questionshas anyone boarded their dog? how did it go?

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tl;dr - boarding our dog for 10 days. ever boarded your dog? how was it?

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I get that pets are part of the family. My family boarded pets for long trips sometimes too. The pet always was excited to see us, and took a day of acting a little more needy then everything was back to normal.

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The key variable is where you board your dog. Some places are awesome, some are not. I've boarded my dog several times and not had a bad experience (though she did come home pretty well infested with fleas one time).

We're in the process of looking into a new place to board as we've got a bunch of camping trips coming up over the summer and, sadly, my big dog can't join us.

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When I was younger and my family had a dog, we did sometimes board him if we were going for a week/weekend. My thoughts on it now are that a lot of it depends on the personality of the dog. I applaud you for taking him for a trial run beforehand -- that's a novel idea I hadn't heard before, and would seem to be a good way of letting you know how he reacts. If he seems not to have an issue with it right now, go with it.

If he's younger, he'll probably adjust to boarding well, but if he's older, or becomes shy, you might want to consider another option. If he doesn't deal well with it this time, there is the option of a petsitter. To look into that properly would probably take longer than the time you've got before you leave. It allows the dog to stay in his normal territory, which is a plus. A petsitter can come once or multiple times a day to check in on the dog, walk him, play with him, etc. and will usually also do some basic things to help like bring in mail, water houseplants.

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(cont.)
Best way to find a sitter is to call your normal vet's office and ask whether they have experience with any good local ones. Make sure they're licensed and bonded for your protection, ask for references from other pet owners they sit for, then have them come over to meet him, play a bit, and get to know him before you make any decisions on whether to hire them. Using a sitter can also help with the kind of anxiety you may be having over whether he'll be okay with you leaving, as he's guaranteed some one on one time with a person everyday. Plus, added benefit, your house looks like someone's still coming and going.

Anyway, that's just one of your other options, but I've already spoken too long here.

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My dog doesn't accept passengers.

Otherwise, I get a dog sitter. Much less stressful on the dog for the same $$
Waters the plants too (the sitter, not the dog)

j5 j5
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@kalira: thanks for the input.

we looked into a pet sitter, but the cost was pretty high. and, we were worried about him being bored for most of the day. at least at the boarding place, he can play with the other dogs during the day and wear himself out.

he's only 2 years old and always excited to play, so i think he'll have a good time. guess we'll just have to see how he is when we pick him up.

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@carl669: My dogs were always hoarse from constant barking whenever we checked them out from boarding, every time. That's what made us question the prudence of it.

Best wishes for it.

j5 j5
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@j5: thanks. that's interesting though. we didn't notice any hoarseness after the trial run. but, that was only 2 days. guess we'll find out for sure when we get back from chicago.

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My only experience with boarding was a disaster, but it's because it was a very elderly dog. I had to visit a sick family member so I boarded her with my vet, thinking that would be safest as they'd be able to handle any medical emergencies. But they just left her to lie in her pen all day and when I got back a week later her arthritis was so bad she couldn't move. After sitting up with her crying in pain all night for several days I finally put her to sleep. Since then I have hired overnight housesitters (usually friends at a fair rate but sometimes "pros") when I leave town and it is a much better solution for me. But since your dog will be playing in day care, is familiar with the place and people, etc, I think you are going to be okay. If you can, bring his crate so he can sleep in it. Take his bedding (not washed) and favorite toy. It might also comfort him if you leave a recently worn t-shirt or put a towel in your bed for a couple of nights right before to leave with him.

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@moondrake: I like the familiar smelling stuff, that's a good idea.

I have no experience with dog boarding but it varies pet to pet. Some pets are okay with being boarded, others tend to stress out a lot. When I go out of town though, I tend to hire someone whenever possible. One, it doesn't put any undue strain on my friends, two, I can bug a petsitter for updates as much as I like if needed because that's one of the things I'm paying them for.

Generally though, the younger the pet the more "fine" they are with being boarded. (In my experience.)

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I've boarded dogs many times, many different places, with a wide variety of experiences. In general, if you've visited the place before and have confidence that they take good care of the dogs, it will probably be fine. (The worst experiences I've had with boarding were when I was a child and my mother left the dog at a kennel that had been recommended but she hadn't visited in advance.)

