For your pet’s stay to go well, it’s not enough to select a kennel carefully; you also have to prepare your pet properly and then care for it properly after its stay.

The first step: From an early age, teach your pet to get along with other people. (Obedience training helps.) Second, make sure your pet has had all appropriate vaccinations. (Click here for ratings of area veterinarians.) Third, check your pet for ticks and other parasites. Fourth, do not feed your dog for three or four hours before going to the kennel; this will minimize the risk of indigestion.

At check-in, tell the kennel how to reach you or someone else who can make decisions about your pet. Provide the name and phone number of your vet. If your pet is taking any medications, bring an adequate supply, along with written instructions. If your pet needs a certain kind of food or other special treatment, leave written instructions and any needed supplies (and be prepared to pay extra for such special services).

Discuss any unusual health conditions or personality traits (such as climbing fences or biting), and mention any special fears (thunder, rain, or sirens, for example). Finally, don’t exhibit a lot of emotion; your pet will sense it and get even more upset than it otherwise might. If possible, leave while your pet is still in the reception area, so it will know you are gone when it is taken to its quarters.

After you pick up your pet, don’t feed it for several hours. If your dog is thirsty, give it some crushed ice. In the excitement of seeing you, a dog is likely to eat and drink too much, resulting in digestion problems.