As dog owners, we know how much we love our dogs. Unfortunately, there are some cases where we can't bring them along for travel or emergencies.

This is where dog boarding comes in handy. Now you might be asking what to bring when boarding your dog.

In this blog, we'll tell you what you'll need to pack when it comes to boarding your pup.

In this day in age, there are still too many hotels that have a no-pets policy. Also, pet travel is not going to be cheap.

That's why a lot of pet owners choose to leave them with family members, neighbors, or dog sitters.

On the other hand, other dog owners resort to dog boarding. And before we discuss the necessary items to bring when boarding your dog, let's first tackle what is dog boarding.

dog boarding

What Does Boarding Your Dog Mean?

Dog Boarding is a place where your dog can stay overnight. It is sometimes called a dog hotel, dog kennel, or dog resort. Most of the time, people choose to board their dogs when they are traveling.

When you're planning a trip out of town and you can't afford to bring your pets with you, you'll have to decide where they'll be staying.

A few other choices are asking a relative or a friend to dog sit your pup at home.

Another solution can be hiring a pet sitter. This works better if the dog knows the sitter or your neighbors already.

If they are staying at the sitter's place, it will also benefit them if they are familiar with the environment.

If you're all out of options, arranging for your dog to go to a boarding kennel is one of the best options. Well-designed kennels are safe and secure.

You won't have to worry about their safety since many boarding facilities are connected with veterinary clinics and have trained professionals to take care of your pup.

what to bring when boarding your dog

9 Things to Bring When Boarding Your Dog?

Identification Card

An identification card is one of the most essential to keep with your dog at all times.

They should have a collar that has your contact information. Inside must include your name, address, and contact number.

It’s best to get your dog microchipped as well as it is one of the best ways for shelters, hospitals, or clinics to determine the identity and owner of the dog.

The microchip is not a GPS tracker, rather it encapsulates your dog’s information, and when scanned it provides information about the dog and the owner.

Emergency Contact Information

Although your contact information may be provided with the Identification Card of your dog, it’s best to leave an Emergency Contact Information of another person that is near the area to aid your dog in case of an event.

Ideally, it would be best to leave an emergency contact of a person who you can depend on to look out for your dog!

It’s best that they also have an established relationship for a much more convenient and smoother process.

If the emergency contact is a person unfamiliar with your dog, they may have a hard time handling each other. 

In the Emergency Contact Information, your veterinarian’s contact information shall also be provided.

This can help the boarding facilities with any inquiries regarding the conditions of the dog in case of an event. 

Vaccination Card

Boarding facilities will require dogs to have their vaccines up-to-date for safety precautions for the dog, the other dogs residing, and the employees as well.

The vaccination card will be a physical verification of their vaccination.

To prevent any contamination or contagion of some disease, it’s best to keep your dog's vaccination up-to-date before boarding or traveling them. 

There are airborne diseases that are covered by vaccines. Anti-rabies vaccinations are also essential for boarding. 

Copy of Medical Records for Reference

If you’re planning to leave for more than a couple of days it’s best to provide the boarding facilities with a copy of the necessary medical records.

This is to ensure that if any emergencies suddenly occurred, the facilities can contact the owner to deliver the dog to a veterinarian's hospital or clinic.

With the provided copy of medical records, veterinarians will be able to decipher the diagnosis with the additional records you have provided.

Medical history can help decipher the diagnosis of the dog. This can help address the diagnosis with much more ease and faster.

How To Give A Dog Medicine

Medicine – Supplements – Maintenance

Some boarding facilities or clinics may ask if your dog is taking any medication, supplements, or maintenance.

It’s best to bring their medication for easier administration and up-to-date prescriptions. Medicine, supplements, and maintenance are far more effective when taken on time.

These medications may affect less and some may even cause withdrawal if not taken properly and not taken in the right time.

A Familiar Blanket or Shirt 

Boarding your dog can result in stress due to sudden changes in the environment.

Providing them with a familiar scent from home may help appease the anxiety they’re feeling. It doesn’t have to be a huge blanket, a shirt or a cloth will do. 

As long as there is a scent close to home, they will likely feel less agitated and eventually relaxed after some time.

Remember to stop by from time to time if it’s possible. This will also help them feel reassured that the stay is temporary.