If you're boarding your pup at a place with daycare/free play for ten days, be prepared: your dog will sleep for at least a week straight when he/she gets home. :)

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@moondrake: really sorry to hear about what happened to your dog. i think that's why we're using the day care place. at least he'll get to play with the other dogs every day. it's more expensive than traditional boarding, but i think there's a lot less of a chance of him getting depressed.

@neuropsychosocial: be prepared: your dog will sleep for at least a week straight when he/she gets home. -- we're counting on it! :)

vote-for7vote-against

Given that your dog enjoys doggy day care, it sounds like you are good to go. And kudos for the work you've put in to prepping.

We've taken our dogs to DDC, and they've usually wound up pretty freaked out. Just not their cup of tea.

We just had to go out of town, so made arrangements to have people come in and feed etc the dogs 4 times a day. AM feeding, lunchtime just to go out, pm feeding, and late night before bed. The balance of the time they were crated (2 - destructive if bored) or just loose in the house (1). That way they were in a familiar environment, familiar smells, usual food, etc.

Now, that took coordinating with the teenage sons of one neighbor, another neighbor that walks her dog by first thing in the morning, our usual babysitter, and a friend of ours that brings her dogs over to play. For a total of five days. My wife felt it was worth the effort to keep the dogs in a familiar environment. Plus, 3 dogs -> $100+ per night!

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I'm no help here, as I have a low opinion of boarding due to the horror stories of friends and family. It's not worth the potential risk to my best friend. No matter how many times they tell you, your pet will be treated just like he or she was their own.

It may be a nice place with great staff, but I guarantee you the people who stay overnight or who are supposed to check on your pet after hours are probably minimum wage and could care less about scruffy and his need for only bottled water!

It's just not worth the risk in my opinion.......... also, good luck with the ever present kennel cough!

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I board mine a few times a year. Could be for a week vacation, sometimes just for two nights so I can get away for a weekend. I have three places nearby. One is what I call a "kennel". Basic place, pets not really mingled, I think they just walk them for exercise... not my first choice. The other two are what I call the "doggie hotels". The dogs have more space, a nice play area, they are mingled and allowed to play together. I always try to board at one of the "hotels" and only the "kennel" as a last resort, and only for a night or two.

If you have a few places around, go in and ask to see how/where the pets are boarded. As how much play time they get. If they play together, or only with workers.

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@kmeltzer: that's actually why we picked the day care place. all the others that we visited are what you'd call "kennels". and everything is extra (walks, play time etc). so, after we added in walks and play time (w/ workers), the day care place was only a few bucks more per night.

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I just boarded my dog for the first time a few weeks ago. Similar situation to you - we think he is around 3, he may have been boarded in the past but we aren't sure, so we took him for test days (though never overnight). Doggie day care sort of place, so he had the same arrangement you are describing.

I sent him with his bed (unwashed), his favorite stuffed toy, and I wore a t-shirt to bed for 3 or 4 nights in a row and then put it inside the bed, between the liner and the foam. He came home perfectly fine (if not tired!). We had the added benefit of being able to check in on him - the place that I boarded my pooch at has a webcam on the play area, so I could peek in from time to time during the day. Was a good experience, will bring him back there... but only when I absolutely can't take him with me!

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We are rarely gone, but when we are we have a relative come over twice a day to play with/feed/water our dog(an outside dog). I like the normal routine route.

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When my poodles were younger, we generally boarded them for our twice-yearly week-long vacations. The veterinary clinic I've used for almost 40 years does boarding, and we used to take a couple of their favorite toys and (like others have mentioned doing) a couple of funky old tshirts for hominess; the doggers were well cared for and apparently not unhappy while we were gone.

As they got older, though, the boarding routine seemed harder on them, especially as one had/has some anxiety issues under the best of circumstances. (And frankly, we really missed them a great deal when we were out of town; I used to stop strangers on the street and explain that I was having doggie-withdrawal, just so I could pet their little beasties for a few minutes.) So we started taking them with us when we travel, which fortunately didn't engender too much inconvenience.

All in all, boarding was fine for us until for specific reasons it wasn't fine. You sound as if you've found a good option.

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Boarding seems so expensive that it's been cheaper and easier to take my dog on the flight with me, but she's an awesome traveler and about 7lbs which helps. She's crate trained and well socialized (which sounds like your dog too)- so I don't worry about boarding her. My only concern has been that she's been pretty susceptible to different dog colds, but it's always less traumatic for her than it has been on me anyway. You've done your research and tested it out already, seems like you're good to go!

