Emergency dog boarding is one of those things that you don’t think you’ll ever need…until you do.
Unexpected hospital stays, family emergencies, work emergencies, even spur-of-moment vacations. Those are all reasons you may need to board your dog, NOW.
And those things don’t only happen on short notice, but also after hours, on the weekend, or in the middle of the night. Are you ready for when that happens?
You have a few different options for emergency dog boarding. Since you’re probably not going to have time to research and plan when you’re actually in the need, it’s best to have a plan in place now, and just hope you never need to use it.
Dog boarding facilities
For many dog owners, boarding facilities are their go-to when they know they’ll be away for a while. But if an emergency happens and you call in the middle of the night or on very short notice, will they be able to take your dog right away?
Some boarding facilities, like Silver Streak Kennels in Morris, New York, advertise emergency boarding services, saying, “Our hours are flexible and we work around the clock to accommodate dogs in need.”
Many dog boarding facilities aren’t technically open 24 hours a day—but that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone there at all hours. More than likely, there is, since someone needs to be on-hand to care for the dogs overnight.
If you have a dog boarding facility that you use regularly, ask them about emergency boarding services. They may have an emergency number they can provide that will help you get in touch with staff members even during hours the facility is closed.
Even if your emergency doesn’t happen during off-hours, not all boarding facilities can take dogs without advance notice, so it’s a good idea to call around to local facilities until you find one that can.
Some pet hospitals are open 24 hours a day—especially those that deal with emergency veterinary services. If your local pet hospital also boards, there’s a good chance they accept boarding dogs on an emergency basis, as well.
One example is Woodland Animal Hospital in Henry County, Georgia, which advertises their 24/7 services prominently, caters to late-night emergencies, and accommodates crazy schedules.
Check with animal hospitals in your area to see if they offer emergency boarding, and if they do, keep their number on speed-dial.
In-home dog boarding
In-home dog boarders will likely be more helpful than commercial facilities when it comes to emergency dog boarding.
Since you’re dealing with individuals and not businesses, there’s a better chance you’ll get a quick response and find someone willing to step in on short notice.
Apps like Rover can put you in touch with dozens of in-home dog boarders in your area instantly, giving you the ability to reach out to multiple boarders until you find someone that can help.
If you regularly use an in-home dog boarder, it’s a good idea to ask ahead of time if they accept emergency requests. If they do, find out what the best way to reach them is during off-hours.
If your regular in-home boarder doesn’t work on an emergency basis, it’s good to think of alternatives for your dog’s care if the unthinkable happens and you need them boarded in an emergency.
Family, friends, and neighbors
Of course, when you’re facing an emergency and really don’t have time to call around, your best bet might be your family, friends, and neighbors. They know you, your home, and your dog… and they might even already have a key!
If you’re in a situation where you need to find someone to look after your dog immediately, a close friend, family member, or that guy who lives down the street may be able to come to the rescue right away.
And even if they’re not able to be your long-term solution, there’s a good chance someone can step in until you’ve had a chance to make arrangements with one of your other usual choices.
Build your dog an emergency kit
Since emergencies don’t happen on a schedule, it’s a good idea to build a “go bag” for your dog. You can keep this near their travel kennel, or in another easy to find place.
This bag should contain:
- Any medication your dog regularly takes
- An airtight container of your dog’s food or cans of food (change out regularly)
- A sealed package of their favorite treats
- A leash and/or harness for your dog (use the same kind you usually use)
- Spare collar with a copy of their ID and rabies tag
- Your dog’s vet information, including your emergency vet
- A favorite toy (or a copy of their favorite toy)
- Something that smells like home, such as a blanket
- Instructions on your wishes for your dog’s care in case of emergency
Having a bag like this can make a difference for your dog in a confusing and often upsetting time. Not only will they have what they need, but whoever handles your dog’s care will have clear instructions on what to do.
And you will be able to focus on the emergency at hand, without having to worry if your dog is all right.