With the holidays just around the corner many people are starting to make travel plans to visit friends and family. When that travel means having to leave their small pet or dog at home many have feelings of guilt about doing so, particularly for those for whom their pet is a cherished member of the family. What helps ease the guilt is knowing you’ve picked the right boarding facility for your pet, so here are ten tips to help you choose wisely.
- Take a tour of the pet care facility you are considering and ask the staff questions about all of your board and care concerns. Asking questions will help you to be comfortable not only with the facility but with the people who will be caring for your dog. A staff member who rushes you through a facility tour may be a sign that the staff won’t have enough time to give your dog the attention you would. Because holiday travel involves a lot of advance planning, consider a test run by taking your dog to the facility for a few doggie daycare visits before you leave for vacation. This will give you a real sense of whether or not the boarding facility is right for your pet.
- Ask the boarding staff to describe the daily routine for dogs in their care. Dogs in boarding facilities should be allowed many opportunities to burn off excessive energy. Ask about overnight care for your pet as well.
- Look for amenities designed to relieve the stress of changing a dog’s environment — even if it’s only temporary — dogs sometimes have difficulty coping with boarding. Look for a facility like Paradise Pet Resorts that has plenty of outlets for extra energy and stimulation as well as interactions with staff who exercise the dogs and group play options for socially active dogs.
- Ask about the regimen that management and staff follows for maintaining a clean, disinfected facility. A clean environment will help ensure your dog comes home healthy and happy.
- For dogs participating in group play, ask to see the facility’s policy on staff supervision of the dogs. Dogs should not be left unattended at any time while in group play, as this can be harmful. We recommend you also ask about the types of training staff are required to complete to supervise pets in group play.
- Be sure the facility is staffed 24 hours a day. Pets should not be left alone and you want to ensure that a staff person is available in the event of an emergency.
- Ask about the staff’s training and background in animal care. Staff members who are knowledgeable in dog behavior, dog care, and even dog training helps when any problems do arise, as well-trained staff will know how to deal with issues appropriately.
- If your dog is active and social choose a facility that gives dogs maximum social interaction. Most dogs are social creatures so when they engage with people and other dogs, they often feel less stressed. If your dog does not have many opportunities for social interaction in your daily life, be sure to talk to boarding staff about your dog’s personality to ensure his or her needs for quiet or smaller group play can also be met.
- If your pet has any medical conditions, there are some questions to ask about the staff who will be responsible for administering medications:
- What training has the staff been given to administer medications.?
- Ask to meet the staff who are responsible for administering medications.
- Is the staff familiar with your dog’s specific condition? (And in an emergency ask if they know how to respond appropriately.)
- Ask how staff will handle any medical emergencies and what policies the staff will follow. Ask about the 24-hour veterinarian and/or animal hospital that the dog boarding facility will contact so that, in the event of a medical emergency, you know who will care for your pat and where your pet will be taken. We also recommend that you ask your boarding facility about how they handle emergencies to ensure your pet will receive emergency care promptly.
In the end, what everyone wants for their pet is a well run, well-maintained dog boarding facility that will care of their pet while on holiday. Knowing what to ask before you leave your dog will allow you to enjoy your time away and give your dog the outlet he or she needs to thrive until you return.