The holiday season is upon us and with that comes a decision many pet owners face: whether or not to kennel their furry friend. While kenneling or boarding your pet may be the best choice for your family’s needs, it does not come without risk. Here are a few tips to help ease the stress of your pet’s kennel visit:


Vaccinations—every boarding facility will require rabies and distemper, and an additional vaccination for dogs called bordetella (kennel cough). Vaccination titers are typically not accepted. You will need to check with the facility directly for their specific requirements. If your pet is not up to date on these vaccines, we recommend that you make an office appointment as soon as you confirm your kenneling dates because vaccinations need time to become effective. When you place your animal in the kenneling situation, its body is already stressed, allowing viruses such as kennel cough to take hold. We can help reduce these instances by properly vaccinating your pet ahead of time. However, please be aware, that even with adequate vaccination, your pet is still susceptible to contracting illnesses. Kennel Cough can sometimes take 10-14 days to show up. If you believe your dog has contracted kennel cough, please call the office to set up an appointment and keep your dog separated from any other dogs in the house or neighborhood. Kennel Cough is highly contagious.

Illness—diarrhea, and vomiting are common stress issues for many pets when they are out of their element. If the kennel allows, please bring your pet’s own food to the facility to help reduce the chance of diarrhea from a sudden food change. It is also important not to send along too many rich treats, bones, or canned foods your pet is not accustomed to. It would be ideal to find out if the boarding facility has a protocol in place for animals experiencing diarrhea. Many places will have a veterinarian they can contact for medication and exams should your pet become ill. It is also a good idea to have a signed consent form at your regular veterinarian in case treatment is needed while you are away.


Stress—being at the kennel is definitely stressful for both you and your animal. Sending along blankets or items that smell like home can help to minimize the effects of stress. We also recommend that you try some Green Hope Flower Essences Animal ER and Remedy. This comes in either a spray or oral dropper form. Flower essences are a natural way to ease many issues, including stress, and they should be started at least one week prior to kenneling.


Other options—you may want to consider in-home pet sitting instead. You can find a reputable pet sitter in your area that either stays at your house or brings your pet to their home instead. This option works especially well when your pet has a history of anxiety outside of the home.


Sometimes we as pet owners face other concerns around the holidays as well. It is not uncommon for pets to go rooting through the trash after a big family meal. Cooked chicken, turkey, and other bones can cause major problems if swallowed. Chicken bones are splinter as they are chewed and have been known to perforate the intestines as the bones work their way through the digestive tract. They can also cause the animal to become obstructed, requiring expensive surgery to resolve the problem. It is important to be aware of any leftovers sitting out. If you suspect your pet has ingested cooked chicken bones, do not attempt to make them vomit. The bones can become lodged in the esophagus causing trauma. Contact the office or your local emergency center to get advice on the best course of action.


Special Note:  Our office will be closed on the following dates:  December 22, 23, 24, 25, 31, and January 1.

Doctors and staff at Creature Comforts wish you and your pet a wonderful holiday