Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.
Ever planned a vacation, only to realize your furry princess is smack in the middle of her heat cycle?
The dilemma is real – can you board a dog in heat? It’s like trying to juggle flaming hoops while riding a unicycle, am I right?
Not to sound dramatic, but it is a valid concern.
In this post, I’ll give you the lowdown on boarding a dog in heat, the dos and don’ts, and how to go about it smoothly.
- So, Can You Board a Dog in Heat?
- Pros of Boarding Dogs in Heat
- Cons of Boarding Dogs in Heat
- Do Kennels Take Dogs in Heat?
- What Are Your Boarding Options for a Dog in Heat?
- Questions to Ask the Kennel if Your Dog is in Heat
- Where to Find a Kennel for Dogs in Heat
- How Does a Dog's Behavior Change With Heat?
- Is Dog Boarding Stressful for Dogs?
- Challenges of Boarding a Dog in Heat and How to Minimize Them
- How to Prevent Unwanted Pregnancies in Dogs During Boarding
- How Much Does Boarding a Dog in Heat Typically Cost?
- How Do I Prepare a Dog in Heat for Boarding?
- Should You Change Your Plans if Your Dog is in Heat?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- In Conclusion: Can You Board a Dog in Heat?
So, Can You Board a Dog in Heat?
Yes, it is possible to board a dog in heat. Dogs in heat are a tad complicated to handle, I’d give you that.
However, there are many facilities out there that cater specifically to dogs who are in their prime reproductive cycle.
However, doing so isn’t as simple as dropping off your pup with a caretaker.
There is a long list of things you have to consider before you decide whether or not to board your dog who is in heat.
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Pros of Boarding Dogs in Heat
Boarding facilities that cater to dogs in heat usually have superb services.
This includes a solo suite where your female dog can stay on her own while she’s in the middle of her estrus cycle.
The isolation your dog gets in a boarding facility can help avoid unexpected AND unwanted pregnancies.
Plus, your dog will be safer in isolation since she won’t have the chance to get into fights with other doggies.
With all the hormonal changes she’s feeling, trust me when I say that she’ll want to join in a brawl if given a chance to do so.
Hence, putting her in a boarding facility where isolation is possible is a safe option for your dog in heat.
Boarding facilities are run by experts who know exactly how to care for your dog during her heat cycle.
They’ll know what precautions to take for your dog to stay calm and safe, cocooned in her space.
And if some accident happens thanks to your dog’s overactive behavior while in heat, she’ll quickly get the treatment appropriate for her situation.
Cons of Boarding Dogs in Heat
A lot of boarding facilities don’t have enough rooms to give your in-heat dog her isolation space.
Most of the time, female and male dogs are thrown in one single room for the duration of boarding.
An in-heat female dog in a room with a male dog is the perfect recipe for canine pregnancy.
Chances are male dogs won’t need a lot of persuasion from your female dog and when this happens, unwanted pregnancy will occur.
If you don’t fancy being a grandparent to young pups yet, you better be careful in choosing a boarding facility.
Do you know what pyometra is?
It’s a really serious womb infection among dogs where their tummy gets filled with pus and other yucky things.
It happens when your dog doesn’t get to release all her pee and poop regularly. A “poorly draining” womb is the perfect place for bacteria like E. coli to live in.
Dogs in heat are usually the ones more prone to this infection since they’re going through an increased need to pee.
Plus, the hormonal changes your female dog has to go through also increase her chances of getting this infection.
But wanna know what other thing increases your dog’s risk of this infection?
Being in a boarding facility.
I mean, there are many other dogs in the place that sometimes have their accidents in random spots.
If your dog gets exposed to bacteria from the other dogs’ dirt, then infection is likely to happen.
Stress and Separation Anxiety
Your dog is in heat so her hormones are constantly changing, leaving her in heightened emotional distress.
Boarding her will only increase her stress because of the new surroundings you have put her into.
Plus, she won’t know anyone in the boarding facility. She’ll be looking and craving for your presence during her heat cycle.
