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Dog Boarding in Castle Rock: 7 Tips to Get Your Dog Ready for a Local Kennel

November 12th, 2018 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Two dogs in suitcase

So, you’re thinking about boarding your dog at a local kennel in Castle Rock…

What are the key things you need to know?

We asked Dr. Jeff, one of our veterinarians, to share 7 tips to get your dog ready for boarding in Castle Rock.

#1: Explore your dog boarding options

You have different options for dog boarding in Castle Rock — including Tails Up, Camp Bow Wow and Star Boarding Kennel in nearby Sedalia, to name a few.

(Our veterinary clinic, Cherished Companions, offers medical boarding.)

But if you’re leaving town, you may want to consider getting a dog sitter instead.


Because boarding kennels can be stressful for many dogs.

Smiling dog in car

Dog boarding can be especially tough on giant breeds and deep-chested breeds like: Great Danes, German Shepherds, Retrievers, Swiss Mountain Dogs, Bulldogs and Bassett Hounds.

These dogs are prone to twisted stomachs (known as “dog bloat”).

And studies suggest that stressed dogs are more likely to get bloat.

A dog sitter isn’t always an option, though.

(We get it!)

In these cases…

#2: Set up a visit with a local boarding kennel to make sure there’s a mutual fit

Most kennels in Castle Rock require a visit — a doggie interview — before dog boarding.

This is the kennel’s chance to evaluate your pet and make sure your dog is socialized.

And for you, this is your chance to tour the facility, see where your dog will stay and play, and ask questions.

Here are some boarding questions to consider and ask:

  • Are the play areas and your dog’s sleeping area clean, safe and spacious enough for your dog?
  • How loud is it? (Are dogs constantly barking?)
  • What is the kennel’s philosophy on playtime? Does it align with yours?
  • Are play areas inside or outside? If outside, what does the kennel do during harsh weather (extreme temperatures, rain, snow)?
  • What is the kennel’s feeding and potty schedule?
  • If you have a younger dog, will your dog get more frequent trips outside to keep your housetraining going?
  • If your dog is on any medications, will the boarding facility be able to administer those meds? What is the charge to do so (if any)?
  • Does the boarding facility have a relationship with an emergency veterinary hospital?
  • What’s your agreement with the boarding kennel in an emergency situation?
  • Is there a certain dollar amount that you give them permission to spend in an emergency situation if you can’t be reached?

This interview is all about getting comfortable.

You’ll know whether you’re choosing a place that will minimize your dog’s stress and be a good fit for your pup.

Close up action dog chasing ball

#3: Get your dog’s vaccinations in order.

Typically, dog boarding facilities in Castle Rock will require up-to-date vaccinations for:

  • Distemper (DHLPP)
  • Rabies
  • Bordetella — some require it every 6 months, others every 12 (check with your kennel)
  • Canine influenza — some require it, some don’t (check with your kennel)

Plan ahead

If your dog’s vaccinations are out-of-date, be sure to get your dog his or her shots at least two weeks before boarding.

Most vaccines don’t reach their highest level of effectiveness until one to two weeks after they’ve been given.

Not to mention, many boarding facilities will ask for your Certificate of Vaccination a week before your dog’s stay.


Some dog boarding facilities require the bordetella vaccine every six months.

Others require it every 12 months.

For planning purposes, it’s worth noting that the vaccine’s effectiveness drops off at about six months.

Canine influenza

Some boarding facilities also require the canine influenza vaccine.

We’ll give this vaccine to your dog if your boarding facility requires it and your dog is healthy.

As of October 2018, though, canine influenza is not regularly found in Colorado.

#4: Find out the boarding kennel’s spay and neuter policy. 

If your dog hasn’t been spayed or neutered, be sure to ask what your kennel’s policy is for intact males and females:

  • Are they allowed?
  • Are they kept apart from the other dogs?

When you’re ready to get your dog spayed or neutered, we recommend doing it at least 14 days — but ideally a month — before boarding.

That way, your dog has a chance to heal and feel better.

Golden Retriever Happy

#5: Plan ahead for the holidays and Douglas County school breaks

If you’re thinking of traveling during these time periods, book ahead!

And yes, we’re talking MONTHS ahead.

Many dog boarding facilities in Castle Rock fill up well in advance of:

  • Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and President’s Day Weekend (big for skiing)
  • Fall and spring breaks for Douglas County schools (typically, early October and late March)

You can find the current vacation schedule for Douglas County Public Schools on Google.

Girl and Lab in suitcase

#6: Chat with our vets about ways to help your dog feel calm

If you know your dog gets a little anxious, chat with our vets about ways to reduce your dog’s stress while you’re away.

#7: Get your dog’s “suitcase” ready to go

  • Put enough of your dog’s food into containers or bags for the kennel. (It’s best to keep your dog eating the same food while you’re gone. That will help your dog avoid the stress — and diarrhea — that can come with a change in diet.)
  • Pack your dog’s normal medications with clear instructions. Make sure the meds aren’t expired, so you don’t have to do a last-minute scramble.
  • Gather a blanket and/or toys if the kennel allows them. The familiar smells will be comforting to your dog.

Hopefully, these tips will help you and your dog feel less stressed while you’re away!

Other articles that may interest you:

Get your dog ready for a great boarding experience

Bring your dog in for a wellness check and vaccinations.

Call our Castle Rock veterinarians at 303-688-3757 or:

Book your visit here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on preparing your dog for dog boarding in Castle Rock. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.

© 2018, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

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