Boarding our dog was a new experience for me. I have not done it in the past and so was sceptical the very first time we decided to try one for Chewy. It was last year sometime when we were planning a 2-day getaway and wanted it to be just the two of us kind of holiday. We had found this place that not only offered boarding, but also grooming, swimming etc and had taken him there a couple of times. The people there were super friendly, and he was comfortable with them which helped ease our worries.

The holidays are here, the twinkle lights are bright, and travel plans are taking flight. But for many indie dog owners, the excitement comes with a pang of worry: what about our furry companions? Boarding can be a great solution, but leaving your beloved pup in someone else’s care can feel like leaving a piece of your heart behind. Fear not, free-spirited hounds and adventurous humans!

With a little pre-boarding prep, you can ensure your indie pup enjoys a pawsome stay while you jingle all the way. Here’s your holiday boarding checklist for a stress-free separation:

1. Research Like a Dog Scout: Not all boarding kennels are created equal. Seek out facilities that cater to the unique needs of indie dogs. Look for open spaces for play, socialization options (if your pup enjoys company), and staff experienced with independent personalities. Read reviews, ask questions, and trust your gut.

2. Pack Like a Pro: A familiar blanket, their favourite squeaky toy, and a travel-sized bag of their special kibble (enough for the entire stay) go a long way in comforting your dog. Don’t forget their leash, poop bags, and any vet records or medication instructions. Pack an extra outfit for unexpected spills, and maybe a photo of you so they can dream of your return!

3. Update All the Shots: Make sure your pup’s vaccinations are up-to-date, especially for boarding facilities. This protects your dog and their fellow boarders from preventable illnesses.

4. Exercise the Wiggles Out: Before boarding, ensure your pup gets a good dose of exercise. A tired dog is a happy (and less destructive) dog! A long walk, a playdate, or even a trip to the park can help them adjust to a new environment.

5. Train for Success: Basic obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it” can be your best friends. A well-trained dog will be easier for the boarding staff to handle and have a more enjoyable stay.

6. Don’t Skip the Test Run: If possible, schedule a “day visit” or overnight stay before your actual trip. This allows your pup to get familiar with the boarding facility and staff, easing their anxiety for the longer stay.

7. Stay in Touch: Most boarding facilities offer webcam updates, so you can check in on your furry friend during your travels. A quick peek at their wagging tail can do wonders for your holiday peace of mind.

8. Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off about the boarding facility, don’t hesitate to seek another option. Your pup’s well-being is paramount, so choose a place that makes you feel comfortable and confident leaving them in good hands.

Bonus Tip: Leave a handwritten note for your pup with familiar scents (like your t-shirt) to provide comfort and reassurance. Infact, you can even drop off a bed that he is comfortable with if he will sleep only on that.. 🙂 

Remember, a well-planned boarding experience can be a positive adventure for both you and your indie pup. By putting in the prep work, you can relax, enjoy your holiday travels, and know your furry friend is wagging their tail (and maybe snoozing on a comfy dog bed) until your happy reunion.

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