The new place and faces are like a huge unpleasant surprise for your dog.
She’s already going through a lot while in her heat cycle, additional stress and anxiety are already pushing it.
In-heat dogs can become too territorial.
Boarding your in-heat dog means that you’re bringing her to the company of several other doggies.
And since your dog doesn’t know any of those dogs, she’ll become more aggressive.
This aggression from boarding can even result in fights, which can be harmful both to your dog and to other pups in the place.
Do Kennels Take Dogs in Heat?
Some kennels may have separate accommodations or designated areas for dogs in heat to prevent unwanted mating, while others may not accept female dogs in heat at all.
Before you show up at their front door, be sure to check with the specific kennel you are considering and inquire about their policies regarding dogs in heat.
The bottom line is that kennel policies can differ, so please be sure to communicate openly with the staff and provide accurate information about your dog’s condition.
If a kennel does accept dogs in heat, they may have specific requirements or precautions in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all the dogs in their care.
Always plan ahead and make reservations early, especially if you know your dog will be in heat during the time you need boarding services.
This allows the kennel to make appropriate arrangements and ensures a smoother experience for both your dog and the facility.
What Are Your Boarding Options for a Dog in Heat?
In-home dog boarding
In-home dog boarding is a more cozy and homey way of boarding your pup.
In this option, your dog won’t have to go to an actual boarding facility but would instead stay with a pet sitter’s home.
If you’re fond of reading pet blogs, you’ll see that this kind of boarding is becoming famous among dog owners.
It’s because in-home dog boarding provides the same warm and homey vibe your dog gets at home.
If your dog has trouble being separated from her favorite human, this boarding option is the best one.
The pet sitter will focus on your pup during her stay and will receive the same attention and love she gets from you.
Most in-home dog boarding services don’t cater to more than one dog too. Thus, dogs who don’t socialize well with other doggies are also best suited to this kind of boarding.
Traditional dog kennels
Traditional dog kennels are these formal facilities where dog owners leave their pets for some time.
This boarding option means that your dog will be in the hands of a professional and in the company of other dogs.
The people running these facilities will take care of your dog’s basic needs like feeding, grooming and sometimes exercise too.
Choosing boarding kennels is not an easy task to do by the way. To make sure that your dog is in the hands of good people, you’ll have to do some background checks.
Check if the boarding kennel has a license so you’ll be sure that they’re operating legally.
It’s also best to choose a boarding kennel that requires dogs to be vaccinated to avoid exposing your dogs to viral diseases that other pups may carry.
Questions to Ask the Kennel if Your Dog is in Heat
Does the kennel have any experience with dogs that are in heat?
Asking the kennel if they already handled dogs who were in heat in the past is a must.
This is your simple way of knowing if the kennel has any knowledge on how to make sure your dog is in the proper hands while away from you.
Kennels that have catered to in-heat dogs before can surely handle the tricky behavior that comes with hormonal changes among doggies.
Does the kennel offer a room for in-heat dogs to stay alone?
Asking the kennel if they put in-heat dogs in isolation is also a good thing to do when scouting for the best kennel to choose.
Putting an in-heat dog in a room away from other dogs will lessen the chances of unwanted pregnancy while boarding.
And it also curves the risk for infection since you know how being in heat can increase the chance of bacterial infection among dogs.
Isolation will let your in-heat dog avoid fights with other boarding dogs too!
Where to Find a Kennel for Dogs in Heat
The best and easiest place to find a kennel for dogs in heat is on the internet.
Surfing the web for these particular kennels is easy since most kennels already have websites where online bookings are available.
Kennels with a good reputation also include pictures of their facilities online, which you can browse.
They also have staff that you can chat with if you have any questions to ask.
How Does a Dog’s Behavior Change With Heat?
Your dog’s behavior changes with heat by producing hormones.
When your dog is in heat, they’re constantly secreting hormones like estrogen.
Female dogs need estrogen to lubricate the lining of their womb when they’re in a heat cycle. It’s a “biological occurrence.”
