What To Pack For Your Dog or Cat's Boarding Stay

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Based on an article that first appeared at

Your Dog or Cat is Headed Out for an Adventure!!!

So, you have finally decided it is time for some alone time, but what do you send so your dog or cat is comfy during their boarding stay?

The answer depends on the boarding facility you choose, but the number one answer is Pack Their Own FOOD!!!  And be sure to pack enough of their food.  This simple step, packed in baggies by mealtime, may help prevent the number one issue seen in boarding facilities, stress diarrhea. Allowing your pet to remain on their normal, regular diet helps prevent gastric upset and allows your sweet dog or cat to focus on having fun and enjoying their very own vacation without having to adjust to both a completely new environment and diet.  Be sure to pack their own treats as well to ensure that the boarding facility staff does not feed different treats than your pet is accustomed to eating.

Should I bring my dog or cat's bed from home?

For the most part, boarding facilities provide everything else your dog or cat needs. Fresh, soft and clean bedding is always provided. In fact, it is truly difficult to keep up with owner provided bedding once a pet may have an accident and requiring it to then to be washed. At that point, it becomes mixed with the regular bedding washing, which is constantly being performed in a boarding facility. Then it has to be relocated prior to pet pickup. In the long run, it is much better to leave the special beds at home and allow dogs and cats to use the resort provided bedding.

Do I need to bring my dog or cat's food dishes?

Special feeding dishes and toys should also be left at home. Boarding facilities have easily sanitized dishes that are safe for all pets and do not break. They prevent the risk that you could lose or break a special dish for your pet.

Dog outside at boarding facility.

What about my dog or cat's favorite toys?

Some toys that are safe at home can be a choking hazard when left unattended in an enclosure with a pet. If you are concerned your dog or cat may become bored, ask about special enhancements such as personal story time, a pamper massage, a frozen treat filled kong or a puzzle snuffle mat to keep your pet intrigued and entertained.

What if I have special requests for my dog or cat during their boarding stay?

Most boarding facilities welcome your special requests. While there may be an additional fee, they are truly there to make your pet's visit a joy. Ask if you think there is something that can enhance your pet's visit, and always remember their medication and proof of vaccinations!


Emergencies can occur while you are away.  Be sure you leave instructions with the boarding facility on how to contact your family veterinarian or which emergency facility you would prefer they take you animal should an emergency arise.  When possible have your emergency contact information available so that a veterinarian can reach you if needed.