If you are going on a trip, you likely have a lot of steps to check off your to-do list. If one of them is kenneling your dog, you are probably nervous about how he or she will react. This is especially true if your dog has never been in a “doggie daycare’ before. Never fear- there are a number of tips you can follow to make sure your fluffy friend is happy while you are away.
1. Socialize Your Dog Beforehand
No matter how old your dog is, a social one is a happier and better-behaved one. If your four-legged friend has not been around other animals before you drop him off, he will have a harder time being left with unfamiliar ones. In fact, he won’t understand how to act and may growl, snap, and outright bite. Avoid the problem before it happens by getting your pup used to other dogs. Head to local dog parks, dog-friendly stores, and other areas and work with him until he is comfortable.
2. Check out the Kennel Together
You don’t want to just drop off your dog to a place he has never been and take off. Once you find the kennel you will be using, take him there ahead of time. Ask who will be taking care of your pet while you are gone and see if you can introduce them ahead of time. Allow the employees to pet him and talk to him for a bit. They may even choose to give him treats as a little bribe! When he sees a familiar face at the kennel, he won’t feel as scared when you leave.
3. Pack His Favorites
Don’t forget to pack for your dog just like you would for yourself! To make the transition easier on him, bring along his favorite toys and treats. Be sure to ask if you can bring treats before you do, as some kennels may have guidelines against it. You can also bring a favorite blanket, pillow, or chew toy that your dog sleeps with every day. Familiar items in the cage will help your pet feel more relaxed while you are gone.
4. Keep Up With Medications
Does your dog take a specific medication or have an unusual feeding schedule? Make sure that you speak with the kennel beforehand so that they can have it on record what your dog needs. It’s a good idea to print out your normal feeding schedule, along with medication times, for the kennel to hold onto while your dog is there. Keeping him on a schedule will help keep him happy and calm.
5. Practice Crate Training
The kennel you leave your dog in will of course let him out on a regular basis. To make sure your dog is used to entering and exiting a cage at the facility, practice at home. It may sound like a silly idea, but it will help your dog learn that there is nothing to be scared of when it comes to his kennel. Even if you have never used a crate before, now is the time to try.
6. Finally, Stay Calm
Dogs are very sensitive animals. They can pick up on the feelings of their owners, from stress to fear to unhappiness. You may be nervous dropping your dog off at doggy daycare for the first time, but you should try not to let your dog see that. He will take his cues from you and will become stressed if he feels you are. Keep calm and remember that your dog will do much better than you think while you are away.
Now that you have some helpful tips under your belt, start packing for your trip. Don’t worry- your dog will be okay when you are gone. You can enjoy your trip and wait for the day you come back-just imagine the excitement it will cause!