By Jamie Michael
When you’re planning your vacation, you probably do like most people and do a little research. You check out the activities available, the comfort level of the hotel, and all of the amenities available to you. Most pet owners today do the same research (maybe more) when looking for a place to leave their dog while they’re away.
Pet Moms and Dads have many options available these days and the following are some things you should look for if you want the best for your pet. First, let’s discuss the options.
The vet’s office. If you board your dog at the vet, it’s likely they will spend their time indoors in a crate or run and get walks throughout the day. The upside is air conditioning: the downside is boarding your healthy dog with sick dogs. Many veterinary hospitals do not board healthy dogs for the risk of transmission of airborne illness and high-stress levels.
The typical boarding facility and there are plenty. Typically, your dog will stay in a run, usually anywhere from two feet by six feet some are larger, and some are smaller. Some are indoor/outdoor runs so your dog can have plenty of fresh air and shelter as well. Walks for bathroom privileges range from two to four times per day and some places now offer exercise time, usually limited to 30 minutes per day.
If you choose one of these two options, make sure your dog is socialized and comfortable being in a crate. Also, make certain your dog is comfortable being alone, this will ensure that your pooch doesn’t get lonely or stressed while your away. Ask if your vet or boarding facility will allow you to bring your dog’s bed and comforts from home. Some allow this, while others do not.
The “spa” type of boarding. Whenever I’ve planned a trip where I could not bring my four-legged pal, I’ve always boarded him in a “spa” type of environment where my social pooch could play and be around dogs and people while I was away. I figured if I was going on vacation then he should too. Not only did it relieve my guilt for leaving him, but he also came home well exercised and happy. After all, dogs are social creatures and prefer to be around others.
Below you’ll see a list of questions you will want to ask while researching boarding facilities. Once you have these questions answered, ask friends, neighbors, veterinarians, or anyone you trust for recommendations and even ask the place you are interviewing for other local boarding facilities. If they have a “first-class” operation they will be glad to give you names of the competition to check out.
If there is any resistance to asking the questions on the next page or viewing the facility, then you may want to find somewhere more accommodating. Use your own judgment and go with your heart because NOBODY will love your pal as much as you and only YOU know what is best for your pet.
Now, here are some things to ask when you are researching a dog daycare or dog boarding facility…
How many dogs per humans are there in any given “space” and how are these humans trained? Are they just there to “babysit” or are they proactive in asserting a safe, friendly environment where the dogs actually behave and listen to the humans?
How are the dogs interviewed for temperaments? Are they just thrown into the room with no pre-evaluation? Is there a lengthy application that asks about your dogs’ likes and dislikes, fears, etc? With an extensive bio, the folks who care for your dog will know what behavior can be expected under many circumstances.
You should be able to see where your dog is sleeping. If you cannot actually see where your dog is sleeping, question the facility.
Can you come by anytime to see the facility so you can see what goes on throughout the day without a “scheduled, prepared for” visit?
Is there a written evacuation plan in place in case of an emergency? How about a plan for medical emergencies? Many facilities have a vet or vet tech on staff to assist in minor emergencies.
Do the doors get locked at 6:00 pm with no one around until the next day?
What kind of cleaning products does the facility use? Are they animal-friendly? How often is the facility cleaned? Many folks, including veterinarians, are not comfortable with bleach as a cleaner for fear of ingestion or fumes.
How often does the communal water get changed and is it filtered water or tap water?
Are vaccinations mandatory and verified by the facility staff?
Will your dog be staying in an area with a concrete or tile floor, or do they have comfortable non-porous flooring?