Boarding Primer

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What you should know before leaving your pet

By Gail Fisher

Preparation Means a Happy Pet

We know even thinking about boarding your pet can be stressful. Our goal in this primer is to reduce or eliminate your stress. While this primer talks primarily about dogs, many of the recommendations apply to cats, too.

At All Dogs Inn, our focus is on your pet's mental and physical well-being. With over 125 years combined professional experience as pet behaviorists, trainers, and caretakers, and even more as pet lovers and owners, our staff want your pet's stay to be as easy as possible for both you and your pet

Here's some information to help you and your pet make the transition from home to kennel to home again with as little stress as possible.

Before you leave

Mental - Your Attitude

Some people feel guilty leaving their pet. If this is you, take our word for it, your pet doesn't feel nearly as bad being left as you do about leaving. Honest!

It may help to understand how your pet doesn't feel. Your pet won't feel abandoned. Not that your pet won't miss you - but if he has boarded before, he knows you'll be back. (If he hasn't boarded before, our All Dogs Acclimation Special will start your pet off right with a positive experience.)

At All Dogs Inn your pet has a staff of caring professionals watching out for her needs and desires. While she won't have your furniture to sleep on, she will have ours. And while he won't have your companionship, he will have ours. You see, your pet has us to make his stay enjoyable. We hope knowing this helps make your pet's boarding experience less stressful . . . for you.

Physical - What to Pack

Most owners bring:
  • Leash and collar
  • Medications, vitamins, etc. (with written instructions)
  • Veterinary information (inoculations, etc.) (Follow your veterinarian's recommendations about inoculations.)
  • Other special instructions
Some optional items to pack:
  • Special diet - If you want your pet to eat her same diet, we're happy to feed it. We don't charge extra as long as it's packaged as individual meals.
  • Bed - Washable and portable, please. We move and wash bedding when we clean, so if it's too big, we won't take it. (We'll give your dog one of our beds).
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste - if you want us to brush your dog's teeth.
  • Toys - if your dog has a favorite. We give every dog a chew toy while she's with us.
  • Something that smells of home - but remember, dogs chew. Even dogs beyond the chewing stage, may chew when they're away from home. So we can't guarantee you'll get things back in the same condition as they came in.

Leaving Your Pet

Even before you leave home, you activities and emotions are affecting your pet's transition to the kennel. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Leaving home with your pet

Some pets get anxious at the first sign you're going away. If preparing for a trip is stressful for your pet, consider bringing your pet to us before you start to pack - even before the suitcases come out. The less stress your pet feels before leaving home, the faster he'll adjust. You know your pet best, so consider this when booking your pet's time with us.

Your pet's arrival at the kennel

Arrive as early in the day as possible - preferably by 2:00 p.m. The more active your dog's first day with us, the quicker he'll settle in to our routine before "lights out."


Avoid emotional goodbyes - no guilt-ridden hugs. Your dog doesn't know why you're feeling emotional, but your feelings will affect her and can be upsetting to her. Just hand us the leash with a smile and a happy word to your dog. She'll be fine. You will, too.

While You're Away

A typical day at the Inn

At All Dogs Inn, your dog's day starts with a "good morning" walk. Then a hearty breakfast, after which we clean and sanitize the dog's quarters. Dogs signed up for Doggie Daycare or training go to those activities. After cleaning and refreshing your dog's bed and toys, there's a rest period, followed by one-on-one time with each of our guests - a walk, playtime in one of our yards, a brushing, a second meal or whatever your dog needs. We clean again, and by now it's the end of the day - time for bed - a final walk, a "goodnight" snack and cuddle, then lights out.

Making the transition

Most dogs adjust beautifully to our Inn. Some, however, are sensitive to dietary changes or the heightened activity level. Our staff watches for signs of stress, and knows how to lessen the impact. We use aromatherapy, calming music specifically designed for dogs, and our staff is well-trained to recognize and use subtle body language and "calming signals."

Just in Case

If your pet does need veterinary attention, we'll try to contact your vet first. If we aren't able to take your pet there, we'll go to ours. There are many good vets in our area, and in off hours we are just five minutes away (less than half a mile) from the Veterinary Emergency Clinic. So rest easy. Veterinary care is close-by 24 hours a day. If you leave us a number where you can be reached, we'll try to contact you. Alternatively, we'll call the name and number you leave as your "emergency contact".

Homecoming - Welcome Home!

Greeting your dog

We keep your dog (and his quarters) as clean as possible, but we recommend having your dog groomed by our outstanding staff of professional groomers. Arrive home to a happy, healthy, and beautifully groomed dog that is thrilled to see you, too.

Arriving back home

It is not unusual for dogs to be excited, and try to drink lots of water when they get home. Your dog had fresh water at all times when with us, but dogs often react to excitement by guzzling water. Uncontrolled drinking is not good for your dog, so supervise your dog's water consumption at first. Let him drink for 15 or 20 seconds, then take the bowl away. After 20 minutes or so, give him another drink. Repeat this for an hour or so, then he should be fine.

Getting back to "Normal"

Depending on how long your dog was away from home, water or dietary changes and a different activity level may result in loose stools. This is are perfectly normal. If your dog's after-boarding behavior is puzzling, call us. In rare cases there's a transitional period of adjustment, and we're happy to give you advice to help you both.

Sharing Information

When you pick up your pet from All Dogs Inn™ you'll get a "report card" telling you how your pet did. If you have any questions about her boarding experience, please ask us. And we welcome your feedback. We continuously strive to make our services the best. Your input and feedback are critical to our success.