If you are travelling and can’t take your Chi with you a boarding kennel is sometimes the only option left to care for your pet.
Choosing the right kennel can make all the difference to you and your Chi.
If your Chihuahua is happy at the kennel and you trust the kennel operators to care for your pet then your vacation will go a lot more smoothly.
Researching kennels in your area can be done easily with the internet but also ask friends and family members for recommendations.
There are websites available that list kennels by area and discuss what amenities are available at each one. Try to find one that offers much the same environment that you provide your Chi at home. Some boarding kennels call themselves dog hotels, and tend to be set up like small hotel rooms.
Dog hotels have real walls and doors, and some even have windows. They are quite spacious and allow you the opportunity to bring some of your Chi’s favourite items from home. Ask about taking bedding and toys to make your pet more comfortable and feel more at home. Dog hotels feel more like a small home than a kennel.
Standard kennels are more like dog runs. They often have cement floors with kennel doors where other dogs can be seen and heard. For little dogs like Chihuahua, the noise of many other dogs can be overwhelming. Try to visit these kennels during peak times so you have an idea of the noise level that your Chi will be exposed to.
If your Chihuahua has aggression issues around other dogs, selecting a dog hotel where your pet has less opportunity to see and hear other dogs is a better bet. Hotels also have a lower limit of dogs at one time, meaning that there is more one on one time between kennel staff and your dog.
What to Provide to the Kennel
Besides the bedding and toys to help your Chi feel at home, you should provide the kennel with enough of your dog’s food to last for the entire visit. Switching foods can be hard on dogs and can lead to stomach upset. With the added stress of being away from you and home, keep your Chi’s diet consistent to avoid problems.
If your Chihuahua has any medical conditions make sure that kennel staff are fully aware of the problems. Give them a list of all medications and a schedule of when they must be given. Make sure that medications are clearly labelled. Provide veterinary contact information so that if your Chi becomes ill, kennel staff knows who to contact. Also leave the kennel name with your veterinary hospital and discuss your wishes in the event of an emergency. Hopefully, nothing like this will ever be necessary but it is better to be prepared. Leaving instructions with your veterinarian about how much you are willing and able to do for your pet makes decision-making easier.
Medical Requirements for Kennelling
Most kennels require your dog to be up to date on vaccines. Bordetella or kennel cough is of particular importance because of its ability to spread from dog to dog in a kennel situation. Check with your kennel about their vaccination requirements well before your vacation. Many owners have been left in the lurch when a kennel will not admit their dog because they cannot provide proof of vaccination.
Also check with the kennel how soon before you plan to leave that vaccines need to be done. Getting a kennel cough vaccine the day you plan to drop the dog off at the kennel is most likely unacceptable. Many kennels request vaccines be done a week prior to the dog coming to the kennel.
Having a Chi is a wonderfully enriching experience, but with pet ownership comes responsibility. A little time and effort will help ensure that kennelling your Chi is a positive experience for the both of you.