Five tips for boarding your dog

So your summer travel plans are in place. But who will take care of your dog? Is it best to hire a pet sitter? Should you leave him with "Grandma"? How about taking him to a boarding facility? These are all great options, but this post will focus on

How to prepare for leaving your dog at a boarding facility.

1. Tour the facility in advance.

It's a good idea to tour the boarding facility before you actually drop off your dog. You don't want to find out it's a sketchy place on the day you're trying to leave town. Most kennel owners will allow customers to tour the facility, but you may need to schedule an appointment to do so. We all have our own expectations for how a kennel should look. Based on your tour and how you feel about the staff, you will have to make your own decision about whether the business is right for your dog.

2. Ask a lot of questions.

During your tour or over the phone, don't hesitate to ask a lot of questions. Ask about the nightly rate and what that includes. Ask whether or not there are extra charges for services such as playtime, walks or giving medications. Ask what kinds of activities your dog will participate in. For example, if your dog will go swimming, you may want him to wear his waterproof collar instead of his leather dog collar. You should also ask if your dog will play with other dogs, how often he will get outside and how often he will get fed.

3. Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations.

The kennel will most likely require your dog to have "current" vaccinations for rabies, parvo, distemper and bordetella. However, make sure to ask because each kennel has different requirements. If your dog need to receive a vaccination before his stay, make sure to schedule an appointment with his vet right away. If you wait until the last minute, the vet may not be able to see your dog before your vacation.

4. Ask what you should bring for your dog.

Ask a kennel staff member in advance what you should bring for your dog. He or she will probably tell you to bring the food your dog is used to, a leash and of course his collar with personalized dog tags. The kennel will most likely supply a food and water bowl, but don't forget to bring any medications or vitamins for your dog if he needs them. You may or may not want to bring your dog's bed, toys or treats.

5. Don't make a big deal out of your departure.

Since dogs tend to pick up on our emotions, do your dog a favor and don't make a big deal about dropping him off. March through the front door like your dog is going to an awesome summer camp! Don't fuss over him too much in the entryway. Just get him checked in and then go. You can always call the kennel during your trip to ask how he's doing.

Have you ever left your dog at a boarding facility? How did it go?