Pet Boarding Tips, aka Park and Bark 101

Close-up portrait of a cat and dog, isolated on white background

It’s that time of year again—plans are being made, trips are being taken, menus written, presents bought…but isn’t there something you’re forgetting…something you needed to take care of before you hit the road… oh no! Who’s going to take care of Fido?!

Thankfully, we have a full boarding facility at Animal Health Care Center, but we do book up with reservations fast, especially during the holiday season. We recommend making your boarding reservations for your pets as early as possible—it’s never too early to make a reservation, but unfortunately quite often it’s way too late and we have to turn clients away, which is something we never want to do, if we can help it.

So. You’ve reserved a spot for Fido or Fluffy for the holidays. What’s next? Here’s a few helpful tips on how to make their stay with us as stress-free as possible, for both your pet and for you:

  • Bring their own food, if at all possible—especially if they’re on a special diet. Changing a pet’s diet can upset their tummies even in the best of circumstances, and staying in an unfamiliar place can only exacerbate digestive issues. Plus, having their own food can be a comfort from home. If you forget or are unable to bring their food, don’t worry—we feed boarders a diet food especially for gastrointestinal issues, at no extra charge.
  • If they are on medications, please bring them, along with instructions on the dosage and any other info needed.
  • No need to bring in bowls—we have plenty of those on hand, as well as towels and blankets and litter boxes for cats. If your pet has a favorite blankie or small bed or toy, feel free to bring them, but try not to bring too much. It can be difficult for us to keep track of who has what, and we’d hate for Fido to lose his favorite chew toy!
  • Speaking of chew toys, we’d rather you didn’t bring in bones, raw hides, or any other kind of chew that they can consume.

Once you’ve dropped your pet off for boarding, ever wonder what happens after you leave? Here’s the inside scoop!

  • As soon as a pet is dropped off for boarding, if a technician or doctor is available they perform a complimentary boarding exam. We check for any issues or illnesses, such as fleas or ticks, ear infection, eye discharge, sores, etc. If there’s a problem, we will try to contact you asap to discuss it with you. Otherwise, a kennel assistant then sets your pet up in their preferred boarding area, gives them water, a blankie, and makes a list of their personal instructions for boarding.
  • Dogs are taken outside 2 – 5 times daily (2 times a day on days we are closed; otherwise it’s 3 – 5 times daily) for fresh air, exercise, and for their morning and evening “constitutionals.” Cats are let out of their cages or condos at least twice a day, while the assistants clean their cages and litter boxes and feed them.
  • All pets are fed twice daily, unless otherwise indicated, and medications are given as has been instructed by the owners.
  • While your pet is boarding, we pay attention to their behavior and demeanor. If they act as if they’re scared or nervous, we do what we can to make them more comfortable, whether it be giving them more cuddles and extra time outside, or moving them to a quieter area of the kennel. We want the pets to like being here—it makes it easier on them, easier on their “parents,” and easier on us, so we will do everything we can to make them as at ease during their stay as possible.
  • Want to know how Fluffy is doing while she’s staying with us? Give us a call or text! If it’s during our business hours, we’re more than happy to give you an update. Want a pic of Fido to remind you how cute that little doggo is (as if you could ever forget)? Let us know and we can text or email a pic of your pet kicking back at the hotel.

How about when you get your pet home? Is Fluffy acting more nervous than usual? Is Fido drinking water like it’s going out of style? There’s reasons for this!

When you bring your pet home from boarding, odds are they’re going to act one of two ways:  they’re either going to act nervous and hyper and bouncing off the walls, or they’re going to collapse in a heap and sleep like they haven’t slept in days. If they’re hyper, it’s because they’ve been excited and barking for days and they want to tell you about all the cool things they saw! If they’re acting exhausted, it’s because they’ve been excited and/or nervous for days, and they just want to sleep it off, so leave ‘em alone, mom, geez! Either way, it’s normal for your pet to be acting a little out of the ordinary for a day or so. And speaking of barking—if your dog’s bark sounds a little hoarse, it’s because she’s been talking nonstop to everybody in the kennel (seriously, she’s a big gossip-hound).

Last but not least, if your pet won’t eat, or has any vomiting or diarrhea issues after coming home, please do not hesitate to call us. We pride ourselves on taking good care of the pets who board with us, and if there are any issues we want to remedy them as soon as we can. And if there’s anything we can do to make their stay with us more enjoyable next time (and set your mind more at ease), just let us know.

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