Tips for boarding your dog or cat

There are steps you can take to reduce the stress of boarding your pet

One of the more stressful times for both the pet owner and the dog or cat is when that pet needs to be boarded at a local boarding or veterinary facility. While it would be ideal if we could have pet sitters take care of our pets in our homes while we are away or unavailable, there are times when it becomes necessary to board pets at these outside facilities. There are certainly both emotional and physical stresses when boarding, in addition to the increased risk of stress induced infectious illness such as Bordetella infection in dogs or cats, as well as other upper respiratory or gastrointestinal infections. And while many kennels and boarding facilities require Bordetella/kennel cough vaccination, I find that this vaccination is one of the least effective vaccinations we have.

Most recently many kennels are requiring or suggesting the new canine influenza vaccination. This currently “conditionally-approved” vaccination has not been out long enough for me to comment on its safety or efficacy, so it is one also that I currently do not recommend. There are many things that an animal guardian can do for their pet to help ease the physical and/or emotional stress of boarding. Bringing the pet’s normal diet to the boarding facility is very important in reducing stress on the digestive tract and in cutting down risk of diarrhea and/or vomiting from sudden dietary changes. This is a great situation in which to use a probiotic such as NaturVet Enzymes & Probiotics, as well as Fast Balance G.I.  to enhance digestive tract immune system function while boarding.

Vetri-DMG liquid is also a wonderful oral immune stimulant that I often find helpful in both boarding dogs and cats. There are some great natural remedies to help with emotional stress such as Be Serene, Composure chews, and Rescue Remedy, which can easily be administered to boarding animals and can help cut down on emotional stress.

Finally, I find it quite important that animal guardians always visit a facility beforehand to get an idea whether pets are housed properly in adequate spaces and that the facility is kept neat and clean, and free of excessive odors. By following my advice here, I find that such simple steps can help insure that the boarding experience is as least stressful as possible, and cut down on increased risk of stress-induced diseases in our pets.


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