Finding the Right Dog Daycare

Finding the Right Dog Daycare

Choose dog daycare wisely

The best way to find a quality dog daycare center is through word of mouth and referrals you can trust. However, while these methods are important, you still need to tour the facility and make sure it's the best fit for your dog:

  • Is it clean?
  • Are there toys and activities for your dog?
  • Is play supervised?

Not all dog daycares are cage/kennel free. If that is the case, be sure to find out how often your dog will be out playing versus being inside a kennel.

Know the dog daycare policies
Issues may arise if your dog is in dog daycare on a regular basis. Since most dog daycare centers allow dogs to run around and interact, occasional incidents and illnesses can happen. Ask the employees:

  • What do they do if a dog appears sick?
  • Will they notify you if other dogs get kennel cough or other contagious diseases?
  • How do they prevent squabbles? (Dogs may fight over a toy or display aggression as they try to determine their place in the pack. So what does the facility do to prevent fights?)
  • How do they stop fights already in progress?
  • What will they do if your dog is injured?
  • What if they can’t reach you?
  • Is there a veterinarian they use in case of an emergency?
  • Will they take your dog to a veterinarian right away?

Protect your pet before dog daycare
Most dog daycares require participating dogs be current on immunizations (and if they don’t, I recommend finding another dog daycare). Most dog boarding facilities will require proof of current vaccinations from your veterinarian. This is for your own dog’s protection as well as the protection of other dogs. If your dog has any special health issues, be sure to inform the dog daycare center about those issues and provide any medications your pet needs to take while under their care. Besides being current on vaccines, make sure your dog is on parasite preventatives before sending him off to daycare.

Drop by and observe
Many dog daycare centers offer “dog cams.” Be sure to take advantage of these and check on your dog throughout the day to see how he’s adjusting. You can also drop by and check on your dog in person. It is preferable to go unannounced to get a real glimpse of how your pet is doing.

Trust your gut
Everyone knows when something just doesn't feel quite right. If something turns you off or gives you a bad feeling, trust your gut. Dogs can’t talk and they rely on us to keep them safe. Nowadays, there are plenty of dog daycare centers, so don’t feel like you have to choose the first place you find. The goal is to find a place where you and your dog feel comfortable. Pick a place that is a good fit for the both of you.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

10 Tips for Finding a Good Dog Boarding Facility

Lancelot and Sheba, my two Rottweilers, along with Tama and Cheetah, my cats, were the reason I looked into boarding pets and dog boarding. Can you imagine taking a 135 pound Rottweiler with a freaky Siamese to vacations even for a day? The following are my top 10 tips for finding a good dog boarding facility.

1. Make Your List And Check It Twice

Make a list of all the dog boarding facilities around, then call them and make sure they are still in business since last year’s yellow pages may not be reliable. Ask the facility if they have an opening and if they have a limitation on size. Some veterinarians accept boarding for cats and small dogs only.

2. Ask Vaccination Requirements

Dog boarding facilities should require proof of vaccination and if they don’t ask, you should just hang up and move on. Clarify exactly what type of vaccinations and what type of proof they require and make sure that you have it. Canine Kennel Cough (Bordetella) is one of the requirements.

3. Ask Who Supervises The Supervisors

Inquire about the credentials of the person in charge and how often he or she is around. A super doc who runs twenty boarding facilities cannot pay attention to all of them so she must delegate. Find out about the qualifications of the person who actually runs the facility.

4. Visual Inspection

Stop by and see if the facility looks and smells clean, has enough light and ventilation, and if the temperature is comfortable.

5. Talk To The Staff

Do they give you a warm, fuzzy feeling and show knowledge and care for the pets?

6. Running Wild

Do dogs have enough room to move inside their kennels and do they have an area to run outside? How often are the dogs taken out for a walk? (I had to pay a little extra for them to take mine for a walk twice a day.) Make sure the outdoor area is protected from wind, rain, and snow, and determine if dogs spend too much time there. This is easy in California where I live but I don’t know about Toronto in winter.

