Once you’ve determined that your home is suited to dog boarding there’s a pretty low threshold to getting starting. However, there may be a few dog boarding supplies you want to have on hand to make the process go smoothly.
Dog boarding supplies #1: Bowls
A lot of clients will bring their dog’s own bowls and this is something you may want to require. That said, it’s still a good idea to have some backup bowls in case they forget or if something happens to a bowl. I’ve also found that some dogs are protective of their own bowls so having bowls that don’t belong to them can help. These bowls will smell like “community bowls” so guest dogs will generally not feel as protective of them.
Dog boarding supplies #2: Bedding and blankets
Like bowls, a lot of clients will bring bedding, but you’ll want to consider where dogs can sleep. In our house, no area is off limits so we don’t provide dog-only bedding. They can sleep on the couch, the futon, the chairs, you name it. But if you aren’t as free with your furniture, it’s a good idea to have some appropriate accommodations for your guests. Don’t worry, you don’t need L.L. Bean-quality beds (although I drool like a St. Bernard whenever I see them). You can easily get inexpensive versions from K-mart, Academy, or Amazon and other affordable retailers to keep among your dog boarding supplies. Even a blanket or two on the floor will work and you may also want to stock up on blankets or towels for your furniture.
Dog boarding supplies #3: Toys
Toys are a tricky subject. In one way, it’s a no brainer that you would want to have a lot of toys on hand, and we do always have a stash of them around. But there’s also a lot to be careful of with toys:
- Possessiveness. I’ll admit, Cassie can be possessive about toys. We can have a toy lying around for months untouched. The minute another dog is interested in it, she suddenly wants to play with it. She’ll vocally tell the other dog that it’s hers and hers alone. This is true whether it really is her toy or even if another dog brings his own toys. Thankfully, she’s not mean about it – just vocal, as hounds can be.
- Destructiveness. Do not buy toys you really care about because as soon as you do, some strong-mouthed dog is going to tear it apart! We routinely have stuffing strewn around our house as dogs tear them apart, which sometimes has me ridiculously hoarding new toys. This Chuck-it ball has proven quite resistant to even the biggest, most destructive dogs.
So get some toys, but I wouldn’t spend a lot on them. Be prepared to restock on a regular basis.
Dog boarding supplies #4: Treats
It’s a good idea to have a variety of treats on hand as rewards, treats, or enticement. Beware, however, because just like people, some dogs have food allergies. Be cautious about giving dogs treats that don’t agree with them. Generally, clients will let you know in advance if their dog has an allergy. It’s also a good idea to pose that question during the meet-and-greet. Although we often have a variety of treats, we keep your basic Milk Bone treats on hand as an affordable option in our dog boarding supplies.
There are differing views on this, but I do not recommend giving dogs rawhide treats. Rawhide may not break down in a dog’s stomach the way you think it would so I just stay away from it. Other bones are not a good idea, either, since bones can splinter. Even if it’s a safe bone, bones tend to be something dogs will fight over, even the friendliest, calmest dogs. Save those for when you have no guests as a treat for your dog’s good behavior as a host.
Dog boarding supplies #5: Food
You should insist that your clients bring their own dog’s food since switching from brand to brand is not healthy for most dogs. It would also be an additional expense for you. However, I do recommend having some food on hand as back up. On more than one occasion, I’ve had a client forget to bring food or not provide enough. Sometimes, they poorly estimated how much food their dog would need. Other times, they might have to extend their dogs’ stay unexpectedly.
Dog boarding supplies #6: Cleaning supplies
Stuff happens. No matter how well potty trained a dog is, there’s always a possibility that he will have an accident in a new surrounding. Many a dog has arrived at our house and immediately peed or pooped in the house. I don’t take it personally. They are often over excited or possibly scared that their human has left. Some male dogs feel they have to mark the new home, or they may just not adapt to a new schedule as readily as we’d like. Whatever the reason, accidents are bound to happen. We have a special cleaning solution for hardwood floors along with a spray for rugs. We’ve also used special enzyme sprays to get rid of urine smells. It’s an unpleasant side of the business but one that pays to be prepared for.
Boarding dogs in your own home does not require a lot of expensive supplies. But as with any guest, it helps to be prepared. Do you have any great supplies you use with your dog or guest dogs?