What to Know About Doggie Day Care and Boarding Facilities

With the holidays approaching, many of us will be busier than ever and may be traveling to visit friends and family. If you don’t have as much time for your dog or can’t take him with you, what to do? Doggie day care can help when your cooped-up dog needs to play and socialize with other dogs. For overnight stays, a professional boarding kennel will care for your dog when pet sitters aren’t available. Since we all love our fur babies, we want to find a place where they will be safe and happy. Ask your vet, dog park friends and pet store owners for recommendations. Also, don’t forget that you can park your pooch at Dawg Gone Good’s relaxation area while you shop or dine in Nob Hill.

Doggie Day Care

With these business popping up all over, how do you know if a doggie day care facility is reputable and that your dog will be safe?  Consider the following to help you find a day care that suits the needs of your dog.

Screening: A responsible facility only accepts well-socialized dogs and will assess your dog to ensure he’s a good candidate for doggie day care. You may be asked to bring your dog for a play session so that the staff can observe his personality and energy level.

Vaccinations: To ensure the health and safety of all dogs, the day care center should ask you for proof of current vaccinations that includes rabies, distemper/parvovirus, parainfluenza  and bordetella. Your dog will also need to be parasite-free and in good general health. If you’re not asked for vaccination records, don’t leave your dog at the facility.

Cleanliness: The day care facility should be clean and relatively odor free with a good indoor ventilation system. When considering a facility, ask for a tour. If the staff is reluctant to show you around or keeps you out of certain areas, be wary.

Experience: Ask about the staff’s experience. They should be trained to administer canine CPR and handle emergencies. You’re also looking for knowledge of dog and pack behavior, discipline and positive reinforcement and sanitation.

Supervision. Dogs at a day care facility should never be left alone. A staff member should be monitoring them at all times. Look for a facility that has a staff-to-dog ratio of 15 or lower.

Safety. Your dog may be placed in a play group, either with dogs his own size or with those with compatible energy levels. The facility shouldn’t feel cramped and should have a secure outdoor area.

Boarding

When leaving your dog overnight at a kennel, follow the tips above and also consider:

Availability. During the holidays, boarding kennels can fill up quickly. Call to see if openings are available and plan to visit the kennel before you leave.

Comfort. The temperature, lighting, bedding and sleeping quarters and exercise areas should all be comfortable for your pup.

Schedule. Find out when your dog will be fed, exercised and put to bed. Let the staff know of any concerns you have. Keep in mind that boarded pets should be checked on regularly throughout the day by a staff member trained to recognize signs of distress.

Your initial impression. Listen to your gut as you form your opinion about the facility. Is everything clean and orderly? Is the staff eager to assist you? Is the business running smoothly? You can also ask for referrals and speak to other owners who have boarded their pets there.

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