7. Comfy Cozy

Make sure that your dog has a place to lie down aside from the concrete. Sheba, my female Rottweiler would go crazy if she didn’t have a little cushion between her and the hard floor. The funny thing is that she puts her back end on top of the cushion and rests her head on the hard floor. Go figure!

8. What about Dog Food?

How often and what type of food are they given? Again, my Rottweilers have sensitive stomachs and other than a very specific brand of food, all other brands would cause them severe diarrhea. So I had to make sure that the dog boarding facility would allow me to take my food in after I found out they didn’t carry what my dogs needed.

9. What Services are Provided?

Make sure the facility has the ability and access to veterinary services and check out the luxury items such as grooming and bathing. I asked them not to bathe Sheba and Tama since it would stress them both out. I may have been too particular but I would rather keep them calm than clean.

10. Don’t Forget The Rates

Make sure you understand exactly what is offered, what is optional, and how much it will cost. Ask about the check-out time to avoid costing you an extra day.

I had a wonderful experience with the dog boarding facility I found. May you be as fortunate.

“10 Tips for Finding a Good Dog Boarding Facility”

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Do you take your dog(s) to Dog Boarding facility when you go away without your pet(s)?

Jeanne is the founder of Animal Bliss. Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada she has lived in the United States for more than 20 years now. She is deeply passionate about animals of all kinds and started this site to share that love with others.

Her own animal experience is vast, having raised and rescued Alpine Goats, Chickens, Turkeys, Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pigs, Turtles, Raccoons, Cats, Dogs, and even an Opossum and Bearded Dragon.

7 Tips to Finding a Good Dog Daycare

Posted by: Pet Palace Resort, on March 27, 2013

Let’s face it: your dog is part of your family, right? You want what’s best for him and you certainly don’t want him to suffer. What do you do, then, when he needs Doggy Day Care? You don’t want to just open the YellowPages and pick someone at random. Here are 7 tips on how to find a good dog daycare for your pet.

Ask Around
Ask your vet if she can recommend a good daycare that’s appropriate for your pet. Vets will know if a daycare has a good reputation and will especially be aware if they have a bad reputation. You can also ask friends, coworkers and neighbors. Word of mouth is the best advertisement.

Drop In
Drop in unexpectedly to see first hand how the facility and dogs are kept. If a daycare center insists you cannot drop in to check things out, take that as a warning flag and cross them off your list.

Talk To Owners And Staff
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Speak with the owners and staff of the facility. What do they do if a dog gets sick or is too aggressive? How much training does the staff have? Make sure they have a staff of highly trained professionals and veterinary technicians. Do they have emergency plans in place in case of severe weather? Any reputable daycare owners will easily and gladly answer these questions.

Use Your Senses
Does the daycare look clean and well-maintained? Is everything working? Does it smell like it is regularly sanitized? At Pet Palace we make sure all these basic standards are upheld. Also, listen to the dogs themselves. Do they sound stressed at all? You probably know the sound of a happy dog, and that’s what you should be hearing when you visit a potential daycare center for your pet.

How Are The Dogs Grouped Together?
Dogs should not be grouped together solely by size. Rather, they should be with other dogs with similar play patterns and temperaments. This will lead to less stress for the dogs and decrease the chance of injury. You should also ask how many dogs are allowed per handler, to make sure they are getting the attention and supervision they need. At no time should a group of dogs be left without a handler.

Places To Run
Your pet might prefer to lay in the sun all day, but he should still be able to exercise while he’s at daycare. Exercise keeps your dog healthy and entertained. A space to run and play is essential for a daycare center. Also, make sure your pet will always have access to fresh water.

A dog daycare that is close to work or home will make it easier for you and it is also more likely that you will use it. Depending on where you live, finding the right daycare center nearby might not be always possible, but it’s still a good thing to keep in mind. At Pet Palace, we have three convenient locations to better serve the greater Columbus area.

Choosing a Boarding Kennel

Need to go out of town? A boarding kennel can give your pet quality care—and can give you peace of mind. Before loading Fido or Fluffy into the car and driving over to the nearest kennel, though, it’s important to find the right kennel and prepare your pet for boarding.

