Vacation Plans? Summer is here and the travel bug is among us. Panic sets in when you realize you have to find a place for the dog. The kennel business has evolved over the years and dog owners have options on where to leave their precious pups. Consider your budget, your dog’s activity level, and any medical issues. You’ll find everything from kennels with the bare essentials to luxury pet resorts, with 24 hour live cameras, VIP Suites and limousine service transportation. You’ll find just about anything you want, if you’re willing to pay for it.
Start by doing some research and asking for referrals. Your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors will know places for dog boarding. Your Veterinarian may even offer boarding or can recommend a reputable dog sitter or pet resort. The social media sites are full of customer reviews. Take the time to do your due diligence and get some of your most important questions answered.
How long have they been in business?
It‘s wise to use a well established business in your geographic area
Do they have any specialties like small dog only play rooms, cage free sleeping, pools, or suites?
If you have a Labrador that likes to swim you may want to find a resort with a pool. If you have a very small dog it is better to find a place that separates small and large dogs.
Do they have web cameras or daily updates for you while you are away?
Web cameras provide peace of mind knowing you can watch your dog at any time while away and see for yourself how he is doing.
Can you schedule a tour of the facility?
All pet resorts should offer tours, but remember, it is best to call and schedule a tour. Just dropping by can be very inconvenient for staff as they have employees allocated to handle dogs feeding, medication, play groups and cannot stop what they are doing, outside of tour hours, to show you around.
What are the vaccine requirements and when do they need to be done?
Not all boarding facilities have the same vaccine requirements. Some require 7-21 days before drop off or need fecal tests and flea medication. Make sure to check requirements first.
Will your dog need a temperament test for group play prior to boarding?
It is required for dogs to be tested first before going into group play. Usually regular day care dogs are given first priority for boarding because they have reliable history with the resort.
Are there age limitations, breed restrictions, spay/neuter policies?
It is common for dogs to be at least 4 months old to be allowed in boarding. Intact males and females in season are not usually accepted for group play.
What are the costs and what is included in your dogs stay?
There is a new trend towards a la carte pricing. You may end up paying a lot more if you choose a la carte pricing instead of an “all inclusive” pet resort. Ask the per night fee, what activities are included, and if they charge for feeding and/or medications.
Do they offer multiple dog discounts?
Not all places offer discounts for multiple dog families. If they do it is usually required that the dogs sleep together in the same suite or kennel. In recent years the discounts have started to dwindle and most resorts have the same price regardless of your dogs size or number of dogs.
What rules and regulations does the business have in place that may affect your dogs stay?
This could be drop-off and pick-up times, sick dog policies, injuries caused by your dog, prepayment requirements, holiday fees or bathing policies.
Choose a resort that fits your dogs needs and develop a working relationship with you. They will get to know your dogs habits and be able to provide you with consistent feedback. Good luck with your search and I hope you chose a happy and safe place for your dog.