a trainer, discuss your situation and ask him/her to help you map out a plan.
- Do not make dietary changes during this stressful time, as you do not want any of your pets to have an upset stomach.
- Try to give your dogs extra love to let them know that everything will be OK.
- While your dogs are at the vet's or a boarding kennel, be sure to call every day to check on them.
- Try to keep your pets' beds in the same place when they come home after all the construction work is done.
- Last but not least, after the construction is done, try to keep water and food bowls in the same place so your dogs know where to go when they come home.
Moving, remodeling, divorce and other life changes are stressful things for all of us. However, if you plan things out well beforehand I'm sure you can make it work as pleasantly as possible. Any change in your pet's life is never an easy time, but with lots of love and patience you can make it that much easier. When I do get a new roommate my boys and I will have to make it through yet another new transition, but for now we're taking it one step at a time.
"Remember, the animals in your life are not just your pets, they're your friends." WNR