Whether it be after boarding or even surgery, we get a lot of questions when pets return home after staying with us.

We have decided to write a few of these down so you can know what to expect (or at least not be alarmed by). Here are a few of the comments/questions we get:

“Oscar is acting like he's starving! Did he get fed while he was there?”

Of course!! Your pet was either fed the food brought when he was dropped off or our high-quality dry food if none was brought with him. Occasionally, dogs and cats do not eat as much while they board, so it is “normal” for them to play catch up once they return to their homes.

At doggie daycare, (unless it is a puppy), pets are not fed lunch. Just like my 3-year old son when he gets home from school, they have usually built up a huge appetite playing all day!

Of course, it goes without saying that after a surgery or dental visit, pets are hungry because they were fasted the morning of the procedure.

"Bailey drank a whole bowl of water when she got home. Was she allowed to drink water while she was there?"

All pets have access to water during their stay. That being said, when they are here just for the day, such as for daycare or grooming, they are given water when they are walked. This is to prevent them from splashing and turning over water bowls in the cages (and getting dirty). It is also normal for pets to feel more comfortable drinking water when they return home.

"Fido was really tired and slept the entire evening after I brought him home. He seemed worn out!"

If we did our job, your pet had lots of play time and exercise while boarding or in doggie daycare and is worn out! There's so much activity in our hospital that your pet is likely over stimulated and excited. Because of this, his sleeping pattern can change in the time spent with us, and he just needs to catch up on his zzzzz’s!! I usually feel like sleeping a lot when I come home from vacation as well. Typically after a good night’s sleep, Fido feels like playing again within the next 24 hours.

“Maggie’s stool is loose. Has she been having diarrhea while there?”

First of all, if your pet was having diarrhea, the staff and doctors would have contacted you and started them on medication. That's the good thing about boarding your dog or cat at a veterinary hospital - if they develop problems, the issues are addressed immediately.

Secondly, pets often experience excitement when returning home and are often rewarded with treats. So this “excitement” leads to colitis, a common cause of loose or watery stool. Some pet owners expect it and we arrange to send them home with preventative medicine.

We take every precaution at Mckinney Animal Hospital to prevent viruses and parasites from being passed to your pet. Stalls, runs and cages are sterilized. We also require dogs to be checked every 6 months for parasites (unlike annually at most vet hospitals). This is the reason: some of the parasites we see are easily spread between dogs (Coccidia and Giardia) and are not prevented by monthly heartworm preventatives. We have staff that clean/scoop fecal material as soon as it hits the ground.

To recap, loose stool or diarrhea is not uncommon but please let us know if it continues for more than 24 hours once your pet returns home.

How do I make a reservation for my pet's boarding stay?

Reservations can be made by calling or stopping by our office anytime during regular office hours. Our office number is Mckinney Animal Hospital. One of our Client Service Representatives will be glad to assist you in making arrangements for your pet. Should your plans change and you need to cancel, please do this promptly to allow us to fill the space reserved for your pet.

What should I bring with my pets for their boarding stay?

There are a number of items you may be considering bringing along with your pet to keep them comfortable and occupied. All belongings should be clearly marked with indelible ink with your pet’s name. Here are a few tips to help you decide what to pack.

Vaccine Records

We will not be able to check your pet in until we have a copy of your pet’s most current vaccine records on file. If we don’t have a current record of your pet’s vaccines, make sure you bring them with you. If you have requested to have your records faxed to us, please call and confirm that we have received them before checking in. If your pets are not current on vaccines, we will be happy to administer vaccines while they are boarding. It should be noted however that vaccines are most effective when administered 7 – 10 days prior to exposure. If possible, it is best to have your pet vaccinated prior to their stay.


If your pet is currently taking medication, please be sure to bring an adequate supply along. Make sure you bring the medication in its original container along with specific instructions on its administration. Please advise us if the dosing has changed or if the medication will need to be refilled while your pet is staying with us. We will be happy to refill a medication, with a doctor’s approval, if the medication was originally supplied by our pharmacy. If the medication needs to be refilled by another pharmacy, you will want to have it refilled prior to check-in.


Food is included in your pet’s rate for boarding. We feed Hills Science Diet Maintenance dry food. Though we are happy to provide food for your pet, you may choose to bring your pet’s own food along for consistency. Even a small amount of stress can affect the gastrointestinal system of your pet and may result in diarrhea. This is not uncommon for “first-time” or “anxious” boarders. Should your pet experience gastrointestinal stress, we will generally modify their diet to Hills Prescription Diet i/d. This diet is specifically designed to be gentle to their GI system. If your pet is on a special diet of any type, you will want to bring your own food. We ask that you bring only the amount of food your pet is expected to eat during their stay. Your container should be clearly marked with your pet’s name, your name, and the name of the food. We will ask for specific feeding instructions when you check your pet in for their stay. Please make sure you notify us of any known food allergies.

Treats and Toys

Do your pets look forward to treats and playtime like ours do? You might want to include some in their bag. Please make sure that their name is clearly marked on all items to help prevent their loss. Here are a few tips to help you decide.

  1. Do they have a special time of day that they get their treat, or do they have to earn their treat with a trick? Let us know. We want to be as consistent as possible.
  2. Please, no rawhide chews. It’s best that you give these at home when you can closely monitor your pet.
  3. Does your pet have a favorite toy you want to bring along? Some toys can be harmful if they can be shredded, broken into pieces, or swallowed. Please make sure you choose toys that are safe for your pet.


McKinney Animal Hospital provides clean towels and blankets daily for bedding. In case of accidents in the cage, these are the easiest to keep clean. While you may bring your pet’s bed there are a few tips you should keep in mind.

  1. We want to ensure that each pet has ample room for food, water, and mobility in their kennel. We can not accept beds that are too large for the individual kennel reserved for your pet.
  2. Your pet’s bed may not be washable. We strive to keep your pet’s kennel as clean as possible. We use disinfectants daily to prevent contamination, and we have limited ability to wash stuffed or padded beds. It’s much more practical to use washable blankets and towels which we provide for every pet.

For more specific advice concerning your pet’s bedding, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help.

Does my pet have to be vaccinated if it stays in the hospital?

For the safety of all the animals in our care, we require that your pet’s vaccinations be up to date, especially if they are to stay for boarding, grooming care, daycare, or drop-off appointment in our hospital.

If your pet is not up to date on vaccinations, the doctor will determine if they are in good health and able to receive them while in our care. You will always be asked for permission prior to any vaccinations being administered to your pet.

Will you have room to board my pet for the holiday?

We are proud to have a very popular and busy kennel facility. To be sure of obtaining space during weekends and holidays remember to call well in advance. A month or two is not too far away from your desired dates. Boarding availability is on a “first-come, first-serve” basis. We fill up fast, so please call us as soon as you can!

What do you charge for boarding?

Boarding charges start the evening you check your pet in. We charge for each night’s stay. Dogs from the same family may share a kennel, however each pet is charged separately. The charges are determined by the size and weight of your pet. Your pet will stay in the largest kennel available. Larger kennel runs are typically reserved for our larger dogs, however, when room is available, we will move smaller dogs into larger runs, at no extra charge. Please call our office at (972) 548-0749 to get current pricing for boarding.

Ready for your pet's boarding stay?

Be sure to read our Vaccination Requirements several weeks in advance to allow for any necessary examinations or vaccinations.

If you have vaccination records to provide before your appointment, please email them to us at info@mckinneyanimalhospital.com.

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