What to Put in your Doggie Bag: Preparing to Board

It’s time for vacation! Your bags are packed, the reservations are confirmed, and the tickets have been printed. You’ve made arrangements for a family friend to watch the house and water the plants every night. You’ve found the perfect boarding facility for your dog. Time to sit back and relax. But wait: have you packed your dog’s bag yet? Credible boarding facilities will have everything needed for basic care of your furry friend, but there are a few things you’ll want to add to keep your pup as comfortable as possible. Don’t forget these key items when packing your doggie bag:



Submit all the necessary paperwork to the boarding facility beforehand, and pack any required documents including medical and vaccination charts. Most facilities require Rabies, Bordetella, and Distemper vaccinations and appreciate any forewarning on your dog’s medical history and specific needs. With close quarters and frequent social interaction among dogs, the boarding facility will also want verification via vet records that your dog is in sound heath and has no visible contagious ailments such as coughing or sneezing.


Medicine and Supplements:

Make sure you pack any and all medicines and supplements your dog needs throughout the day. Also, provide a list of clear instructions for staff members to administer them.


Collar with Identification:

Don’t forget to make sure your dog has a secure collar with some sort of identification on him, if he doesn’t already. Just like you carry a driver’s license for identification, your dog needs to make sure staff knows who he is and who he belongs to, too. A well fitted collar with ID tags is a quick and easy way for dog handlers to recognize dogs while having a safe way to lead and direct them during their stay.



Pack any specific instructions about caring for your pet. Whether he has anxiety, aggression toward other dogs, or any other specific behavioral concern, get it all in writing and make sure staff members have it so they can care for your dog appropriately. This information will help dog handlers better learn your dog and his needs so that his stay is the most comfortable and safest experience it can be.


Emergency Contact Information:

The boarding facility should have your emergency contact information as well as your vet’s contact information in case anything happens while your dog is boarded. It’s a good idea to also list a trusted family member or close friend just in case for any reason you cannot be reached.


Food and Treats:

While you’re indulging in all those decadent foods on vacation, make sure your dog has all his favorite foods, too. You don’t want to introduce any new foods into his diet, especially while he is away from home. Keeping his nutrition the same is the best way to ensure that he feels his best during his stay at the boarding facility.


Toys or Special Items:

Your dog will feel much more comfortable with a few toys to play with that remind him of home. A high-energy dog will appreciate mentally stimulating chew toys, while an anxious dog might appreciate a toy that will help him recall the comforts of you and your home. Anything that will help keep your dog calm and relaxed should be included.


A Blanket or Bed from Home:

Just as you enjoy a soft, comfortable bed while you’re away from home, your dog does, too. The smells of home will also remind him of you while you’re away. Just make sure the bed or blanket is safe to have in his kennel overnight, you don’t want him chewing it or getting tangled up in it.


Have Your Dog on a Leash:

Boarding facilities typically require you to arrive with your dog the average six foot secure lead. Having complete control of your dog is the best way to keep him safe and calm when entering a new place. It also ensures a smooth transition from you into the care of the dog handlers.