What are the pros and cons of using a boarding kennel?

Your pet depends on you to take good care of her—even when you have to be out of town. Friends and neighbors may not have the experience or time to properly look after your pet, particularly for longer trips. So next time you have to leave your pet behind for a while, leave pet care to the professionals, such as a pet sitter or boarding kennel.

A facility specializing in care and overnight boarding allows your pet to:

  • avoid the stress of a long car or airplane ride to your destination.
  • stay where he’s welcome (unlike many hotels).
  • receive more attention and supervision than he would if home alone most of the day.
  • be monitored by staff trained to spot health problems.
  • be secure in a kennel designed to foil canine and feline escape artists.

Potential drawbacks to using a boarding kennel include:

  • the stress related to staying in an unfamiliar environment.
  • the proximity to other pets, who may expose your pet to health problems.
  • the difficulty of finding a kennel that accepts pets other than dogs and cats.
  • the inconvenience of the drive over, which can be especially hard on a pet easily stressed by car travel.

How do I find a good kennel?

Ask a friend, neighbor, veterinarian, animal shelter, or dog trainer for a recommendation. You can also check the Yellow Pages under “Kennels & Pet Boarding.” Once you have names—even ones you got from reliable sources—it’s important to do a little background check.

First, find out whether your state requires boarding kennel inspections. If it does, make sure the kennel you are considering displays a license or certificate showing that the kennel meets mandated standards.

Also ask whether the prospective kennel belongs to the American Boarding Kennels Association (719-667-1600), a trade association founded by kennel operators to promote professional standards of pet care. Besides requiring members to subscribe to a code of ethics, ABKA offers voluntary facility accreditation that indicates the facility has been inspected and meets ABKA standards of professionalism, safety, and quality of care.

Check, too, with your Better Business Bureau to see whether any complaints have been lodged against a kennel you are considering.

After selecting a few kennels, confirm that they can accommodate your pet for specific dates and can address your pet’s special needs (if any). If you’re satisfied, schedule a visit.

What should I look for?

On your visit, ask to see all the places your pet may be taken. Pay particular attention to the following:

  • Does the facility look and smell clean?
  • Is there sufficient ventilation and light?
  • Is a comfortable temperature maintained?
  • Does the staff seem knowledgeable and caring?
  • Are pets required to be current on their vaccinations, including the vaccine for canine kennel cough (Bordetella)? (Such a requirement helps protect your animal and others.)
  • Does each dog have his own adequately sized indoor-outdoor run or an indoor run and a schedule for exercise?
  • Are outdoor runs and exercise areas protected from wind, rain, and snow?
  • Are resting boards and bedding provided to allow dogs to rest off the concrete floor?
  • Are cats housed away from dogs?
  • Is there enough space for cats to move around comfortably?
  • Is there enough space between the litter box and food bowls?
  • How often are pets fed?
  • Can the owner bring a pet’s special food?
  • What veterinary services are available?
  • Are other services available such as grooming, training, bathing?
  • How are rates calculated?

How do I prepare my pet?

Be sure your pet knows basic commands and is well socialized around other people and pets if your pet has an aggression problem or is otherwise unruly, she may not be a good candidate for boarding. Before taking your animal to the kennel, make sure she is current on vaccinations.

It’s also a good idea to accustom your pet to longer kennel stays by first boarding her during a short trip, such as a weekend excursion. This allows you to work out any problems before boarding your pet for an extended period.

Before you head for the kennel, double-check that you have your pet’s medications and special food (if any), your veterinarian’s phone number, and contact information for you and a local backup.

When you arrive with your pet at the boarding facility, remind the staff about any medical or behavior problems your pet has, such as a history of epilepsy or fear of thunder. After the check-in process, hand your pet to a staff member, say good-bye, and leave. Avoid long, emotional partings, which may upset your pet. Finally, have a good trip, knowing that your pet is in good hands and will be happy to see you when you return.

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