When preparing your pet for a boarding stay, packing the perfect bag can make all the difference in ensuring they remain comfortable and happy, and receive the care they deserve. Whether you’re boarding your pet for a weekend stay or longer, you’ll want to pack several essentials to help ensure your furry pal feels at home and stays healthy during your time apart. To pack the perfect back for your pet’s boarding stay, include these important items.

#1: Your pet’s food and feeding instructions 

Sudden diet changes can trigger digestive issues in your pet, so sending their regular food is vital to help maintain their digestive health while you are apart. To ensure your pet receives the nutrition they need, pack their food in a sealed container, and label it with your four-legged friend’s name and feeding instructions. Pack enough food to last for the entire length of your pet’s stay, and include their food and water bowls, unless the boarding facility provides these. If your pet is on a special diet or has specific feeding requirements, communicate this to the boarding facility staff in advance, to ensure they can accommodate your pet’s needs.

#2:  Your pet’s medication and administration instructions

If your pet is on medication or has specific health needs, pack all necessary medications and health supplies such as prescription medications, supplements, and flea and tick preventive products.  Ensure that you pack enough medication to last for the duration of your pet’s boarding stay, plus a few extra days in case of unexpected delays. Label each medication with your pet’s name, the dosage instructions, and administration frequency. Ensure you include specific instructions, such as whether the medication should be administered with food or at a specific time of day. To ensure they can provide your pet’s necessary care, discuss your pet’s health needs with the boarding facility staff in advance of your four-legged friend’s stay.

#3: Leash, collar, and identification for your pet

Ensure your pet is wearing a collar and is leashed when you bring them into the boarding facility. Doing so helps you restrain your pet and prevent them from darting out the kennel door. Your pet should have identification tags on their collar that include their name, your current phone number and address, and any other relevant details, such as medical conditions or allergies. Ensure that the information on the tags is up-to-date and easily readable. Identification tags are crucial in case your pet accidentally escapes or gets lost during their boarding stay. While identification tags are essential, they can sometimes become detached or damaged. As an added safety measure, have your pet microchipped. A microchip is a small, implantable device placed under your pet’s skin. The chip contains a unique identification number, with your contact information registered to a database that shelters, veterinarians, or boarding facilities can scan and help reunite you and your pet if they become lost.

#4: Your pet’s vaccination records 

For your pet’s health and wellbeing, and that of other pets in the facility, up-to-date vaccinations are essential and required. Bring a copy of your pet’s vaccination records for the boarding facility to keep on file. Reputable boarding facilities typically require the following vaccinations:

  • Required canine vaccinations — When housed in close contact with other dogs, your pooch can contract or transmit several diseases. Your dog should be current on the following vaccinations:
    • Distemper, adenovirus type 2, parvo, parainfluenza (DA2PP) 
    • Rabies 
    • Bordetella 
    • Leptospirosis 
    • Canine influenza
  • Required feline vaccinations — When housed in close contact with other cats, your feline friend can contract or transmit several diseases. Your cat should be current on the following vaccinations:
    • Feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia (FVRCP) 
    • Rabies 
    • Feline leukemia virus (FELV) 

#5: Comforting items for your pet

Provide your pet with some comforting reminders of home to help ease their anxiety and help make them feel more at ease in the boarding facility environment. Comfort items may include:

  • Something that includes your scent — Packing an item with your scent, such as a shirt or blanket that you’ve recently used, can provide a familiar and comforting smell for your pet. The scent of their favorite human (i.e., you) can help your pet feel more secure and reduce separation anxiety.
  • A favorite toy — To help keep your pet entertained during their stay, pack a few toys that they frequently play with at home. The familiarity of their toys can provide comfort and keep them engaged during your pet’s stay. However, leave toys that require supervision, such as rope toys or small chew toys, at home.
  • Calming aids — To help reduce your pet’s anxiety, consider packing an adjustable wrap, such as a ThunderShirt, which applies constant, gentle pressure to your four-legged friend’s body, and may help manage their anxiety.

By packing thoughtfully and considering all aspects of your pet’s wellbeing, you can ensure they have a comfortable and enjoyable boarding stay. If you have additional boarding stay packing questions or need to have your pet’s vaccinations updated, schedule an appointment with our Columbia Pike Animal Hospital team.