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What to Bring When You Board Your Dog: The Essentials to Extras

what to bring when you board your dog

Wondering what to bring when you board your dog? You’re not alone. The decision to board your dog can often be stressful, filled with concerns about your pet’s well-being and comfort.

Life happens. Whether it’s a last-minute business trip, a family emergency, or a long-planned vacation, there are times when you just can’t take your dog with you.

And that’s where boarding comes in as a safe and reliable option for your pet’s care.

Importance of Properly Packing and What to Bring When You Board Your Dog

corgi in dog bed

You wouldn’t go on vacation without packing the essentials, right? The same goes for your dog. Properly packing for their stay is vital for both their comfort and health.

After all, a well-prepared owner makes for a happy, well-cared-for pet.

What to Bring When You Board Your Dog: Essential Paperwork and Identification

Vaccination Records

First up, let’s talk vaccination records. They’re a non-negotiable item when boarding your dog.

Most boarding facilities need to see these. Why? To ensure your dog and all the other pets stay healthy. So, what do you need?

Those are the usual suspects. Check with your chosen facility in case they have extra requirements.

Emergency Contact Information

Next, jot down emergency contact info. Include your number and maybe a friend or family member’s. It’s a good idea to have a backup. The staff will use these numbers if any issues arise. So, who should you list?

  • Your number
  • A backup friend or family member
  • Your vet’s number

Special Instructions

Got a dog with special needs? Write it down. The staff can’t read minds. List any allergies, special diets, or medications. Include feeding times and quantities. This info can be vital.

Here’s what you might include:

  • Allergies
  • Special diet
  • Medication schedule
  • Behavioral quirks

Photo of Your Dog

Lastly, bring a recent photo of your dog. It sounds weird, but it’s useful. If your dog somehow escapes or gets lost, a photo makes it easier for people to help find them.

Just snap a quick pic on your phone and print it out. Simple as that.

What to Bring When You Board Your Dog: Comfort Items

Dog Bed

A dog bed is crucial. It’s their own slice of home in a new place. And the familiar smell? It’s comforting. If the facility allows it, definitely bring the bed.

  • Offers a familiar place to sleep
  • Smells like home
  • Adds an extra layer of comfort
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Next up, blankets. These are more than just pieces of fabric. They’re a comfort item and an extra layer of warmth. Opt for easy-to-wash materials like fleece.

  • Provides comfort
  • Adds warmth
  • Easy to wash and maintain

Favorite Toys

toys what to bring when you board your dog

Toys are essential too. They do more than just entertain; they can also help your dog feel at ease. Go for toys your dog already loves, like a squeaky toy or a plushie.

  • Provides entertainment
  • Eases stress and anxiety
  • Adds a touch of familiarity

Personal Item with Your Scent

Finally, your scent. It’s more powerful than you might think. A simple worn t-shirt can make a big difference to your dog’s comfort. It offers them a sense of your presence.

  • Helps calm your dog
  • Offers a sense of your presence
  • Eases separation anxiety

What to Bring When You Board Your Dog: Food and Nutrition

Dog Food

First, let’s tackle dog food. You’ll want to pack enough for the entire stay. Maybe add a day’s worth for good measure. Wet food or dry food? Both are fine. Just stick with what your dog usually eats.

  • Enough food for the entire stay
  • Extra day’s worth for safety
  • Stick to familiar food, wet or dry


Next, treats. These aren’t just for fun; they can be comforting. Just don’t go overboard. A few familiar favorites should suffice.

  • Comforting for your dog
  • Don’t overdo it
  • Choose familiar favorites

Feeding Schedule and Instructions

Finally, the feeding schedule. Keeping to a routine is key. It’s comforting for your dog. Pack food in individual servings to make it easier for the staff.

  • Stick to a routine
  • Pack food in individual servings
  • Makes it easier for the boarding staff

Each of these items ensures your dog stays nourished and feels as at-home as possible while you’re away.

What to Bring When You Board Your Dog: Health and Grooming Items


First, medication. If your dog takes any, bring it. Also include clear instructions for the staff. Pre-sort them in a pill organizer if you can.

  • Required medication
  • Clear instructions
  • Pre-sorted in a pill organizer

Flea and Tick Prevention

Next, flea and tick prevention. It’s better to be safe than sorry. A simple collar or topical treatment will do.

