By: Katie Simpson
Most dogs, especially older ones, develop a sense of pattern in their daily lives. Transporting them to new places or doing something that could disrupt those habitual patterns can be upsetting to them.
Experts say that old pets are more likely to have health problems. Common to senior pets are deafness, blindness, and arthritis. As dogs get older, they are more prone to kidney, heart, and liver diseases. Sometimes your pet won’t get around very easily. They might be experiencing arthritis and other degenerative conditions. Keep in mind that if your pets are not used to being boarded, or are not boarded properly, their health problems might worsen.
Planning to board your dog
When you are planning to board your pet, do not hesitate to drop by your chosen kennel beforehand. Speak with your kennel personnel regarding the care of your geriatric pet. Perhaps the kennel has a special area where older pets stay, or maybe they offer special services for senior dog care. Whatever health problems your pet has, be sure to discuss them thoroughly with your kennel personnel before boarding. The kennel staff will be better able to recognize problems with a particular condition if they know what to look for. Be sure to observe the following:
Make your reservations early at the chosen kennel. You will just get disappointed if you book your reservations at the last minute. The best kennels fill up quickly and are booked months in advance. You should also find out what types of payment they accept, what types of equipment you should bring with your dog, and what kind of food they will feed him.
Prepare your pet for boarding. Dogs, just like people, appreciate a break. They enjoy being in new surroundings. Once they get familiar with the place, they will probably have an exciting and marvelous time. For dogs that have never been boarded before, consider some short overnight stays to help him or her get used to boarding.
Check in during office hours. Make sure to bring all the paperwork needed by the kennel. The kennel needs to know your name, address, phone number, your veterinarian’s name and phone number, and where you can be reached when you go away. So in case of emergency it will be easy for them to reach you. If your pet has any special problems that are not covered in your check in forms, point them out to your kennel operator.
This will help your kennel take better care of your pet. Most kennels have special services they provide. They sometimes provide a special diet for your dog or a special boarding place away from the general pet population. Kennel personnel provide nice resting and exercise places for your pets; they may even give your dog soft music to release their stress. Discuss your pet’s individual needs and health conditions in advance, along with what to do if something changes. Remember, your kennel owner is in the business of boarding because he/she loves animals.
Relax and enjoy your trip. Remember that your pet is in good hands. Your pets will probably get more care and attention than they would in your home.
Many older pets have underlying conditions or undiagnosed illnesses that are not readily noticeable. Stress plays an important role regarding your pet’s health. Stress can be caused by a variety of factors: being away from home and loved ones, a new environment, other dogs and cats, new noises, smells and people associated with a kennel, a change in food or water… the list goes on.
Whatever triggers a stress reaction also triggers physical changes in your pet. We may see physical signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, or increased respiration. Stress helps animals (and people) cope with a situation. However, when stress is not relieved or reduced sufficiently, the body does not have a chance to rest. This is why your pet can become ill away from home, even when he appeared normal when you dropped him off. Be sure to check for these conditions when you pick up your dog and find out what triggered them.
Katie Simpson is a longtime dog lover. For more tips and strategies for caring for and enjoying your canine companion, be sure to visit her Brilliant Dogs.
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