Preparing Your Pet for A Lodging Experience

Amanda with checkin

Remain calm during check-in for a smooth transition.

By Jen Ashenfelter

In early June I posted tips for finding the best pet lodging facility for your dog or cat (click here). As you get ready for your vacation, make sure you prepare your pet for the resort experience. I’m the marketing coordinator for Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holiday House Pet Resort in Doylestown, PA, so I’m lucky to work for a terrific medical team and professional lodging staff who offered these helpful tips.

It’s an exciting day—you are ready for vacation and it’s time to drop your dog or cat off at the lodging resort. Even though you are looking forward to your trip, the moment you have to leave your pet in the care of others can be stressful.

Planning is essential in managing anxiety. Previously we looked at tips for choosing the best lodging facility for your pet. Now it’s time to consider a few final steps that will make the check-in process easy for you and the lodging experience fun for your pet.

  • Vaccinations – When you make the lodging reservation, ask the staff which vaccinations are necessary and suggested for your pet’s stay. Contact your veterinarian to make sure your dog or cat is up-to-date on vaccinations, and make an appointment if necessary.
  • Activities – Be sure to choose an activity package for your pet when you make the reservation. Staying active is important for health and happiness.
  • Medications – If your pet is on medication, be sure to provide enough medication to last the stay. Package and label according to the directions given by the staff.
  • Food – Many resorts will serve a veterinarian-approved food but will serve your pet’s regular diet if you provide the food. Be sure to measure, package and label plenty of food for the stay. It’s also a good idea to supply extra food, especially if your pet is involved in lots of activities.
  • Contact information – Provide an up-to-date list of contacts and emergency numbers as requested by the facility.
  • Remain calm – This is the most important tip for ensuring a smooth check-in to the lodging facility. Pets can sense when we are upset or stressed and will mirror our energy. The best thing you can do is remain calm and confident so your dog or cat will have a positive experience.
  • Going home – A smooth transition when returning home is also important. If the resort offers a grooming option before check-out, a nice bath and pampering is a great way to end the lodging experience. If you are lodging a puppy or young dog, then return to basic housebreaking to reinforce good behavior now that he is back home. It’s also recommended not to feed your pet a big meal after coming home. Pets who are kept busy and happy at lodging—much like a child at camp—will be sleepy, so provide small amounts of water and food for several hours until their energy returns.

    These brothers enjoyed time in the play yard during their resort vacation.

    These brothers enjoyed time in the play yard during their resort vacation.

Lodging is your pet’s vacation from the regular routine. Remember to research lodging resorts well-ahead of your vacation. Choose a resort which provides the best activities, level of safety, and personal care you expect for your pet. When you are organized and calm during the check-in process, you and your pet will less stressed and ready for a good time.

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2 thoughts on “Preparing Your Pet for A Lodging Experience

  1. I agree with your “going home” routine–we always loved picking our doggie up, fresh from a bath. And he was always exhausted when we brought him home! All the excitement wore him out & he always needed a day of napping and pampering to recover from his “vacation.” It is such a blessing when you find a dependable kennel, knowing your pet is being cared for by kind people. Thanks for the tips, Jen!

  2. These are all wonderful suggestions, and we have used many of them over the 15 years we have kenneled dogs. I also suggest orienting your dog or cat to the kennel experience from very early in their life even if you are not going anywhere. It would be a good idea to start with an overnight, then graduate to 2 or more nights – before you go on a trip. As your pet ages it becomes more difficult to get it used to this experience.

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