While many dogs enjoy their stays in boarding kennels like Penfield Kennels & Cattery, this can be a stressful experience for some pets, especially if they've never stayed away from home before. Kennels may encourage you to take in some familiar things to make your dog feel more comfortable, such as a couple of toys, a blanket and even a basket or bed. Many also allow you to provide your own food. This has some advantages, and may help your dog settle in for a more comfortable stay.

What are the Advantages of Using Your Own Dog Food?

Kennels typically provide food for their doggy guests, and some even have a range of choices. If your dog doesn't mind what kind of food it eats, you may well opt for the kennel's menu. However, there are times when it might be better to provide your own food:

  • Dogs, like humans, may get stomach upsets when they change diet. If they have digestion problems in kennels, they'll be miserable and may stop eating properly. This can be distressing for them and for you when you pick them up.
  • If you think your pet will be anxious when it boards, familiar food may help it settle down. If a dog is unhappy, it may refuse to eat a brand of dog food that it isn't used to; its familiar brand may make it feel a little better.
  • Fussy eaters may simply refuse to eat kennel food. If you're fairly sure your dog will turn up its nose at an unfamiliar brand, take in its regular dog food, so you don't have to worry about it eating.
  • If your dog is on a special diet, it may be easier and cheaper to provide food yourself. Some kennels can cater for special diets, but this may add to the cost of boarding.

Warning: Don't assume that providing your own food will reduce boarding costs. Most kennels include food in their overall charges, whether you use it or not. In some cases, boarding kennels may add a handling charge, if they have to use food that you provide.

Will the Kennels Feed Your Dog the Right Food?

If you supply your own dog food, you have to trust that the kennels will feed it to your dog. Talk to them before you book to see how they feel about using your food. If they're used to using owners' supplies and seem positive about it, it shouldn't be an issue. Make sure to check what they need from you before you take the food in. For example, the kennels may ask you to do the following:

  • Label dog food cans, bags or containers with your dog's name.
  • Use disposable containers (if you aren't providing cans) rather than containers that you'll want back.
  • Provide detailed feeding instructions, such as usual feeding times and amounts.

Tip: It's worth taking in more food than your dog should need for its stay. This gives you a cushion in case someone drops food or accidentally feeds some of your dog's food to a different pet.