Puppies are the best—their cute little (or not so little) paws and button noses. How great would it be to be able to take them everywhere with you? Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. It might not be feasible to bring them along on that vacation you’ve been planning, or you might have a business trip coming up and, no matter how cute your pup is in his business-casual bowtie, he has to stay behind.
It’s best to start arranging accommodations for your pup as soon as you know you’ll need them. Most doggy daycare and dog boarding facilities have a minimum age requirement for their four-legged guests.
If you happen to find one willing to take your very young puppy, be wary. Those age restrictions are in place to protect your puppy, and arranging for them to stay with a friend or family member who’s willing to watch them would be a much better and much safer option.
What You Need to Know
First, the average minimum age requirement for boarding puppies is three months. This is usually enough time for your puppy to have completed their regimen of puppy shots, which are typically given over a period of 12 weeks. Responsible boarding facilities will require proof that your puppy has received all of their vaccinations to ensure they won’t get sick during their stay.
Keep in mind that your puppy’s immune system isn’t fully developed, so they have a higher risk of picking up any contagious illnesses they’re exposed to. Some facilities will take puppies who have completed their first round of shots, but it’s usually better to wait until they’ve completed their second round of shots, as well. Doing so will provide better protection against falling ill.
Check with your vet if you have any concerns about boarding your puppy. If they have other health concerns, it’s good to educate yourself so you can pass that knowledge on to the staff at the boarding facility. Make sure to let them know if your pup requires meds during the day, or if they’ll need some extra time to rest or more frequent potty breaks.
Safe and reputable boarding facilities will stand by their rules. If they have a minimum age requirement for the puppies they accept and require vaccination records, that’s a good sign. It might be inconvenient for you if your puppy doesn’t yet meet those requirements, but it shows that the boarding facility takes the health of their dogs seriously. If they say they’re willing to make an exception for your puppy, it probably isn’t the only exception they’ve made, and you could be risking exposing your pup contagious illnesses.
Do your research on the boarding facilities in your area. As stated above, look for places that have age and vaccination requirements so you can be sure they’ll prioritize your puppy’s health.
Other Factors to Consider Before Boarding Your Puppy
Boarding your dog gives them the chance to socialize with other dogs and humans, but not all puppies are eager to meet new friends or do well in large groups. Take your puppy’s personality into consideration, and pay attention to whether they become easily stressed around new dogs and unfamiliar people. Boarding can help with their socialization, but it could end up making your puppy more fearful in these situations if their initial experiences aren’t pleasant.
The length of time you plan to board your puppy should also be taken into consideration. Being away from your new pup overnight or for a couple of days shouldn’t have a huge effect on them, especially if they’re in a place they feel safe and comfortable and have plenty of opportunities to play and have fun. However, longer stays give your impressionable puppy more time to learn behaviors from other dogs, and they aren’t always going to be good behaviors. They might also have trouble readjusting to their routine at home.
Make Your Puppy’s Health a Priority
All in all, remember that any age restrictions and vaccination requirements a boarding facility has in place are there to protect your puppy. In any case, you should be sure that your puppy has completed their regimen of puppy shots and is at least four months old before boarding them anywhere. If your pup has reached both of those milestones, you can rest a little easier and be confident you’ve taken the right first steps toward your puppy’s healthy future.