Holiday Pet Boarding: Tidings of Comfort and Joy (by Lacey Vance of Hounds’ Hideaway)

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This month, we are excited to spotlight Tukabear Treats’ Newest Stockist, Hounds’ Hideaway! Hounds’ Hideaway is the newest premiere boarding, grooming, spa & training facility servicing dogs & cats in Conway, Arkansas. Be sure to check them out on facebook too and tell them we sent you!


We all know the holidays are fast approaching, so we thought some helpful tips for successfully boarding your pet from the expert “Head Hooman” at Hounds’ Hideaway, Lacey Vance, would be appropriate…



I live for the parts of holidays that involve drinking cider, shopping online in my pajamas, and getting my dogs’ pictures made with Santa. It’s all merry and bright until the DAYS themselves get here. Then the loathing begins. Don’t get me wrong, I love you, darling families, and I am always ecstatic to see you, but have you ever tried to stuff presents in the back of a Prius without messing up their bows? And have you ever loaded 4 dogs and all their paraphernalia in back seat of said Prius? And then crammed husband (who comments on the fact that the car now smells like dogs) into passenger seat to start a marathon sprint to see every living relative in two towns over the course of 2 days? Y’all, it’s insanity, and I get now why people choose to send their pups on a doggy vacay during these hectic times. That said, for some of us, the thought of the fur-kids being in boarding makes us go all “tis the season to be worried” and such. But before you become Clark Griswold without a Christmas bonus, give these things a try. A few pretty simple tips might make your (and your pet’s) spirits a bit brighter.


  1. SNIFF IT OUT. Seriously. Before you bid farewells, take your dog to the boarding facility and take a tour. It’s good for YOU to see the place and meet the humans, but it’s even better for your pet. Give them an opportunity to get their smell on for an hour or so, and you’ll hopefully be surprised by how well they remember the place when you take them there for the trip. If your facility won’t allow you to take a tour, go somewhere else. Period.
  2. PACK THEIR JAMMIES. Dogs are scent-driven animals, and nothing makes them feel more at ease than the smells of home. Take their blankies or beds (some pet resorts provide bedding but will usually let you bring your own, especially if you explain to them that your dog may be anxious), and pack a shirt you’ve worn (but not washed – they want to smell YOU, not your apple mango-tango detergent). You can also toss in a toy or two that they like, but don’t flip out if it’s gone missing when you pick your dog up. The human staffers are dog-watchers, not toy-watchers.
  3. GET AN EARLY START. If you take nothing else from these tips, take this one. If your dog is going to a group-play facility (where they offer dog daycare) drop your dog off as early as possible on the starting day of their trip. Two reasons for this: one, the dog who gets there first gets to “greet” any new dogs arriving for the day (which is much less intimidating than arriving at noon and being bombarded by dogs wanting to say hello). Two, playing all day equals sleeping all night. An anxious dog will probably forget about his jitters once he’s run laps around his pals all day. He’ll miss you, of course, but he’ll be ready to cozy up and crash at bedtime.
  4. CHECK YOURSELF AT THE DOOR. Listen. Dogs are basically mind readers. They can sense your happiness, sadness, anger, and then some, all on their own. If you’re leaving the casa and you’re feeling edgy about dropping your pet off at his hotel, your dog knows it, and he’s going to feel edgy too. Force yourself to be calm and assertive, so he will feel calm and assertive. AND, as tempting as it may be to baby-talk-kissy-face-ga-ga-cuddles on your way out, DON’T do it. Don’t make a fuss. If you make a big deal out of leaving, he’s going to do the same. (If you need to have a meltdown when you get back in the car, we won’t judge you)


Easier said than done, I know, but once you see these ideas in action, I think you’ll be thrilled with how well your pup takes to being on vacation. A top-notch pet resort should not only allow but encourage you to call and check on your pet, and many have webcams in their suites or play yards so you can see your pet having a great time. And just think of all the room you’ll have in your car – perhaps you’ll even arrive at the in-laws with perfectly wrapped gifts free of dog hair. Cheers and Happy Howlidays, fur-friends!

~Lacey Vance

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