Those who frequently take trips realize just how hard it is to leave behind your little furry wonder. They are usually the life-blood that inspires, motivates and comfort us whenever we are in need and as such we want to make sure their every need is cared for when we are away. If you are going out of town for a holiday, a work trip or just a fun getaway here are some tips on locating a fun and safe place for your fur-baby to rest while you are away.
As a little dog kennel-free/crate-free retreat and as the parent of 3 little furry, fuzzy fur-babies we know what to look in a great care facility. Here are some suggestions, from our home to yours and things to consider based on our experience.
First rule of thumb, before booking any kind of daycare or overnight care at a facility is to ask for a consultation and tour. The facilitators should be accepting and interested in showing you around and asking questions about your pups behavior, dietary needs, any medical conditions and general personality and quirks. If a facility refuses to show you the space your pup will be staying during the day and/or night then move on to a different facility. Everyone should be able to view the dog area. Different locations have different rules, some may let you enter other may let you see the space from a distance; however every reputable facility will let you see what is going on behind the gate or door.
Often times pup-parents realize their dogs own habits, such as eating plants or jumping fences. While these are specific quirks that should be discussed with the facility, you will also need to inquire about actual surrounds. The surrounds will tell you so much about the care and concern the owners have for both their business and the pups staying with them. Take a look around to see if everything is both clean and secure. Ask the facilitator:
How is the indoor and outdoor dog areas set up?
How many dogs do you take at one time?
How are the dogs separated if they do not get along?
How many people are with the dogs during the day?
Where do they eliminate (go potty)?
How much space do they have to move around?
The rules of the trade vary per jurisdiction and many states or cities do not have regulations in place for daycare or overnight care so be sure to ask your facility exactly how their staff is trained to handle emergency circumstances.
How many pups are together at any given time?
What CPR or First Aid Training does the staff have?
Do they have an emergency kit?
Have they ever had an emergency where a pup had to be taken to a vet or
Does the place look clean?
How does it smell?
Is it torn-up or falling apart?
What types of cleaning products do they use?
Do they use pesticides or fertilizers for any outdoor planted areas?
Do they scoop the poop or leave it to decompose?
As an extra perk, many daycare and overnight care facilities have a groomer or doggie day s-paw on-site. Inquire about add-on charges if pups get dirty. Another popular addition are canine massages or swimming lessons. Also ask about treats that can be added to your dog’s stay package.
Most places will request that you bring food, some allow treats, be sure to check how they monitor feeding and what they require if your pup needs any special dietary needs or medication; which are often add-on’s to your cost.
Is my pup supervised during feeding?
Will my pup be fed next to other dogs?
Will my pup have access to water?
How often is the water bowl cleaned or refilled?
Many places have beds, sofas, cushion, etc. that your pup can use while they are there to sleep. However, be sure to take note as to the condition and comfort of the facilities bedding. Some may not allow you to bring your own pups bedding due to the fact that they usually become pee magnets or pups can become possessive over their own bed; this is common. Just be sure to ask:
Do all the dogs have an individual bed available if they want to sleep
Are the beds torn up or ripped?
Are the beds smelly or dirty?
How often are beds cleaned?
Above all, be an informed pup-arent. Ask friends or neighbors if they have heard of or used a great facility. Try searching on-line on Yelp or Angie’s List to read what others have said about the facility you are looking into.
Ask for a referral list of prior clients.
Check out on-line sources for testimonials.
-Yelp | Anglie’s List | Bing | Yahoo | Biznik etc.
After you have done your research and feel good about the location you have selected do not hesitate to reserve your vacation dates with a deposit. The really great places book up fast; often times people wait too long and the facility books up. Always ask for a receipt if you are making a cash payment.
Just a reminder, you get what you pay for. If you can’t afford to pay the fees for a specialty location try to get a trusted family member to take care of your pup. However, the bottom line may not be your budget, it just may be the assurance that you can really relax on vacation knowing your fur-baby is safe and happy.
(C) SI, Inc. Researched & Written by: S.R.