Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tips before boarding your pets

If you, like many pet owners, will be boarding your dog during the holidays, now is the time to plan for your pet's healthy, happy stay. Whether boarding your pet at BRVC or elsewhere, create a dog-boarding checklist to avoid last-minute hassles and worries about your pet's health. Here are some tips from Dr. Frank Utchen of BRVC:

The Before-boarding Checklis
Take these precautions before you board your pup:

Update vaccinations "Make sure all vaccinations are current at least a week to 10 days before boarding your dog," says Dr. Utchen.

Check requirements Call the boarding facility to inquire what its vaccination requirements are. Bring proof of the vaccinations with you when you arrive at the facility.

Visit your veterinarian Even if a facility doesn't require a veterinarian's clearance, it's a good idea to schedule a checkup for your dog within 30 days of its stay, especially if your dog has chronic ailments or is elderly.

Double-check medication supplies Ensure medication supplies are adequate for the stay and bring the prescription in its original container. "It's extremely important that if for any reason your dog has a reaction, or another dog ingests the medication, the staff knows exactly what the prescription is as well as the dosage amount," says Utchen.

Keep up with flea prevention Almost every facility will require you to treat your dog with a monthly flea preventive. Schedule a treatment just before your dog checks in to the kennel.

Questions to Ask
Steer clear of boarding facilities that don't offer direct, fully explained answers to all your questions. Here's what to know:

Can your dog eat its usual food? Dogs may have touchy digestive systems, says Dr. Utchen. Your dog will likely fare better if it can follow its usual diet, so when possible, carefully label its food before boarding.

What treats are given?
A facility might serve your dog its usual food but offer unfamiliar treats.

How will the facility handle health issues? Ask if the kennel has a relationship with a veterinarian or if veterinary technicians are on staff. At Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care the veterinary staff are always available to monitor or care for any pet who begins showing signs of illness.

Share the Right Information
Your dog is more likely to enjoy a safe, healthy stay if you also keep the boarding facility well informed. Let the kennel know the following:

Special needs If your dog is prone to anxiety, aggression or other issues, let the kennel know well in advance. Booking early can ensure that your dog receives the right boarding space, says Utchen.

Your contact info Share your emergency contact number, along with a local number for someone not traveling with you. Provide contact information for your pet's veterinarian.

Any allergies Provide a list of your dog's potential allergens along with its other known health information.

Your Dog
If your dog hasn't boarded in a while, Utchen recommends a half day or so of doggie day care in the facility. Reintroducing your pup to the facility will ease stresses during the actual boarding stay.

As you're shopping, packing and otherwise planning for your own holiday trip, following this checklist may seem like a daunting task. But keep in mind why you're taking these steps: "It's about the safety and health of your dog," says Utchen.


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