If you happen to be a parent-to-a-human as well as a parent-to-a-dog, you may have already experienced the conflicting feelings associated with leaving your dependent loved one in someone else’s care — on the first day of school, perhaps, or the first time at summer camp.  Pride, for sure.  Some nervousness.  Excitement.  And, of course, anxiety.  Unfortunately, anxiety is a natural aspect of this type of temporary separation, especially on that first landmark occasion.

The staff at K9 Ranch understand this.  And so, they do everything possible to minimize or even eliminate the negative parental emotions that might be evoked by a first-time boarding experience.

You see, it’s all in the planning and preparation.  Planning and preparation — as with anything — go a long way towards eliminating anxiety and stress.  And the end result for you will very likely be a big sigh of relief and the sense of inner peace that comes from knowing your four-legged child is being taken care of in exactly the right place, by trustworthy, caring surrogate parents.

Dog-Boarding Approval — A Two-Way Street
If your dog hasn’t previously stayed at K9 Ranch, it’s highly recommended that an initial “meet and greet” be arranged.  This casual-but-scheduled visit (lasting anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours, entirely your choice) will give you and your dog an opportunity to take a look at the ranch, meet the owners and staff and any sociable guests who happen to be present, have a good sniff around (this probably applies to only your dog) and generally get a feel for the welcoming K9 Ranch atmosphere.  It will also enable ranch staff to get to know their potential new guest, and learn about his or her needs — and individual personality.  This two-way once-over will ensure that K9 Ranch plus your dog equals a perfect fit.

There’s an important additional benefit to this pre-boarding visit:  It allows dogs to form the understanding that K9 Ranch is an enjoyable temporary place to be — to associate a fun time at the ranch with an eventual return to their primary home, in their beloved parent’s care.  Experience has shown that dogs who spend some time at the ranch beforehand will feel far less separation anxiety when it comes time for their actual overnight stay than dogs who don’t.

If you’re planning to be away for an extended period — greater than one week — and therefore will need to board your dog for that longer time, it’s advisable to take advantage of the ranch’s daycare service prior to the prolonged stay.  Doing so will ensure that your four-legged child cultivates only positive and happy mental and emotional connections to K9 Ranch, and that their boarding here will be as enjoyable as possible.

What to Bring

As much as dogs are innately curious and receptive to new experiences, they are creatures of habit when it comes to their food.  To make the transition from primary home to K9 Ranch home away from home smooth and seamless, and to keep sensitive stomachs satisfied and stress-free, it’s best not to change your dog’s diet abruptly.  Parents of canine guests should therefore supply a sufficient amount of food to last the entire boarding period — including drop-off and pick-up days.  Given the pack environment, an “open bowl”/“free feeding” policy (where food is left for dogs to eat throughout the day) isn’t practical here; so feeding at the ranch takes place twice a day, at specified times.

It’s recommended that you overestimate how much your dog will eat during his or her stay, because there will undoubtedly be a greater expenditure of energy and enthusiastic burning of calories while they’re living at the ranch.  But if your dog’s food does run out, there’s no cause for panic:  K9 Ranch staff will gladly provide the ranch’s house-brand dry food (at $3 per meal) for the remainder of the boarding period.

Dogs are fed with the same care and love that you demonstrate at home and every effort is made to ensure that appetites are kept at healthy levels (the ranch’s relaxing environment and abundant physical activity work wonders in this regard).  However, there may occur times when dogs demonstrate disinterest in their food, so it’s advisable for you to also supply any special canned or raw food — or other additive enticement — that your dog particularly enjoys, so that it can be mixed into meals to encourage eating, if required.

For full details on meals at the ranch, click here.

If your dog requires medication, chances are this may be something that you, as his or her parent, are worrying about as you plan a boarding stay.  Well, worry not.  K9 Ranch staff are experts at dealing with guests who require medication — for whatever reason — and experts at following parental medical instructions to the letter.  Your dog’s health regimen will be scrupulously maintained here, whether that involves topical medications (creams, ointments, etc.) or oral (pills, vitamins, supplements, etc.).

Oral medications should be supplied in individual doses (e.g. if a dose is “half a pill,” then all pills should be split in half ahead of time) in the original prescription container labelled with your dog’s name, dosage, and the reason for the medication.  As well, all instructions should be as specific and detailed as possible so that your dog’s regimen will be followed exactly as you wish.

The ultimate goal of K9 staff is to safeguard the health and well-being of each and every guest who stays at the ranch; with the preparation and instructions of devoted dog-parents and the staff’s own diligent, loving care, this goal is always achieved.

For full details on the administering of medication at the ranch, see Medical Care.


You can cross “bedding” off your list of things to bring and/or fret about when your dog is scheduled for a boarding visit:  K9 ranch supplies raised beds as well as freshly laundered blankets.  And, given that each guest has his or her own private room, you also don’t have to be concerned that your dog’s bedding will be marked or soiled in any way by other guests.  It’s for your dog and your dog alone.

For full details on beds at the ranch, visit accommodations.

Something That Smells Like Home
Remember the kid in the Peanuts cartoons with the security blanket?  Some dogs are like that:  in need of something familiar close at paw, especially at bedtime, to give them a sense of comfort and safety.

If you think your dog might benefit from a little extra reassurance while he or she is staying at K9 Ranch, it’s a good idea to bring along an unwashed item from home — a t-shirt, perhaps, or a small blanket — whose scent will be immediately associated with home, and you.  The power of a dog’s nose is astounding, so this instantly recognizable object will exert a profound calming effect, especially on a nervous novice or fretful first-timer.  It will convey the soothing, heartening message:  this may not be home, but it’s the next best thing.


K9 Ranch supplies both food and water bowls for all guests.  The bowls used here are hygienic stainless steel so that they can be easily and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.  And they range in size to ensure that the ideal bowls are selected for your dog, whether he or she is a giant breed, a toy breed, or somewhere in-between.

In the event, however, that your dog has a special need regarding food or water bowls — for example, if elevated bowls are required, or special bowls that prevent gorging or gulping — then feel free to bring these along.

Four-legged children are no different than two-legged children:  one of the main reasons they love having their own bedroom is so that they can keep a proprietorial eye on their things!  At K9 Ranch, each guest has his or her own room, so accommodating their toys is a simple matter.  When a dog has familiar playthings nearby, the sense that this is a home away from home is heightened.  Peace and tranquility reign.

So, do indeed bring your dog’s favourite toys (two, maximum; permanently marked or somehow labelled) — with the understanding that, although ranch staff will do their utmost to return them at the conclusion of the boarding period, K9 Ranch cannot be held responsible for any damage or loss that might occur.


Some dogs sleep more restfully when they can stretch out in unrestricted freedom; some dogs prefer the extra feeling of bedtime security and calmness that a crate offers.  If your dog falls into the second category, private guest rooms at K9 Ranch can easily accommodate sleeping crates.  Just inform ranch staff beforehand of the crate’s size and the ideally proportioned room will be selected for your dog’s stay.



A fun Hollywood fact... K9 Ranch’s facility was used for the filming of the 2000 TV Movie One True Love starring David Hasselhoff (a firefighter) and Terry Farrell (a dog kennel owner). Yes we can show you where The Hoff might have stood.

Learn More about K9 Ranch History