How to Prepare Your Pet for Boarding?

Planning a trip can be exciting, but if you’re a pet parent, the thought of leaving your furry companion behind can cast a shadow over your travel plans. Pet boarding provides a haven for pets while their owners are away, but it’s essential to prepare your pet adequately to ensure they have a comfortable stay. 

From updating vaccinations to packing their favorite toy, there are several steps to take before you drop off your pet at a boarding facility. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of preparing your pet for boarding, making the experience as stress-free as possible for both you and your furry friend.

Understanding Boarding Needs

Before delving into the specifics, it’s crucial to understand what your pet needs to adapt to their temporary home. Pets, like humans, are creatures of habit, and the change in environment can cause them anxiety. A well-prepared pet is more likely to settle in quickly, enjoy their time at the boarding facility, and return home happy.

Choosing the Right Boarding Facility

The first step in preparing your pet for boarding is selecting a facility that’s a good fit for their personality and needs. Look for places that offer amenities such as daily exercise, socialization opportunities, and personal care. Take a tour of the facility, check for cleanliness, and make sure the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. Consider how your pet interacts with other animals and choose a boarding option that accommodates their social preferences.

Visit the Vet

A visit to the veterinarian is a must before boarding your pet. Not only will it ensure your pet is healthy enough to stay at the facility, but it also provides an opportunity to update any necessary vaccinations. Most boarding facilities require proof of vaccinations, so be sure to check their requirements well in advance of your planned departure.

Pet Vaccination

Staying up-to-date with your pet’s vaccinations is crucial, especially when it comes to boarding. Certain diseases can spread more easily in places where animals congregate, and vaccinations are your pet’s first line of defense. Facilities like Chuckanut Valley Vet Clinic emphasize the importance of vaccinations to protect all pets under their care. Always carry an updated vaccination record with you when you admit your pet to a boarding facility.

Understand Your Pet’s Routine

To ease the transition, consider your pet’s daily routine. Boarding facilities stick as close to your pet’s regular schedule as possible. Document feeding times, amount of food preferred, walking schedule, and sleeping patterns. Sharing this information with the boarding staff will help them provide a consistent routine that mirrors your pet’s life at home.

Physical Preparation for Your Pet

Physically preparing your pet for boarding plays a crucial part in minimizing stress. Think about their physical needs and how you can best meet them in a new environment. Here’s a breakdown of how to prepare your pet physically:

Create a Familiar Environment

Packing familiar items can make a big difference in how your pet adjusts to the boarding facility. Items from home will provide comfort and make the space seem more familiar. Consider bringing:

  • Their bed or a piece of your clothing

  • Their favorite toys

  • Any special blankets

Exercise Before Boarding

Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise before heading to the boarding facility. A tired pet is usually a calmer pet. They’ll be more likely to relax and settle into their temporary home after a good workout.


Groom your pet before their boarding stay. Ensure their nails are trimmed and their coat is clean. This not only helps them feel comfortable but also adds to the overall hygiene of the facility.

When discussing pet boarding, it’s not just about ensuring your pet’s peace of mind but also their physical comfort. Checking that the boarding facility can maintain your pet’s grooming routine is part of the preparation process and contributes to a positive boarding experience.

Social and Behavioral Preparations

Socializing your pet and ensuring they have the right behavioral training is also necessary before boarding. Keep these points in mind:


Well-socialized pets tend to handle boarding better since they are used to interacting with other animals and people. If your pet has yet to have much social experience, consider arranging playdates or visits to a dog park before their stay.

Behavioral Training

Behavioral training can help prevent potential issues at the boarding facility. If your pet has obedience training, they are less likely to have conflicts with staff or other animals. Brush up on basic commands and consider enrolling in a refresher course if needed.

Nutritional Considerations

Your pet’s diet is an integral part of their overall well-being, especially when they’re in a new environment.

Provide Their Regular Diet

Sudden changes in diet can cause digestive issues for your pet. Bring enough of their regular food for the entire duration of their stay to avoid any gastrointestinal discomfort.

Special Dietary Needs

Inform the boarding staff of any special dietary needs or allergies. If your pet requires supplements or medication with their meals, provide clear instructions and the necessary quantities.

Health and Medical Precautions

Health and medical considerations should be considered when preparing your pet for boarding.

Update Medical Records

Ensure that you provide the boarding facility with up-to-date medical records, including a list of any medications your pet is taking. These records are critical in case of an emergency.

If your pet has recently had dog surgery, it’s particularly important to communicate this to the boarding facility. They may require special aftercare, including wound monitoring, medications, or restricted activity, all of which the boarding staff should be prepared for.

Emergency Protocols

Leave your contact information and details of what to do in case of a medical emergency. Confirm that the facility has a relationship with a local vet or an on-call veterinarian who can respond quickly if necessary.

Final Tips Before Boarding

As the boarding day approaches, keep these final tips in mind:

Do A Trial Run

Consider a short overnight stay at the boarding facility before a longer trip. This can help your pet get used to the new environment and understand that you’ll come back for them.

Keep Goodbyes Brief

When it’s time to leave your pet at the boarding facility, keep the goodbye short and sweet. Prolonged farewells can increase anxiety for both you and your pet.

Final Thoughts

With thoughtful preparation, boarding your pet doesn’t have to be a stressful event. By understanding what to expect and taking the necessary steps to prepare, you can ensure your pet has a positive experience. 

Remember to choose the right boarding facility, keep up with medical needs, create a familiar environment, address nutritional requirements, and communicate well with the boarding staff. With this comprehensive preparation, you can enjoy your time away, confident that your pet is in good hands and well cared for.