By: Vanessa Calabria, Manager, Barking Hound Village
|photo courtesy of Barking Hound Village|
Boarding your dog at any type of dog boarding facility can be extremely stressful for both your and your pet. The summer months are some of the busiest for dog boarding facilities due to the large amount of traveling done at this time. A few simple rules can make sure that you leave your dog with the right type of dog boarding facility. This information will help make your travel time worry free and make your pet's boarding experience stress free.
What type of dog do you have? A friendly with other dogs, playful dog or and older dog who wants to sleep most of their days away? There are many types of boarding facilities out there. Some which allow play time multiple times during the day to all day play and others which only allow a couple of short individual walks outside daily. It is up to the consumer to do the leg work and to check out these facilities on their own to determine which one is the right fit for their pet.
First, call around to facilities in your area. Find out what services each one of them offers and which ones sound like the best fit for your family pet. Does the facility require the dog to be spayed or neutered? What vaccinations are required to bring your dog to board overnight? If your dog requires medications, this might be something you would inquire about too. Does the staff administer medications? If so are these services at an extra cost? Some facilities require only friendly dogs that can play well with other dogs. Other facilities have the option of being able to take dogs out individually.
Second, once you have narrowed down your search, I would recommend touring some of these facilities. The best facilities are the ones that you can just show up to, unannounced, and they take you for a tour of their entire facility. Have an open mind during these tours. Most facilities smell like dogs and not like your own home environment. Expect dogs to be barking as most of the time during your visit as these dogs are only use to the staff being in the back, not strangers. Make sure the facilities you are touring have enough staff working during your visit. A good rule of thumb is 1 staff member per 30 dogs. Make sure the place doesn’t smell of fecal matter or urine. Look around, do dogs look comfortable with water and blankets or are there a lot of messes around? You want to make sure, to the best of your ability, that the facility is doing exactly what they say they are doing. This leg work is totally up to you.
Next, once you have narrowed down a couple of facilities, bring your vaccination history into the facilities and talk to someone about boarding your pet. Tell them about any concerns you may have regarding your pet and listen to their feedback. Most places will be honest with a future customer in regards to whether or not they think the facility is a good fit for your dog. If they offer a daycare program, make a reservation for your dog to try out the facilities as a test run before you leave them for overnight boarding. This way the dog is familiar with their surroundings prior to drop off. Find out what the facilities allow in the kennel with the dog overnight. Can you bring your own bedding, bowls and treats? These questions should help you finalize a place that you feel is a comfortable match for both you and your pet.
|photo courtesy of Barking Hound Village|
Finally, make a reservation for your pet. Make sure the facility you have chosen has ALL of the information they need in regards to care of your pet. Has your dog had a history of seizures but hasn’t had them in 4 years? Maybe something you might want to mention in case something happens while you are out of town. Make sure to leave a credit card number with your vet hospital AND local emergency vet in case something happens while you are away. This is especially helpful if you are out of the country or somewhere where your availability is limited. Having a family friend in town to make decisions for you as a contact person is also very helpful.
Making sure to do your own research in regards to boarding facilities always makes for a better time while on any type of trip. Your pet will have a fun and safe environment to play while you have a relaxing trip away. It may seem like a lot of leg work prior to going away, but now you have found a facility that you can use over and over while away and feel totally comfortable with while your pet is in their care.