So you can’t avoid it from happening. That’s why you’ll observe blood or yellowish discharge from your dog’s vulva while she’s in heat.
This process changes your dog’s behavior in a way that they become more cranky and more domineering.
She can be a little too friendly with male dogs too! This is her way of trying to mate, so you’ll have to be watchful if you don’t want her to get pregnant yet.
Is Dog Boarding Stressful for Dogs?
Dog boarding can be stressful for dogs with separation anxiety.
The barking from other dogs in the kennel also intensifies your dog’s anxiety since she is literally a stranger in the place.
The new surroundings can also be disorienting and overwhelming to her. Not to mention that the people who will take care of her are total strangers.
But don’t worry!
Many kennels offer superb services that ensure your dog receives enough playtime and attention to avoid a stressful stay in the facility.
You’ll just have to look for the kennel that is the right fit for your pup.
Challenges of Boarding a Dog in Heat and How to Minimize Them
Boarding a dog means she has to interact with other dogs she has never met before.
Your dog will be more territorial and hostile toward other dogs in a kennel because she knows she’s in a stranger’s territory.
These violent behaviors even increase if your dog is in heat.
In-heat dogs tend to be too friendly among uninterested male dogs, and would sometimes fight other female dogs too.
But don’t worry, there are ways to minimize this challenge.
Do a behavioral assessment on the dogs that are staying in the boarding facility.
Ask the staff there whether or not there are equally aggressive doggies that are currently boarding.
This will save your dog from any conflict with other doggies boarding in the kennel.
If the staff lets you know that all dogs in the facility are good-natured, it’s a green light for you.
Your dog is in heat and you wanna board her? Well, you’ll face the challenge that is unwanted pregnancy.
What do you expect? You are putting your in-heat dog in a place where other dogs stay as well.
Of course, there could be a high chance of unwanted pregnancy.
But don’t worry, this challenge can easily be minimized if you request the staff to separate your dog from the others.
This will ensure that no male dogs can get in contact with your dog while she’s boarding and in heat.
You can also try looking for a kennel that has a particular play area for in-heat dogs only.
If you board your dog in a kennel where staff aren’t experienced in handling in-heat dogs, accidents may happen.
You know how behavior changes constantly happen among in-heat dogs, right?
These behaviors can be overwhelming to some staff if they aren’t prepared to take care of dogs who are in that situation.
Unwanted pregnancies, dog fights, and other problems will surely arise from improper handling in a boarding facility.
Thus, to minimize these challenges, you’ll have to speak with the staff before boarding your dog.
Communicate with them and make sure that they are knowledgeable AND experienced with in-heat dogs.
Don’t board your dog in a place where she is the first in-heat dog they’ll be handling.
Boarding your dog means bringing her to a new environment she’s never been in before.
This could bring stress to your poor dog.
But you can minimize this challenge by making sure the staff in the boarding facility has a quiet room where dogs who are overwhelmed may stay for a while.
The staff should also understand the hormonal changes a dog in heat is experiencing.
This way, you will be provided by and cared for in the right ways.
How to Prevent Unwanted Pregnancies in Dogs During Boarding
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so preventing unwanted pregnancies in dogs during boarding is a must.
Let them call you paranoid, but making sure your dog won’t go home pregnant is something you should put in your mind as a dog owner.
There are many ways to do this.
The most common precaution for unwanted pregnancy is putting up a physical barrier between your in-heat dogs and male dogs.
The staff should also monitor each playtime and exercise in case a sneaky male dog takes advantage of your in-heat pup.
In fact, it could even be better if female and male dogs have separate play areas.
How Much Does Boarding a Dog in Heat Typically Cost?
The cost of boarding a dog in heat usually varies from one facility to another, depending on your dog’s size and temperament.
But generally, I’ve seen kennels rate their boarding services from $20 to $50 per night, and of course, they would charge you extra if your dog overstays with them.
But most of these kennels offer bundle packages for your pup. Food, treats, and toys are usually included in these bundles.
You have to expect these kennels to charge you more if your dog needs close attention when it comes to her behavioral issues caused by being in heat.
