How to Prepare Your Senior Pet for Boarding?

The decision to board your senior pet can be a difficult one, as older animals often require extra care and attention. Yet, with the right preparation, you can ensure that your furry friend stays comfortable and safe while you are away. This article will guide you through the steps to prepare your senior pet for boarding.

Boarding Preparations for Senior Pets

1. Recognize Your Senior Pet’s Needs

Before you even start considering boarding options, it’s crucial to understand what makes senior pets different from their younger counterparts. Your aging dog or cat may have specific dietary restrictions, medication requirements, or mobility issues that need to be addressed. Comfort is key for these old-timers, so look for signs of anxiety or stress and speak to your vet about ways to manage these feelings effectively during their stay at a boarding facility.

2. Choosing the Right Boarding Facility

It’s essential to choose a boarding facility that understands and caters to the needs of senior pets. Make sure to do your research, read reviews, and visit the facility in person if possible. Check for cleanliness, safety features, and the overall environment. Ask about the staff’s experience with older animals and what kind of daily routine your pet can expect during their stay.

Word-of-mouth recommendations or online reviews can be helpful. Look for facilities that have experience in handling older pets and pay attention to how staff interact with the animals during your visit—establishing trust with a trusted dog boarding facility well before your trip will give you peace of mind.

3. Packing for Comfort

Packing familiar items can help your pet feel more at home in the boarding facility. This might include their favorite blanket, toy, or even a piece of clothing that smells like you. Creating a sense of familiarity can go a long way in reducing stress and anxiety for your pet.

4. Preparing Health and Wellness Details

Your senior pet will likely have a more extensive medical history than younger animals. Ensure that you have all your pet’s health information updated and ready to hand over to the boarding facility. This includes a list of any medications, a schedule for administration, and any specific medical conditions that the staff should be aware of.

  • Medication Management: Prepare a clearly labeled and organized medication kit. Provide detailed instructions on dosages and times for medication. Include your vet’s contact information should any questions arise.

  • Food and Dietary Instructions: Senior pets often have special dietary needs. Make sure to pack enough of their regular food for the duration of their stay and provide detailed feeding instructions. If your pet is on a specific feeding schedule or requires a special diet, communicate this clearly to the boarding staff.

  • Detailed Emergency Instructions: In case of an emergency, the boarding facility should have a plan of action. Discuss this with them ahead of time and provide them with your veterinarian’s contact information. It’s also a good idea to have the location and number of a local emergency animal hospital written down.

5. Checking for a Geriatric-Friendly Space

As pets age, they often require accommodations for comfort and ease of movement. When touring boarding facilities, ask to see where your senior pet will be staying. The space should be free from hazards, easy to navigate, and offer a quiet area where your pet can rest undisturbed.

  • Comfort Is Key: Look for boarding facilities that offer orthopedic beds, ramps, and nonslip flooring. This will ensure that your pet can get around comfortably without the risk of injury. Mention any mobility issues your pet has so that the staff can make necessary adjustments to their accommodations.

  • Exercise and Socialization: While exercise is important, it’s also necessary to strike a balance that’s appropriate for a senior pet. Inquire about the facility’s exercise regimes and how they tailor activities to suit older pets. Socialization should also be taken into account, especially if your pet is calmer or less social than it used to be.

6. Visit the Vet Before Boarding

A pre-boarding veterinary visit is a must for senior pets. This is the time to ensure all vaccinations are up to date and to address any health concerns that could be exacerbated by boarding. Your vet will provide you with your pet’s updated health records, which you’ll need to present to the boarding facility. This includes records of recent vaccinations, which are often a requirement for boarding.

Talk to your veterinarian about your boarding plans, especially if your pet is under regular care for age-related health issues. They can help evaluate if your pet is fit for boarding and offer advice on additional precautions you should take. This is also the opportunity to discuss the geriatric services at Caring Hands Veterinary Hospital or any other special requirements your pet might have.

7. Communication is Essential

Communication with your chosen boarding facility should be emphasized more. Make sure they have your contact information and the details of someone you trust for emergencies. Keep lines of communication open with the boarding facility throughout your pet’s stay to check in and receive updates.

8. Emergency Plan

Work out an emergency plan with the boarding facility and leave instructions for any potential medical situations. Ensure they are clear on what steps to take and whom to contact should your pet need immediate care.

8. Special Considerations for Your Pet

Every pet is different, and your senior pet may have unique quirks or needs. Make sure the staff is aware of these and discuss how they can accommodate such particularities to maintain the comfort and happiness of your pet during their boarding.

9. Take a Trial Run

If possible, arrange for a short day stay or overnight trial to see how your senior pet adjusts to the boarding environment. This can help them become accustomed to the facility and the staff, making the actual boarding experience less stressful.

10. Preparing for the Big Day

When the day comes to drop off your senior pet at the boarding facility, there are a few last-minute preparations to ensure everything goes smoothly.

  • Double-check that you have packed all necessary items.

  • Re-confirm feeding, medication, and emergency care instructions with the staff.

  • Schedule a calm and reassuring goodbye to help keep stress levels low for your pet.

In the end, the most important part of preparing your senior pet for boarding is ensuring their needs will be met in your absence. With careful planning and clear communication with caretakers, you can rest assured that your pet is in good hands. The effort you put into preparing both yourself and your pet can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and comfortable experience for your beloved companion.

Final Thoughts

Leaving your senior pet in the care of others can be stressful, so prepare in advance to make sure everything is set. Remember, the more comfortable your pet feels, the easier it will be for both of you to enjoy your time apart. With a bit of preparation and the right boarding partners, you and your pet can have a positive boarding experience.