Boarding dogs is an extremely difficult decision for pet owners, but sometimes it just has to be done.
Maybe you’re planning a vacation or visiting family or going away for a long spell on a work-related trip. Whatever the case may be, it is important to start your hunt for a good boarding facility early, so you’re confident that you pet will be well looked after in your absence.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind:
# 1: Get Recommendations
All dog boarding facilities are not made equal, so don’t be influenced by the pictures and promises made on a facility’s website. Ask people you know for personal recommendations instead. Your vet is another solid source of information you should tap. At the very least, check out reviews left online by other dog parents and make up a list of possible facilities carefully.
# 2: Inspect The Facilities Thoroughly
Take a tour of every facility on your list and pay special attention to things like order and cleanliness, number of attending staff at hand, the general mood of other dogs lodging there etc. If for some reason, the administrators are less than happy to show you around, scratch them off your list. Complete transparency about how your dog is going to live and be treated is of paramount concern here.
# 3: Pay Attention If No Vaccination Paperwork Is Asked For
Your pet may be healthy, but you don’t know what diseases other inmates of the facility may be carrying. If no vaccination paperwork is asked from you, it clearly means no health screening is going on at the place, and that’s definitely a red flag.
# 4: How Do They Handle Emergencies?
What happens if a dog in the facility is hurt or unwell?
# 5: Are The Living Quarters Suitable?
Boarding facilities have different accommodation plans. If your dog is not crate-trained, then those that use small cages to board dogs may not be a good idea. Find a facility where accommodations match your pet’s habits and unique needs.
# 6: What About The Outdoor Areas?
Analyze the outdoor play areas carefully. Make sure they are properly fenced-in, clean, odor-free and manned by attendants whenever dogs are out there. See that there is plenty of shade and water and place to rest.
# 7: How Often Are The Dogs Let Out?
A lot of boarding facilities let the dogs out twice a day. That may not be sufficient for your pet if he or she is used to being let out more often. Ask how long they’re allowed to go about doing their business too. Not all dogs learn to relieve themselves in just a few minutes, and given that your pet will possibly have anxiety because of the sudden change in their daily routine, you want to make sure he or she is as comfortable as possible.
# 8: What About Playgroups?
Socialization in part of the boarding experience, but you must ask how playgroups are divided. They should be segregated by size and temperament. And if your dog has a special temperament, the facility should be able to make allowances for that and not put your pet in a social situation where he or she may get triggered or be stressed.
# 9: How Do They Handle Food Requirements?
Understand how dogs are fed at the facility. If your pet has special dietary needs, that should be readily provided for or you should be able to send food, along with favorite play toys and other things at the time of check-in.
# 10: Do They Provide Report Cards?
A well-run facility promises personal care for your pet, which means they should be able to tell you how your dog did during the stay. If you don’t get a report card, or a verbal feedback at least, then you may not want to choose that facility again.