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It’s so hard to leave our babies when we go on vacation. Ideally, we’d be able to bring them with us everywhere, but a 12+ hour flight is a little much for Roxy and Rico, and I’m sure many others have similar issues. It’s especially difficult when boarding them for the first time. These tips will make your pup more comfortable and let you trust those taking care of them at dog boarding facilities.

Determine The Best Type of Dog Boarding For Your Family

We recently returned from a trip back home (hello, sunny Florida!) and had to leave Roxy & Rico. I haven’t found anyone locally I’m comfortable trusting them with in our home. At home pet care may work wonderfully for you and your pet, though! 

A home away from home is also a great option, where pet sitters watch your dog in their home. is a great resource for this! For us, a dog boarding facility works best.

Research Boarding Facilities

I did tons of research on local facilities to determine the best ones for my pair. Checking Facebook and Google reviews is a good way to scope out any issues. If it has lots of negative reviews, definitely stay away.

I also utilized local Facebook groups such as a who-to-use and a local pet parents page. They were great at providing relevant information on the different options nearby.

It was very important to me that the place I chose was active on social media, and posted pics of the pups so I could see how they’re doing. I had a fairly negative experience once with no updates or returned phone calls and that made me nervous, so seeing their happy faces online eases my fur-mommy heart. This is also the perfect time to ensure required vaccinations are up-to-date to avoid a last minute hurdle.

Take a Tour of The Boarding Kennel

Once i’d narrowed down the options to two, I contacted them to check availability for my dates and set up a tour. One even had me bring R&R with me for the tour so the they could get a feel for the place and be less anxious when we brought them. It made a world of difference for both them and me, as I got to see the room they’d be in, how they introduced the dogs, and how playtime was managed.

We boarded them there a few months back and they had a great time. For this trip, we chose their other boarding place as the rooms have actual sofas and televisions tuned to dog channels! Rico loves watching dogs on tv and definitely enjoyed that, while we all know how much Roxy loves sprawling out on the sofa! 

You also want to double triple-check your dates! I sorta glitched on this last trip since we had a red-eye flight, and I accidentally booked the pups for AFTER our flight left. OOPS. Cue panic attack when I realized it the week before our trip! Luckily the boarding facility had a room open for that day, so it wasn’t an issue, but man was I stressed until it got resolved!

Dropping Your Pet Off At The Boarding Kennel

Some boarding places provide food, but we always bring our own for them to use. For one, Rico is a picky eater and would most likely turn his nose up at their offer. Plus, abrupt changes in food can cause upset tummies, and we definitely don’t want to add to their stress levels by making them feel sick.

We also send them with a bit of home. My husband and I will both use one blanket for cuddling with a few days before, and then we send it with them so they have something that smells like us. You can send them with a favorite toy or puzzle, just make sure you remember it when picking them up! (For some fun puzzles, check out this post!)

I use this container for them, and it’s been great! The 2 compartments work great for daily life and it’s easy to bring with them. We fill the tall one with their food, and put the toys/blanket in the small one so it all stays together. Plus, it helps with remembering to bring the toys back home with us when we pick them up!

Plus, the company that makes it, IRIS USA, has an excellent warranty. We’ve had their Elevated Food Feeder for years and the handle had broken off during one of our moves. It wasn’t an issue with Ginger or Roxy, but Rico figured out how to push it open and start snacking. I emailed the company asking if they sold replacements handles, and they mailed me one free! I love giving great customer service a shout-out!

How cute is this little “When You’re Away” Comfort Cuddler?! You stuff your pillowcase inside so they get to have your scent around while you’re apart!

Enjoy your Vacation!

You’ve done your research and now it’s time to enjoy your vacay! Relax and enjoy your trip. If you’re like me, you’ll catch yourself scrolling through saved photos/videos, but know that they’re safe and happy and will be so excited to see you when you get home!

How does your dog do while being boarded? Share any tips to make it easier below!

Roxy & Rico

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