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Don't Leave Me Mom! Easing Your Puppy's Anxiety During Boarding

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If you are starting to make plans for your next vacation, you may be considering boarding your puppy at your local pet hospital. However, you may be concerned about this big step--especially if your dog has anxiety issues. Here are some tricks and tips to make this period less burdensome.

Start Crate Training Now

You may be putting all of your efforts into potty training your pup, but don't forget that crate training is a big part of house-training as well. Getting your dog used to the crate is not only valuable for transport or for limiting access to certain areas of your home, but it is useful for boarding and times of extended absence. It's important during your training that you don't force the dog into the crate, as you want your dog to have positive associations with the crate. Instead, put a toy or a treat inside or near the door, so they can enter as they please.

If your puppy is terribly young—like 6 to 12 weeks—you will need to take him or her out for bathroom breaks nearly every hour, so leave the crate open so the bedding isn't soiled. When it's time for bed, you may want to put a blanket over the crate to dampen noise, cover distracting light and movement, and make the crate seem more "den-like." These efforts of crate training should pay off when you take your pup in for boarding, as he or she will be more used to being left in a small space. Bring the same blanket along to the hospital that you use to cover the crate, so that the vet techs can use it to cover the kennel as well.

Purchase a Pressure Wrap

If your pup is particularly anxious, he or she may be especially sensitive to noise. Since animal hospitals are bustling with plenty of other animals, this can be a shock. One way your dog can find relief is through a pressure wrap. These are snug jackets that are often used for dogs that are sensitive to thunderstorms, fireworks, and other loud noises. In fact, similar therapies have been successful in calming other animals and even humans with mental disorders.

See if the Vet Tech Can Give Them a Short Walk

While the vet techs may only have enough time to take kenneled dogs out for bathroom breaks, it doesn't hurt to look for a boarder that walks the dogs or a fenced-in area where they can romp. Your dog will be better in the kennel if he or she is able to expend some nervous energy a few hours before bedtime.

Visit the Boarding Facility At Least Once Beforehand

Pets 4 Homes says that dogs crave consistency and routine. If your dog is already anxious, dropping him or her off at a strange location isn't going to help. Make sure that you visit the hospital or boarding facility a few times with your pup so that the place feels familiar. Like crate training, be sure to give your dog a treat after a visit so that the place has a positive connotation. When you leave your dog for vacation, bring his or her favorite treats so that the vet techs can continue this positive reinforcement.

Try an Appeasing Pheromone

Lastly, you may want to pick up some synthetic dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) to leave with the pet hospital. This pheromone helps mothers and pups bond with one another and helps to calm dogs. While some studies have been mixed in regards to its success, it has been shown to help some dogs with stress and those with sound sensitivities. At the very least, it's worth checking into and seeing if its application could help your pup while you are gone.

For more information, contact Orange Grove Animal Hospital or a similar location.