How to Prepare Your Dog for Boarding in Charleston, SC

If you’re going out of town and need to board your dog, it’s important to find a kennel or facility that’s best for your dog, and it’s important to know what facilities require from you before boarding your pet. Below are some tips for preparing your best friend to be boarded at a kennel or boarding facility.

Dog Boarding Recommendations

It’s always nice to hear from friends and neighbors as to which dog boarding facilities they recommend, but if that’s not possible, try to research online reviews to get a feel for the quality and care of the facility. You can also contact your local veterinarian for recommendations.


Many kennels and dog boarding facilities have websites, so it’s easy to research on what they offer and charge, and what kind of facilities they have. You can also opt to call and talk to the staff, or even schedule a visit. Find out if a veterinarian is on call 24/7, or about hours when staff is present on-site. If you opt for a visit, meet the staff and assess how friendly and careful they are with dogs and cats, and check out the overall hygiene and cleanliness of the kennel. During your tour, make sure that the boarding facility is a safe environment for your pet. Make sure that the kennels have air-conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter, and that outdoor exercise areas for your dog are safe and secure.

Dog Boarding in Charleston, SC

Provide Veterinary Records for Dog Boarding

It’s important to have current veterinary records. It’s always a good idea to have copies of your pet’s health and vaccine records handy when boarding. Almost all dog boarding kennels will ask for copies of these records. Also, it’s a good idea to provide the kennel with all of your pet’s identification, including microchip information.

Review the Dog Boarding Rules

Almost all boarding facilities require your pets to be up-to-date on vaccines, especially rabies, and current kennel cough (Bordetella) vaccines are required. Some kennels may require up-to-date Canine Influenza vaccines for dogs. It’s always best to check with the kennel beforehand as to what is required.

Know the Kennel’s Hours

Make sure you keep in mind the operating hours of the dog boarding kennel. Many are not open to clients on Sundays, so if you get home from a trip on Sunday, you may not be able to pick up your pet until Monday.

Book Your Dog’s Boarding Stay Early

It’s always a good idea to book your dog’s boarding stay months in advance, especially for holidays. Many people leave town to visit relatives during these times, so kennels tend to get booked up.

Single Dog Kennels

Make sure the boarding facility you are looking at doesn’t put two strange dogs together. If you have two dogs who are buddies, and there’s enough space in the kennel, you can ask if they can room together.

Diet and Medications

If your dog is on a special diet or needs daily medications, make sure that you provide detailed instructions to the kennel facility. Make sure that the dog boarding facility you’re considering has daily treatment sheets where staff can record when feeding and medicating took place, what was fed/given, and how much. This is especially important if you have a diabetic pet, or a pet with a heart or autoimmune disease.

Bathing and Grooming Options

With dogs, a stay at the kennel may cause them to smell a bit like a kennel. Of course, this depends on the boarding facility. If you’re concerned about this, ask if the facility can groom or bathe your dog before picking her up. They will most likely charge for it, but it may be worth it.

Provide Emergency Contacts

It’s always good to leave a list of emergency contacts with the dog boarding facility, including your veterinarian’s number. You can also notify your veterinarian when you are leaving town, where you’ll be boarding your pet, and if needed, give authorization for urgent or emergency treatment for your pet while you’re out of town.

Collars, Toys, Leashes, and Bedding

Some kennels ask that you keep bedding, toys, and things that can get lost at home, but others may encourage bringing familiar items that can be a comfort to your dog. Check with the dog boarding kennel as to their rules on this.

Try Out the Dog Boarding Kennel

If you’re curious as to how your dog will do at a particular boarding facility, try it out for a couple of days or just one day. This can give you a general idea about the quality of care your pet will receive. When selecting a boarding kennel, it’s important that your best friend is well-taken care of, and can board in a clean and healthy environment.

Tips for Boarding Your Dog in Charleston, SC

When boarding your dog, make sure that the kennel you choose has a clean area indoors for your dog, and that it’s hygienic and free of urine or excrement smells. Also, make sure that the facility provides outdoor access and/or recreation for your dog. Many boarding kennels offer “social time” for dogs when appropriate, where dogs can safely socialize in a safe, enclosed outdoor space under careful supervision. Also, make sure that the enclosed outdoor exercise areas are secure, and don’t offer any opportunities for your dog to escape.

Dog Vaccines

As mentioned above, check with the boarding facility regarding vaccine rules. Many kennels require dogs to be up-to-date on their vaccinations, especially rabies. Kennel cough vaccines may be required up to four weeks before boarding. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is due for any shots no later than two-four weeks before boarding time, and have a copy of your dog’s veterinary records with you to show the kennel that all vaccinations are current.


Go through all of the paperwork from the kennel, and fill everything out. Make sure you include contact information, so the kennel can reach you if any problems arise. You should also let the kennel know the name and number of your veterinarian in case of an emergency. Ask the kennel how it deals with veterinary emergencies, and where they take pets for urgent treatment. You can probably call to see if you can get the paperwork in advance so that you have enough time to get all the information needed by the kennel.

Stay Calm When Dropping Your Dog Off

When it’s time to drop your pet off at the dog boarding facility, try to be calm and not make too much of a fuss. Try to stay calm and happy when dropping your pets off at the kennel, this can help your dog and cat feel more relaxed while staying in a new place.

Call West Ashley Pet Care Center at 843-766-287 to book your dog’s boarding stay in Charleston, SC today!

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West Ashley Veterinary Clinic in Charleston, SC offers a full range of veterinary services to keep your pets happy and healthy through all stages of life!