Breeding, Facility Management

6 Dog Sitting Tips to Leave Your Kennel Safely

Everyone occasionally needs a little time away. Whether you’re gone for a weekend or a couple of weeks, having a plan in place for your kennel will ensure things are taken care of so you can kick back relax and know your animals are in good hands.


Always designate one person to be in charge in your absence. Make sure everyone helping out knows the “Go To” person responsible for treatment and managing issues. Your “Go To” person needs to know all current issues, how to handle issues that may arise and have the authority to make decisions.

Write It Down

We often have more than one person feeding, filling water dishes and doing general care and cleaning. Each person needs written instructions and the instructions need to be posted in the kennel. Include location of medications, extra food and anything they may need. If something isn’t right they need to contact the “Go To” person so make sure to have their contact information visible and easy to find.

Written instructions for prescribed medication should include specific instructions for dose and how and when to use. You need a list of any current animals of concern to you or under treatment. Your USDA kennel medication form will cover medication and dosage.

It is best if one person is designated to manage preventive care and current therapy being given.

When it comes to leaving specific notes about animals, I suggest using clothes pins and 3×5 index cards that get clipped to the pen or use a card holder that easily attaches to the cage. Notecards are easy to reference and identify. If it’s in a notebook it’s harder to keep track of what needs to be done and often gets skipped.

Make Sure Puppies Get Extra Attention

Puppies are the first to suffer from lack of attention to details. The number one reason we lose puppies is dehydration so be sure you have electrolytes such as Breeder’s Edge Puppy Lyte on hand. Whoever you leave in charge of puppies should know what to do if a puppy stops eating or is not looking right! If they aren’t eating, readily available electrolytes and what to hand feed will ease stress and prevent emergencies. Again, make sure any problems are written down on a notepad and then reported to the designated person you have left in charge.

Be sure the “Go To” person has available on site prevention for: parasites, coughs, vaccines and always have electrolytes available.

Have a Plan for Adult Dog Issues

Kennel sitters will watch for any adult dog issues that come up. Your “Go To” person can be contacted if care is needed.

  • Health issues: Leave detailed notes on current treatments that are on-going and a list of all moms.
  • Nursing moms: Leave notes about each mom clipped to her pen. For example: she’s a good mom easy going, does not like to be disturbed when nursing, etc.
  • You know and will mark who may come into heat. If a heat cycle is noted your helpers need to call the “Go To” person to handle this.

Pregnant Dogs

For pregnant dogs that are due to whelp, designate a person to handle this and make sure everyone knows how to get in touch with that individual. Make sure all of the supplies needed are readily available and they are trained on how and when to use them.

Again when it comes to leaving notes about animals, I suggest using clothes pins and 3×5 index cards and clip to pen or use a card holder. Clearly mark pregnant moms, who they are and how far along (30 days or 45 days). People always keep a closer eye on close-up moms.

Call Your Veterinarian

Let your veterinarian know that you will be out of town and if there are any issues, you have instructed your kennel sitters to bring them to the clinic! Let your vet know when you will return and reassure them that you will take care of bill when you return. Give your vet office the name of the “Go To” person you have put in charge so they know who to contact when the animal is ready to return to the kennel. We don’t want animals boarding until you return.

Be prepared and you will never have an emergency. A little planning and lots of communication makes for a successful and positive kennel sitting experience and a comfortable and relaxing vacation for you.

If you need help or have more dog kennel questions, call us at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Donald Bramlage, DVM

Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, practiced veterinary medicine for 30+ years and is known for his work in managing parvovirus. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1985. He served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.