Dog Boarding with Relatives

You don’t want to board your dog at a kennel while you’re away? A dog boarding host family doesn’t feel right and you don’t want to have someone you don’t know come into your home to look after him? Then why not ask your family for help?

Why turn to your family for dog boarding?

Asking a close family member for help has several advantages. First, you know the person and that always makes things easier when it comes to having someone live in your house when you’re away. Chances are that your dog knows this person well so he won’t be too upset or anxious.

Another advantage of this option are the low costs. Asking a family member will cost you far less than a pet sitting service, boarding with a family or a kennel. In most cases, you won’t have to pay a penny. This can prove to be very interesting for people on a tight budget.

Needless to say, only ask for help from someone you truly trust. You need to be completely at ease with your dog sitting arrangements.

How to prepare yourself

You have a family member or friend to board your dog. Now, all you need to do is prepare your departure and plan everything for the well-being of your four-legged friend while you´re gone.

If the service is taking place in your own home, there is way less to prepare: your dog will stay in his own environment where he will be able to keep his routine. Make sure though that you leave enough dog food. In case your dog stays with in the house of a family member or friend, prepare a bag withhis food, toys, teddy, blanket and/or basket.

If your dog is sick and needs medication, do not forget to plan for it. Also, think about leaving his collar and leash in the bag. Make sure your dog’s immunisations are up to date!

If this is the first time that your dog will be separated from you for a long period of time, think about leaving something (clothes, scarf, pillow, etc.) with your smell on it. A familiar smell helps calm dogs down.

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Precautions to take for a great dog boarding experience

There are a few precautions to take to make sure everything will go well during your time away:

  • Detail all your dog’s needs to the person in charge of boarding your dog. If it is the first time that s/he takes care of it, please take some time to walk him/her through your dog’s character and habits. Is your dog scared of strangers or, on the contrary, very sociable? Is he shy or outgoing? Does he tend to run away? What are his favorite toys? Does he get along well with other pets? How long do his walks usually last? Be sure to be specific and provide lots of details, even when they seem insignificant to you.

  • Don’t forget to explain when and how to feed your dog. Be specific on the quantity and frequency of meals. If your dog is sick and needs medication, provide all the details regarding the dosage, the timeline, and the intake method. You can also describe the signs or symptoms of the condition getting worse so that the dog sitter is able to act if needed. Remember to give the dog sitter a copy of your dog’s health records and your vet’s phone number.

  • You may also want to make an appointment with your vet before you leave to make sure that your dog is in good health. Write down his weight! Sometimes, dogs may lose or gain weight during their owner’s absence.

  • If dog boarding is taking place in the pet sitter´s home, make sure that everything is secure, especially if the house has a garden.

How to prepare your dog for your departure?

It can be difficult to leave your dog behind - especially if it's the first time that you someone else will board your dog. There are a few things you can do to prevent your pet from being stressed.

In the days leading up to your departure, it is important that you do not change your behaviour towards him: your dog may notice it. Avoid over-hugging and refrain from spoiling him just because you feel guilty about going away. Again, your dog may suspect that something is going on. You risk creating some anxiety that will be counter-productive. If your dog tends to be stressed, try some natural supplements or a pheromone diffuser.

If your dog is really stressed, ask your vet for advice. There are some medicines that alleviate stress in dogs. While you're away, ask the pet sitter for updates. This will make you feel better. And once you're back, take your dog to the vet for a check-up to make sure all went well.

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