How to Prepare Your Pet for Their First Boarding Experience

Leaving your furry friend behind can be a daunting experience for you and your pet, especially if it’s their first boarding experience. However, with the proper preparation and research, you can make this temporary separation a stress-free, positive experience. This guide will show you how to prepare your pet for their first boarding stay and ensure that you and your pet feel comfortable and at ease.

Choosing the Right Pet Boarding Facility

Your pet’s safety and well-being should be your priority when selecting a boarding facility. Consider the following when researching options:

  • Read reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or your veterinarian.
  • Tour the facility to check cleanliness, safety measures, and overall environment.
  • Ask about staff qualifications, vet services, and the staff-to-pet ratio.
  • Inquire about feeding, exercise, and daily routine schedules for pets.
  • Look for facilities that offer boarding for cats and dogs if you have multiple pets.

Schedule a Wellness Check-Up with Your Vet

Before boarding, schedule a check-up with your pet’s veterinarian. During this visit, discuss the following:

  • The boarding facility requires vaccinations.
  • Any health or behavior issues that the boarding staff should be aware of.
  • If necessary, update your pet’s flea, tick, and heartworm prevention.
  • Get a copy of your pet’s medical records and vaccination certificates for the facility.

Addressing Special Needs and Preferences

Talk to the boarding facility staff about your pet’s particular needs and preferences, such as:

  • Diet and feeding schedule, along with any food allergies or restrictions.
  • Medications and medical conditions.
  • Behavioral quirks, fears, or anxiety triggers.
  • Exercise routine and play preferences.

Familiarize Your Pet with the Boarding Environment

Before boarding, take your pet on a facility tour to help them get accustomed to the environment. Some facilities may offer a trial stay or “daycare” service, which can help ease your pet into a more extended boarding stay.

Comfort Items from Home

Bringing familiar items from home can help your pet feel more comfortable and secure in a new environment. Consider packing:

  • A favorite blanket or bed.
  • A familiar toy or two.
  • An item of your clothing that carries your scent.
  • Your pet’s regular food to avoid sudden dietary changes.

Emergency Vet Care: Plan Ahead

Although you hope for the best, planning for unexpected situations like an animal emergency while you’re away is essential. Ensure the boarding facility has a comprehensive emergency plan and will promptly contact you and your pet’s regular veterinarian in an emergency.

Keeping Your Pet Calm and Confident

Minimize stress for your pet by remaining calm and confident during drop-off. Pets can pick up on your emotions, so try to make the experience positive and stress-free by giving them extra love and attention.

Staying Updated on Your Pet’s Stay

To help ease your mind, ask the boarding facility about their communication protocols. Many facilities offer regular photo updates or have webcams installed for you to check in on your pet remotely.

Caring for Your New Puppy or Kitten

As a new pet owner, choosing the right puppy vet or kitten care provider is vital in ensuring your pet’s happiness and well-being. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive care are essential components of raising a healthy pet, so don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian for guidance on essential care.


Proper preparation can make your pet’s first boarding experience positive and stress-free. By following these steps, you’ll help ensure your pet’s well-being while giving yourself peace of mind as you embark on your trip, confident that your furry friend is in capable and caring hands.