Insights for Your Pet’s First Overnight Boarding Experience

A small black dog lays in a bed covered by a blue blanket with a small stuffed bear toy

When the time comes to board your pet overnight for the first time, it’s essential to ensure that both you and your furry friend are well-prepared for the experience. Whether you’re away for work, vacation, or unexpected circumstances, understanding what to expect and how to prepare can make the process smoother and less stressful for everyone involved.

Dogs, cats, and even some smaller animals like rabbits or birds, can all be boarded for ease of mind while you are away. If you’re looking to prepare your animal for pet boarding in San Rafael, we have all the information you’ll need to make the boarding process go smoothly.

When Should I Board My Pet?

Many people go out of their way to bring their pet family with them on trips, but boarding your pet might become necessary under various circumstances. Here’s when you might need to consider it:


Heading to Fiji and not sure your Alaskan Malamute will appreciate the weather? Staying at a fancy hotel that doesn’t accept your cockatiel? You’ll need to consider boarding your pet when it’s not feasible to take them along (as much as you want to!)

Business Trips

Unless you have the coolest job ever, most businesses don’t allow pets in their office spaces, same goes for when you’re sent on an important business trip. You may also want to prioritize your work so that you can get the most out of your trip without worrying about running back to the hotel room to let out Fido.

Home Renovations

When your home environment is unsafe or unsettling for your pet it’s time to consider letting them stay someplace new. Even if they’ve never been away from home before, in some circumstances, it may be less stressful to introduce them to a new environment rather than have them endure stress in a place where they usually feel comfortable.


As much as we can prepare, there may still be unexpected events that require you to be away from home. In the event of a family, health, or other emergency, you’ll need your focus to be on the task at hand. Leaving your pet with a trusted boarding facility can help give you the extra time and energy you need to deal with an emergency.

Remember: If you can, plan ahead! Busy seasons for pet boarding usually include summer, holidays, and weekends. It can be helpful to book well in advance during these times if you want to ensure a room for your pet.

Is My Pet Suited for Boarding?

Not every pet is the same, and their comfort with boarding can vary:

  • Sociable Pets: May thrive in a group boarding setting where they can interact with others. Consider if your boarding facility offers time for your pet to play and interact with other animals or humans.
  • Reserved Pets: Your pet might prefer a private setting where they can enjoy peace and quiet. If you have an animal that gets anxious or reactive around other animals always be up-front with your boarding provider so they can ensure a calm and safe boarding process for everyone.
  • Active Pets: Some species, breeds, or pet personalities flourish when they can let out some energy. A boarding facility that encourages your animal to move may help alleviate built-up stress while also providing needed exercise and playtime.

What Should I Do Before Boarding My Pet?

Preparing your pet for boarding is crucial for a positive experience. Here are some steps to do before you board your pet:

Visit the Facility

Consider a preliminary visit to the boarding facility with your pet to familiarize them with the environment. Call your boarding provider and ask if you can arrange a tour to see where your pet will be staying.

Get Vaccination and Health Records

Ensure all vaccinations are up-to-date and provide the facility with your pet’s medical history. Most boarding facilities require specific medical records and will provide you with a list to ensure you can get your pet prepared.

Pack the Essentials

  • Food and treats
  • Medication (if applicable)
  • Favorite toys or bedding
  • Any special care instructions

How Can I Make My Pet Comfortable While Boarding?

Making your pet comfortable in a new setting is essential for their well-being. Luckily there are some steps you can take prior to boarding your pet to help them be more relaxed:

Bring Familiar Items

Bring items from home like a blanket or toy to provide comfort through familiar scents.

Introduce Gradually

If possible, start with daycare or short stays to acclimatize your pet to the boarding environment.

Give Staff Detailed Instructions

Provide the boarding staff with detailed care instructions, including feeding schedules, habits, and any quirks or fears your pet may have.

Why Should I Choose Bridewell Hilltop Kennels?

Choosing the right facility is crucial for your peace of mind and your pet’s comfort. Lucky for you, there is a friendly, professional team ready to provide you with the best pet boarding in San Rafael:

Expert Care

Our experienced staff is passionate about providing the best care for your pet. We are comfortable and familiar with boarding animals of all kinds and all sizes, from guinea pigs to Great Danes!

Unique Facility Features

We offer various boarding options to suit every pet’s needs, from active social areas to calm private spaces and we make sure to provide spaces suited to your pet’s unique species needs.

A Tailored Experience

We understand every pet is unique and offer personalized care to meet their specific needs. Your pet’s personality is just as important to us as whether they bark, meow, or squeak!

Your pet’s first overnight boarding experience can be a smooth and positive venture with the right preparation and the perfect boarding facility. At Bridewell Hilltop Kennels, we’re dedicated to making your pet’s stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, ensuring they feel right at home.

Plan your pet’s first boarding experience with confidence. Visit Bridewell Hilltop Kennels online or call us at (415) 897-5471 to learn more about our services and how we can help make your pet’s stay a happy one!

Bridewell Hilltop Boarding Kennels & Cattery is dedicated exclusively to the care of dogs, cats, and small animals other than reptiles. Bridewell specializes in dog boarding, cat boarding, pet grooming and more for the areas of Novato, San Rafael and Marin County.