Navigating your pet's first boarding experience

First-Time Lodging? 6 Must-Knows for Pet Parents for a Tail-Wagging Stay!

As the holiday season approaches, there are many things to ponder. This especially rings true for pet owners who might be planning to travel. Even more, NEW traveling pet owners are faced with an even greater challenge; finding a facility that will care for their furry companions as their own.

If you are in fact traveling without your furry family this holiday season, understanding how to best navigate your pet’s first lodging experience becomes paramount. In this article, we will delve into the considerations and preparations necessary for a seamless lodging experience, allowing both pet owners and their beloved pets to enjoy the holidays with peace of mind.

Boarding Your Pet For the 1st Time: What to Expect

Boarding a.k.a. Lodging your beloved pet for the first time can be an emotional experience for both you and your furry friend. Whether you’re going on a vacation, visiting family, or dealing with an emergency, ensuring a smooth lodging experience requires careful planning and consideration. From vaccinations and anxiety to feeding and playtimes, this guide will walk you through the essential aspects of lodging your pet for the first time.

1. Preparing Ahead: Vaccinations and Health Check

Before lodging your pet, it’s crucial to ensure they are up-to-date with all necessary vaccinations. Most lodging facilities, like Karnik On Black, have strict vaccination requirements to maintain a healthy environment for all guests. Ensure your pet’s vaccinations for diseases such as rabies, distemper, canine cough, and canine flu are all current. A recent health check by your veterinarian is also recommended to address any potential health concerns before their stay. Consider scheduling regular 6-month check-ups with your veterinarian to keep current on your pet’s health & well-being.

2. Managing Anxiety: Both Owner and Pet

Separation anxiety can affect both pets and their owners when lodging, especially when lodging for the first time. As an owner, it’s normal to feel anxious about leaving your pet in the care of others. Ease your worries by seeking a reputable facility with experienced staff and a positive reputation, like Karnik On Black. We also highly recommend taking a tour of the facility before leaving your pet there. This will provide you with extra peace of mind and reassurance. Beware of any facility that does not openly share the spaces where your pet will be staying & playing.

For your pet, anxiety can also be minimized by gradually acclimating them to the lodging experience. If possible, consider a trial run where you leave your pet for a shorter duration before their actual lodging stay. Bringing along their favorite blanket or toy can also help in providing comfort and familiarity during their stay. However, we suggest limiting items to no more than three for practicality and safety.

3. Feeding and Medication

Maintaining a consistent feeding schedule is essential for your pet’s well-being during their visit. Provide detailed feeding instructions to the staff, including the type of food, portion size, and any dietary restrictions. To avoid any mishaps (and to reduce owner anxiety), we at Karnik On Black ask that our pet parents pre-bag their pet’s portion sizes in ziploc sandwich bags for their stay.

If your pet requires medication, ensure that you provide clear instructions and all necessary medications in their original containers.

4. Familiar Items: Toys and Comforts of Home

One of our guests cuddling with their toy

Bringing along a couple of your pet’s favorite toys can provide a sense of security and comfort in their new environment. Familiar scents can help reduce anxiety and make their stay more comfortable. However, be prepared for the possibility that some items may get lost or damaged during their stay, so it’s best not to bring anything that’s irreplaceable.

At Karnik On Black, we ask that any items you bring are machine washable, so we can ensure everything is clean and fresh on departure day. Also, each lodging suite at Karnik On Black is thoughtfully furnished with suitable bedding options, including lamb’s wool blankets, pet cots, and elevated luxury beds, eliminating the need for clients to bring their own bulky bedding.

5. Exercise and Playtime

Three dogs playing in our outdoor daycare yards

Regular exercise and play time are essential activities for your pet’s mental and physical well-being. When looking for the perfect place for your pet, choose a facility that offers supervised play sessions and walks.

At Karnik On Black, for instance, pets who have been approved ahead of time for group daycare can socialize and play in safe and monitored environments during their entire visit. This interaction can help alleviate boredom and anxiety during their stay, keeping them active and engaged.

For pets that have not undergone our GPA (Group Play Assessment) or those who don’t prefer the company of other dogs, we also provide individual play packages designed to ensure the perfect balance between playtimes and budget.

6. Communication with the Lodging Facility

Maintaining open communication with those caring for your pet is crucial. Provide accurate emergency contact information, and make sure to notify them of any changes in your pet’s behavior, health, or medication requirements.

Many lodging facilities, including Karnik On Black, offer updates and photos of your pet during their stay upon request, helping you stay connected and reassured. As such, we encourage our pet parents to reach out to us at any time to check in on their fur babies.

At Karnik On Black, we’re committed to being completely transparent with our valued pet parents. When you stay in our Luxury Suites, you’ll enjoy exclusive access to our private pet cameras. Plus, you’ll get access to the cameras throughout our entire facility, including group daycare areas and individual play yard cameras.


Without a doubt, lodging your pet for the first time can be riddled with anxiety and uncertainty, but with careful planning and the right approach, the experience can be positive for both you and your furry companion.

By addressing vaccinations and maintaining clear lines of communication with both your veterinarian & the lodging facility you choose, you can pave the way for a successful experience without all the stress.

Remember that choosing a trusted facility will greatly contribute to your pet’s overall comfort and safety. Supported and endorsed by the local community, Karnik On Black is a family owned & operated business with an impressive 50-year history since its establishment in 1973. With half a century of service, they’ve been a staple in the community and stand as a reliable and time-tested option for pet owners, providing the peace of mind pet parents deserve for generations.

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