What to Pack When Boarding Your Dog

As much as we love our dogs, we can’t always take them with us when we leave home. Whether it’s for work, vacations, or emergencies, sometimes your pets have to stay behind. Thankfully, there are usually a lot of options for boarding your dog. But it’s not always easy to leave them behind – after all, they’re often part of the family for many dog owners. 

Boarding your beloved dog can be an emotional experience, filled with concerns about their well-being and comfort. Any responsible dog owner will understand the importance of preparing your furry friend for their stay away from home. Proper preparation ensures not only the health and safety of your dog but also your peace of mind. 

What to Pack When Boarding Your Dog

Food and Feeding Instructions

Begin with the basics: food. Pack enough of your dog’s regular food to last the entire stay, plus a little extra in case of unforeseen delays. Maintaining a consistent diet helps prevent digestive upset and keeps your dog comfortable. Include detailed feeding instructions – how much, how often, and any special preparations required. If your dog is on a special diet or has allergies, emphasise this to the boarding staff.

Medication and Health Supplies

If your dog requires medication, ensure a sufficient supply is packed, along with clear dosing instructions and information about the condition being treated. Include any additional health supplies like supplements, flea and tick prevention, or special shampoos. Don’t forget to pack a copy of your dog’s vaccination records and any other pertinent medical documents. These are crucial for the boarding facility to provide the best care and in case of emergencies.

Comfort Items

To ease the stress of a new environment, include items that smell like home – perhaps a favourite blanket, toy, or a piece of your clothing. These familiar items provide comfort and security, helping your dog to relax. A well-loved toy can also be a source of entertainment and stress relief during their stay.

Identification and Contact Information

Ensure your dog’s collar is labelled with an ID tag containing your contact information. Pack an emergency contact list, including your details, your vet’s information, and an alternate contact if you’re unreachable. Pet owners and even dog breeders in some states like New York have to comply with licenses. 

Personalised Items

Every dog is unique, so consider what specific items your dog might need. Does your dog have a preferred bed or crate for sleeping? Would they benefit from a particular type of bowl for eating or drinking? Think about the little comforts and conveniences that will make their stay easier.

Boarding Facility Requirements

Before packing, check with your boarding facility for any specific items they require or recommend. Some may provide food, bedding, or toys, while others prefer you bring your own. Understanding the facility’s policies helps ensure you’re not over packing or leaving out essential items.

Emergency Preparedness

Include a note or form with clear instructions on what to do in case of a medical emergency. Provide authorization for emergency medical care and note any medical conditions or previous issues. This preparedness can make all the difference in an urgent situation.

Last-Minute Checks

Before you leave for the boarding facility, go through a final checklist to ensure nothing is forgotten. Double-check food, medication, comfort items, and documents. Ensure everything is clearly labelled with your dog’s name and your contact information.

Lastly, don’t forget to give your dog lots of pets and cuddles before they enter the facility! They’ll likely be worried and confused for a while when you go, and will be counting the seconds until you get back. 


Packing for your dog’s boarding stay is about more than just filling a bag with items; it’s about ensuring their health, comfort, and safety while they’re away from home. Each item on your packing list plays a critical role in making their stay as stress-free as possible. 

With thorough preparation, you can rest easy knowing that your beloved pet is well-cared for, leaving you to focus on your own travel or commitments. Remember, a well-prepared pet is a happy and relaxed pet. So, take the time to pack thoughtfully and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your dog is in good hands.