The ins and outs of boarding your dog

Posted: Friday, October 08, 2004

Doggie Do'sBy Linda Shipman

It can be a dilemma if you own a dog and travel. One solution is to board your dog at a professional kennel, either in Juneau or at your destination.

In Juneau, we have the Gastineau Humane Society and Pet Nanny's Place. Both require dogs to have current rabies, distemper, parvovirus and bordatella immunizations, and most likely a negative fecal exam within the last 10 days.

If your dog accompanies you on a trip, yet needs supervision while you are in meetings or sightseeing, consider contacting a kennel at your destination. Search for these by city and state at the American Boarding Kennels Association Web site at http://www.abka.com.

Begin by calling to see if space is available for the time period needed. Make an appointment to visit the kennel while you're on the phone. Try visiting the kennel mid-week to avoid the heavy traffic of drop-offs and pick-ups around the weekend.

Use your senses to evaluate the boarding kennel. Does it smell clean? Look neat? How's the noise level? Does the staff exhibit patience, warmth and delight in their charges? Are kennel temperatures comfortable and healthy for your dog? Is proper ventilation present? Is lighting comfortable?

Kennels should be consistently cleaned, disinfected with effective chemicals at least once a day and free of dirt, fecal accumulation, odors and parasites, such as flies, fleas and ticks. To cut down on noise, some kennels will not allow you to enter the kennels directly and disturb the dogs, but will provide a viewing window.

Ask about exercise areas. Some facilities have indoor-outdoor runs. Others house dogs inside but use outside exercise areas. Are they sufficient for your dog's needs?

Inquire about the staff's training. An experienced and knowledgeable person, trained to recognize the beginning signs of illness or distress, should check dogs several times a day.

Ask the front desk for information about rates and services and a copy of their contract. What type of payment do they accept? Are there extra charges for administering medications or feeding special food? Do you bring your dog's food and bedding, or does the kennel supply them?

Let the boarding staff know up front about your dog's behavioral idiosyncrasies. Most can deal with such issues, if they have advance notice. If your dog needs medication, advise kennel staff of the health issue, what type of medication is given and how often.

On the day you plan to drop your dog off at the kennel, organize immunization records, special food and medication, bedding and toys. Exercise and potty your dog before you drop it off. Leave the children at home and do not subject your dog to an overly emotional good-bye, which may leave it feeling anxious. Instead give it the upbeat message, "This is a wonderful place, and I know you'll have a good time. Good dog!" Drop your dog off during business hours and allow enough time to check in.

When you return from your trip, again pick up your dog during regular business hours and ask whether your dog adapted well to its stay.

You might even consider preparing your dog for its stay by boarding it overnight a few weeks earlier so he can acclimate to the new surroundings.

•••

You can attend Gastineau Humane Society's Pet Festival with your dog at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Nugget Mall.

The CBJ Dog Task Force will meet for a working session to review submitted public comment from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Juneau-Douglas High School library. The meeting is open to the public, however no public comment will be taken.



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