How to Prepare Your Dog for Overnight Boarding

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Is there anything more heartbreaking than leaving your dog behind when you’re about to go away for a few days? But, is there anything more satisfying than knowing that they are well taken care of in your absence? Boarding your dog overnight comes with a bitter sweet feeling. Read on for some tips to deal with this feeling and preparing your dog for overnight boarding. 

tail wag hotel dog boarding

What to look for in a boarding facility...

A good boarding facility will make you feel like you are in the right place right from the moment you enter it. However, it is good to make sure of a few things before trusting them with the love of your life! Here are some things that must be on top priority while you are scouting for the right facility –

  • Licenses – Never shy away from asking a boarding facility for licenses and other important legitimate documents to make sure they are authentic
  • Vaccination policy – Do they check vaccination records from pet parents? How strict are they while making sure that the dog being taken in is free of diseases?
  • Access to vets – Emergencies do not announce themselves. Are they equipped to deal with it?
  • Assessment – A good boarding facility will always recommend leaving your dog for half a day for trial purposes before leaving them for several days. This is to make sure that the dog would be comfortable in the absence of their humans.
  • Ability to deal with emergencies – Do they have procedures in place for emergencies like fire or short circuit? Is the safety of the animals ensured?
  • Staff knowledge and love for animals – Not everyone is cut out to work with animals. It takes a great deal of knowhow, patience and empathy to deal with animals day in and day out. Make sure you trust the staff of the boarding facility.
  • The look and feel of the facility – Do they have enough space in each kennel? Are they clean? Are they properly ventilated? Is the temperature controlled?


There is no stupid question when it comes to the safety of pets.

8 tips to prepare your dog for overnight boarding

1. Get your dog to be comfortable being inside a crate

Crate training a dog has several benefits; some that are visible immediately and some that have long term and long lasting effects. One such long term benefit is that it teaches the dog to settle down quickly in new places like the pet sitter’s house or the boarding facility.

Crate provides a dog with familiarity in new and unknown spaces and helps them simmer down with ease. Your dog would be expected to settle down in their crates/ kennels in boarding facilities. The faster your dog feels comfortable in the crate, the easier it would be for them to take to these places.

2. Socialize from a young age

Boarding and doggy daycare facilities are excellent places for your dog to socialize with new people and animals. However, if you have a fearful or a reactive dog, such places can be a nightmare for them.

Make sure to familiarize your dog with new people, animals, environments and situations from a young age so that they grow up into calm and confident canines. A well socialized dog is quick to make friends anywhere they go and would be able to park themselves with ease for overnight boarding.

3. Familiarize your dog with the boarding facility

Spending all night at an unfamiliar place can be intimidating and overwhelming for dogs, especially when it’s not a regular occurrence in their life. If your dog is not used to the concept of overnight stays in new places, it is advisable to familiarize them by leaving them at the facility for a few hours during the day and picking them back up by the end of it.

This will help build positive association with the place and at the same time will assure your dog that you will be back for them. If you are planning on leaving your dog for several nights at a stretch, it is recommended to do an overnight stay beforehand to test the waters and make sure your dog is okay when they are away from you.

4. Teach your dog the art of self engagement

Self engagement is when your dog has the knack of keeping themselves entertained for a considerable amount of time without dependency on humans. Knowing how to do so is super crucial for your dog if they are going to be spending a good chunk of days in the boarding facility.

Interactive feeders, puzzle toys, treat dispensing toys, edible chews etc act as excellent outlets for mental stimulation and enrichment while helping your dog self engage in the crate. Since these toys are almost always stuffed with treats, they also help build positive association with isolation and prevent behaviors stemming from boredom and frustration.

5. Make sure your dog is potty trained

Boarding facilities are great places to trust when you are not around to look after your dog. And, when it is a facility like ours, we do best we can to ensure your dog is comfortable and well taken care of.

However, there are certain things you can do from your end that would ensure a hassle-free overnight boarding for your dog; one of them being potty training your dog. An overnight stay where your dog would end up having accidents in their kennel may become inconvenient and messy for your dog.

6. Bring something familiar

In a new and unfamiliar environment, even the tiniest fragment of familiarity can comfort your dog. While we make sure that your dog is feeling at home at our facility, their favorite toy or a piece of your clothing has its own charm. A piece of home away from home can work wonders in helping your dog settle down quickly.

Different toys trigger a different reaction from your pup and they have existing associations with them. Make sure to pick a toy that your dog absolutely loves. One of your old t-shirts could also do the trick and help your dog sleep better at night.

7. Keep your Goodbyes short and quick

Different dogs have different reactions to being dropped off at boarding facilities. However, all of them go through some amount of conflicting emotions when they see their humans walk away from them. Making Goodbyes dramatic may only make your dog’s anxiety worse as they may spend all their time anticipating your return.

No matter how much you may be crying on the inside, try and keep your Goodbyes short and sweet because the last thing you want before leaving is your dog replicating your anxiousness.

8. Be up to date on vaccinations and other important information

As a boarding facility, we are very thorough with paperwork and registering essential information about your dog such as vaccinations, allergies, behavioral issues etc. If you are in the process of training your dog for aggression, reactivity or any behavior related issues, do make it a point to let the facility staff know about it. Make sure to be up to date on your dog’s vaccinations as nothing breaks our hearts more than not being able to accommodate dogs because of missing medical records.

At the end of the day, trust your gut. You know what is best for your dog better than anyone else. Familiarization with the boarding facility is of utmost importance in giving yourself the peace of mind that your dog will be well taken care of.

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