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There’s no question that your dog is part of the family, but sometimes your four-legged friend just can’t tag along on family trips. Here’s how to ensure a successful kennel “stay-cation.”

Check the kennel. If it’s your first time at a new place, drop in unannounced to make sure everything’s up to snuff, says Chris Hamer, a certified dog behavior consultant and owner of Wyndhaven Kennels in Mount Vernon, Washington. The facility should look secure, with several fences to keep animals from escaping, be clean, odor-free, and have plenty of full water bowls. Dogs in the community play space should look and sound happy (playful barks are good; whining angry ones are not), and be well supervised.

Review vaccinations. Check with your vet to ensure your pup is up-to-date on all her shots. “Being in an unfamiliar environment like a kennel can make dogs stressed, causing them to be more susceptible to catching viruses or infections,” says Hamer.

Pack up. Most kennels have food on hand, but since dogs typically don’t respond well to drastic dietary changes, bring your pooch’s usual chow from home. Also bring along a favorite toy or blanket that has your comforting, familiar scent.

Say goodbye. Even if you feel sad or guilty about leaving your fuzzy companion behind, a speedy drop-off is easier on you both. “Give your dog her special toy or a treat, quickly say goodbye, and walk out,” Hamer says. You’ll be reunited before you know it!

Reprinted from KIWI Magazine

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