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We boarded our dog a few times at a couple of different locations. He boarded at the vet office (which he did not like since there was too much cage time) and where he became hoarse from barking, which was not his usual behavior. We then found a boarding place that was run out of someone's house. Our dog loved being there since they had many sessions of play time, along with scheduled snacks and treats. Ours also made it a point of looking pitiful whenever he wanted to be pampered by humans, so he was allowed to stay in the house at times, as opposed to being in the kennel. He was always happy to be dropped off, but happier to see us and go home. Once home, he would give us the cold shoulder for a few days (still walk up to you for scratches and rubs, but be pretending to ignore you while you did), but the aloofness was part of the Weim trait anyway.

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I boarded my three girls once and had a bad experience to no fault of the kennel. they actually had a suite so all three could stay in the same room and there was a dog door so they could go out any time they wanted to into a large fenced yard. Only problem was my one dog had anxiety so bad she threw up and had diarrhea all over the kennel and my other two dogs and their bedding. When I arrived to pick them up the owners had all their bedding in their washers had to scrub the walls and floor and all three dogs and had to separate the anxious one into a kennel all by herself away from all the other dogs. from that point I had someone stay at the house while I'm gone. Can't go through that again or make anyone else go through it.

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@107bear: Bordetella vaccine has done a good job of reducing kennel cough. It's not efficient in every dog (about 75%, I believe), but one of the main benefits of mass vaccination is herd immunity: if everyone is fully vaccinated by age 2 against measles, herd immunity will significantly reduce the chances that an unvaccinated infant, immunocompromised adult, or one of the people whose body doesn't produce measles antibodies in response to the vaccine will be exposed to measles. Of course, this only works if enough people (or dogs!) are vaccinated...

FWIW, bordetella vaccines have been required for every daycare or boarding facility that I've looked into, in three different states spread across two parts of the U.S.

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@neuropsychosocial: The problem with that and the kennels who require the boretella vaccination is over-vaccinating an animal. I'm not sure where your facts came from, but this is one of many articles about the vaccine you just commented on..........http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/bordatella-vaccination-dogs/

If your animal is not in certain situations where kennel cough thrives, like the close confines of a kennel or boarding, it negates the need for this vaccination, that could potentially harm your pet. Again my opinion, but is it really worth the risk?

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@107bear: My sister didn't vaccinate and lost her 2 year old Boston Terrier to Bordetella.
She wasn't boarded.

Who would want to take that risk?

j5 j5
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@j5: Sorry about your sister's dog.

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I have a horror story about boarding/doggie daycare. I will preface this by saying I understand that this will not happen everywhere, but it has absolutely soured me on the practice.

My now-husband and I had a dog a few years ago. He had very bad separation anxiety and we lived in an apartment building. So having him alone in our apartment all day barking, messing everywhere, destroying window blinds, and trying to dig through the front door were not an option. We looked into doggie daycare for the weekdays and boarding for one extended weekend when we were traveling and couldn't take him along. We ended up choosing a place outside of town that bred English bulldogs and did daycare and boarding. Nice indoor/outdoor kennels, friendly staff, receptive to special instructions. It seemed great.

Our dog had rubbed a spot on his neck bare against his collar. Our vet said to put neosporin on it until it cleared up, and the people at the doggie daycare were applying it twice a day.

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[cont]
One evening before we came to pick him up, the owner of the daycare was applying the neosporin while in his kennel. She had left the kennel door open behind her and he darted out, then straight out the swinging door outside. He sprinted down the highway towards town and was hit by a car. He died before the owner could get him to a vet.

It was a terrible way to lose our dog. It could have been avoided if the outside door latched, if his kennel had been closed, or any number of other things. My advice to you is that if you do decide to board your dog, check everything. Check the kennels, check the doors, check the windows, talk with the staff. I personally won't ever board an animal again after that. If at-home pet-sitting is an option for you, I would recommend doing that instead. Your dog will be at home and comfortable, you will know exactly where he is and just how secure he is. Just please avoid having what happened to our dog happen to yours.

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I have, and it was traumatic. Mostly because my dog and I were closely bonded, and being apart was hell for her; the staff were nice enough. Any normal dogs would've been in heaven there with so many new friends to play with. The kennel was also part of our vet clinic, so it was good to know that her vets were just upstairs in case anything happened.

To try and make it easier for her, I took her in to visit the place ahead of time so it wasn't completely unfamiliar to her, and left her with her favorite toys and an unwashed shirt of mine.