HOW TO FIND THE BEST BOARDING FACILITIY FOR YOUR DOG
If you are heading on a vacation and you can’t bring your dog with you, there are numerous kennels (I hate that word) and boarding facilities (I like this one better) where you can place your dog while you’re away. Of course, it is always difficult to leave your loved one, so you want to make sure that you feel comfortable wherever you decide to take him or her. I have provided some tips for finding that ‘home’ away from your dog’s real home.
I always start my search of any product, doctor or vet, by asking my friends. In this case, ask your dog park friends or anyone who has a dog if they have any recommendations for a place to board your dog. I always like to hear from someone who I actually know about their dog’s experience.
Do a search on the internet and call the facility. Many boarding facilities will have reviews written about them on Yelp and/or Google. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few places, contact them and ask about taking a tour to see where the dogs sleep, stay, and play.
SET UP A TIME TO TOUR THE FACILITY
Take a tour and note the cleanliness, the smell and the staff that work there. Ask to see the play area, the food storage area, and where your dog would sleep. Observe the dogs and note if they seem comfortable and happy. Do they have easy access to food and water? Where do they sleep? Ask questions and also take note of the security of the facility in order to prevent pets from escaping.
INTERVIEW THE STAFF
Here are some possible questions to ask the staff: How much play time do the dogs have throughout the day? Where do they go to the bathroom? What is the feeding schedule? Does the staff know how to administer medications? Is there an on-site staff 24/7? Is it climate controlled? What are the procedures for emergencies? What can you bring for your dog?
EACH DOG HAS ITS OWN SET OF RULES
If your dog is more comfortable around other dogs and likes to play, ask about an option for a ‘play date’ with the other dogs. See if they will schedule it ahead of time. Or, conversely, maybe your dog isn’t that social; then, you want to be sure that only the staff plays with him or her.
DROP THE DOG OFF A DAY AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
You may want to drop your dog off a day or two before you leave, so you can truly assess how your dog feels in the facility. And, when he or she sees you visit, it can decrease both you and your dog’s stress level.
After the dog’s initial stay, you can see how he or she behaves. Is he tired? Is he forgetting all his commands? Has he been eating? It’s not unusual for your dog to be tired and/or a little hungrier than usual. Changes in routine and exercise can bring about some body changes.
However, if your dog seems nervous or unhappy and just not himself, it might not be the place for him or her. Only you can judge where you think your dog will be happy; but have faith, your dog will adjust. Go on that vacation and trust your instincts. More often than not, your dog is in good hands.
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