  • Flea and tick collar
  • Topical treatment
  • Stick to what your dog is used to

Grooming Supplies

Lastly, grooming basics. A brush or comb is essential for longer-haired breeds. Even for short-haired dogs, it’s good for removing loose fur.

  • Brush or comb
  • Wipes for quick clean-ups
  • Dog-safe shampoo for any surprise messes

Packing these health and grooming items ensures your dog will not only be comfortable but also clean and well-cared-for during their stay.

What to Bring When You Board Your Dog: Extra Precautions and Comforts

Extra Leash and Collar

First on this list is an extra leash and collar. Accidents happen. Having a backup ensures your dog can still go for walks if one breaks.

  • Extra leash
  • Extra collar
  • Ensure both are sturdy and well-fitting

Travel Water Bowl

Next, a travel water bowl. It’s compact and can be handy for the journey to the facility or in case of emergencies.

  • Compact size
  • Easy to clean
  • Good for emergencies

Optional: Calming Products

Finally, think about calming products. Some dogs get nervous in new environments. Calming sprays or chews can help.

  • Calming sprays
  • Anxiety chews
  • Familiar-smelling fabric or comfort object

These extra precautions and comforts can be life-savers, or at least stress-savers, in various situations. They go a long way to make sure your dog’s stay is as smooth as possible.

What to Bring When You Board Your Dog: Tips for the Day of Boarding

Timeline Leading Up to Dropping Off Your Dog

The day has arrived. You’re about to board your dog. Here’s a quick timeline to keep things stress-free for both of you:

  • Morning Walk: Start the day with a long walk. This helps to tire out your dog and make them more relaxed.
  • Last Meal at Home: Feed your dog their regular meal at home, aiming to keep their routine as standard as possible.
  • Final Check of Items: Go through your packing list one last time to make sure you’ve got everything.
  • Leave Early: Aim to arrive at the boarding facility earlier rather than later. This gives your dog time to adjust to the new environment.
  • Quick Goodbye: When you do leave, keep it short and sweet to minimize stress for your dog.

Each of these steps serves a particular purpose:

  • A tired dog is a more relaxed dog.
  • Keeping mealtime consistent adds familiarity.
  • Double-checking ensures nothing vital is forgotten.
  • Early arrival provides adjustment time.
  • A quick goodbye eases your dog’s separation anxiety.

What to Bring When You Board Your Dog and Pick Them Up

Picking up your dog is an exciting moment, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Energetic Greeting: Your dog will likely be very excited to see you, which is natural.
  • Immediate Needs: Your dog may need to relieve themselves as soon as they leave the facility, so be prepared for that.
  • Check-Out Process: Be prepared for some paperwork and possibly settling any remaining charges.

Knowing these points helps you plan:

  • Be ready for an energetic greeting but stay calm to not overexcite your dog.
  • Have a leash ready for immediate walks.
  • Bring your wallet for any last-minute charges.

Tips for a Smooth Transition Back Home

After a stay away from home, getting back into the daily grind can be a transition for your dog. Here are some tips to make it easier:

  • Resume Routine: Dogs thrive on routine. Try to get back into your usual schedule as soon as possible.
  • Post-Boarding Bath: Depending on the facility’s cleanliness and your dog’s activities, a bath might be needed when you get home.
  • Monitoring: Keep an eye on your dog for any signs of stress or illness in the days following their boarding stay.

The objectives here are simple:

  • A regular routine minimizes stress.
  • A bath ensures your dog is clean and comfortable.
  • Monitoring lets you catch any potential health concerns early.

By preparing adequately for the boarding day and knowing what to expect upon return, you make the experience as smooth as possible for your furry friend.

Wrapping Up What to Bring When You Board Your Dog

what to bring when you board your dog

Boarding your dog involves more than just dropping them off at a facility. From essential paperwork to comfort items and food, every detail matters. Following these tips and packing the right items can make a significant difference in your dog’s boarding experience.

Moreover, being mindful of the day-of procedures and what to expect during pickup helps ensure a smooth transition for both you and your pet.

All in all, careful preparation makes for a more relaxed, comfortable stay for your dog.

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Elizabeth Crane

Elizabeth Crane is a lifelong dog lover who shares her life with a beloved Golden Retriever and Goldendoodle. Known among friends and family as the 'go-to' person for dog-related advice, she cherishes every moment spent with her four-legged companions. Her days are often filled with outdoor adventures and cozy evenings, all enhanced by her dog pals.