Favorite Snack or Toy

Boarding can be stressful for your dog but bringing their favorite toy or snack can help them feel more at ease.

Something familiar will make them feel more at home. It’s best to bring these out during the travel and when they’re getting ready to settle into their new resting nest.

You can introduce the kennel attendants to your dog to reassure your dog that they’re in a place where you and they aren’t threatened.

This can help appease your dog’s nerves. In no time, your dog will get friendly and less vigilant with the attendants. 

With the help of their favorite snack or toy and a little introduction to the attendants, this can also help the kennel attendants to do tasks much easier without harming the dog and less stressing the dog with new things.

Get Creative With the Raw Food Diet For Dogs Recipes (1)

Their Usual Food 

If you’re boarding your dog, make sure to bring their food. Although boarding facilities often offer their own, the sudden change of diet may heavily affect the dog’s health.

Adjusting to new places may take a toll on your dog. They may even have a change in appetite if the food changes as well.

At least with their usual food/diet, they can feel closer to home. Make sure to bring extra food in case of any delay or late arrivals.

The point of boarding dogs is to make them feel at home as much as possible while you’re away. 

Their Collar and Leash

Although providing their collar and leash isn’t exactly needed. It’s courtesy not to damage or at least lessen the damage your dog will be doing if they’re prone to chewing and biting.

Sometimes they’ll be delivered or changed into another kennel, providing their collar and leash will be a big help for kennel attendants, especially if the dog is familiar with it as well.

things to pack when you board your dog

FAQ About What To Bring When Boarding Your Dog

How to prepare your dog for boarding?

Boarding can be very stressful for the dogs. There are ways to prepare for their stay. This can be done weeks before their appointment.

Owners can try boarding trials. They can stay with someone they are also familiar with for half a day and then for a full day. 

Owners can also change their sleeping habits to make sure they get to feel sleepy and sleep at certain times of the day.

This can help them overthink less about their environment. You can also have the dog check the kennel ahead of time before their appointment.

A little exposure to the area isn’t a bad idea. At least they know you come back and forth in the area.

It would be helpful if owners can find kennels that can provide physical and mental activities to keep their dogs stimulated and less anxious.

Owners can also inquire their veterinarian if there is any necessary medication for highly anxious dogs.

Should I bathe my dog after boarding?

Bathing your dog before their stay in the kennel may not be necessary. Their scent from home will be necessary for their stay.

If it can be helped, it’s best not to bathe the day before. It’s best to bathe them days before their boarding but not a day before. 

When the dog gets home, it’s best to take them for a walk as a breather. After a walk outside, they should also bathe after their boarding.

The scent from the board may stick with them. Remember to brush out their fur too.

Why does my dog seem sad after boarding?

Boarding may not be a pleasant experience for your dog since it will require them to be exposed to an environment where everything is unfamiliar.

Not to mention, the kennel attendants aren’t exactly family but strangers, and being handled by strangers isn’t something pleasant.

Boarding can also be depressing when they get too anxious not being able to see you or anyone familiar. 

Preparing your dog for boarding before their appointment is highly suggested. Some trials and even changes in routines can help.

During their stay, if possible visit them or have them visited by a family member or someone they know and spend a bit of their time with them. This can help make the experience less stressful for them. 

boarding packing checklist

What To Bring When Boarding Your Dog Summary

In conclusion, there are still many of things on what to bring when boarding your dog.

As the dog owner, it is your job to be prepared and to ensure your dog will be safe and stress-free while you're gone.

Boarding your dog may not be as stressful as it should be. If the owner and the dog is prepared, the stay may be much easier for both.

As reiterated in this article, it is a must to prepare your dog as well for boarding. 

Dogs have it tough and as owners, we must help them through this experience. That is, by providing the boarding facility with the things they need for your dog’s stay and, of course, providing your dog with their necessities to make the stay much closer to home. 

Remember before boarding to check out everything about the kennel and what are the parts of their stays, from schedules to activities.

Make sure to keep in touch if possible. When you can't contact the boarding facility personally, at least with someone the dog is familiar with. 

These preparations can help your dog more than you think. 


Toby loves spending time with his dog and two cats. They are the best stress reliever and affectionate pets, especially his Belgian Malinois, Shawie. Shawie's favorite activity is running or jogging. But their go-to spot is to chill and swim around a nearby river.