If I gotta be honest, you’ll have to spend more if you want your dog to be in the best boarding facility.
Though it’s better to pay money for a better boarding experience than pay the vet for any treatment your dog may need when mishandled by boarding staff, right?
How Do I Prepare a Dog in Heat for Boarding?
Make sure your dog’s vaccine is up to date
Before boarding your in-heat dog, you’ll have to be sure her vaccine is up to date.
She’ll be interacting with other dogs, and the risk of getting various diseases from them is high.
But you can minimize that if your dog has been vaccinated to protect her from viral infections she can get from other canines.
And since the staff doesn’t know your dog as you do, prepare a folder where all your dog’s medical info is compiled.
Allergies, medications, and such should be detailed so the staff would know what things your dog should avoid while boarding.
Pack your dog’s favorite comfort things
All pets have their favorite things from treats to toys.
Since you’re sending him away to a boarding facility where everything is new for him, pack some familiar things for him.
These things should be the ones that remind him of home and which bring comfort to him.
This way, your dog won’t feel too sad or disoriented once sent to the boarding facility.
Pack the blanket your dog loves sleeping on, also include the treats you give her when she does something good.
It’s also nice to pack something that has your scent in it so that your dog won’t feel too separated from you.
Should You Change Your Plans if Your Dog is in Heat?
Let’s say you have a planned vacation coming up, and you’ll have to leave your doggy behind.
But the catch is she suddenly becomes in heat a few days before your vacation. Should you change your plans then?
You see, if your dog is in heat, she’ll need all the attention she can get.
The behavioral changes and other things that come with being in heat have to be monitored to avoid unwanted pregnancy, injuries, and other health issues.
Hence, you should change your plans if your dog is in heat.
BUT don’t cancel your plans yet! I have a helpful suggestion for you.
How about you board your in-heat dog instead of changing your plans?
Boarding your dog means you get to still do your plans but your dog will have to stay in a kennel or pet sitter’s home.
Nonetheless, she’ll still get the attention and care she needs. You’ll just have to pay for the service.
A win is a win, right?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long is too long for a dog to be boarded?
You can board a dog for a couple of weeks, but more than 4 weeks and it’s already considered too long for a dog to be boarded. Some dogs who don’t socialize well and have separation anxiety may already react negatively if you let them board longer than 4 weeks.
Do dogs have to be spayed or neutered to be boarded or go to daycare?
Generally, dogs don’t have to be spayed or neutered to be boarded or go to daycare. However, some kennels require dogs of age 8 months and older to already be spayed or neutered. If you don’t want to spay or neuter your dog, you’ll just have to look for a facility that doesn’t mind it.
Are dogs more aggressive when in heat?
When your dog is in heat, she’s releasing mating hormones that affect her behaviors. This, in turn, may cause her to be more aggressive when in heat.
Can you board a dog with heartworms?
Heartworm disease is caused by parasitic worms living in dogs’ hearts, lungs, and blood vessels. Heartworm disease isn’t contagious, so your dog can’t pass it to another dog. It can only be passed through mosquito bites. However, many boarding facilities don’t accept dogs with this condition, hence dog owners can’t board a dog with heartworms most of the time.
Do dogs change after boarding?
Dogs usually change after boarding. These changes can be observed in their behavior and appetite. Some dogs don’t adapt well to boarding life, hence they tend to be more stressed during their stay. And once they get home, they’ll act differently to adjust to being back in their comfort zone.
Can a dog in heat be boarded with other female dogs?
It’s best not to let a dog in heat be boarded with other female dogs. A dog in heat may see the other female dogs as competition for a potential mate, and with her raging hormones, a fight will likely ensue.
In Conclusion: Can You Board a Dog in Heat?
Remember, when it comes to boarding a dog in heat, a dash of preparation mixed with a sprinkle of understanding goes a long way.
Your pup’s comfort and safety are top priority – whether you’re jetting off or tending to life’s curveballs.
By following the tips in this post, you’re sure to achieve that!
You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.