Your dog is an important and valued member of your family. When he first comes home (and perhaps long before), you take your time to research the best dog foods for him. You ask for veterinarian references from trusted friends and family, and when he isn’t feeling well you get a second opinion. You take him to the best trainer in town and teach him how to be the best dog he can be. So what happens when you need to travel for work or vacation and your dog needs a temporary home for a few days? Are you just going to send him to your veterinarian for boarding, to a friendly neighborhood doggy day care, or to that kennel down the street from your office? Dianna Young, owner of Stella Ruffington, a Seattle dog boarding and doggie day care facility provides the following helpful tips for choosing a safe and professional boarding facility for your best friend.
Ask friends and family if they can recommend a boarding facility
People we know and trust are the best sources for finding any important product or service, and the facility you send your dog to should be no exception. Ask them how often they’ve boarded there, what they like about the facility – and whether they’ve ever had a negative experience there. Ask them about any other facilities they’ve used that they did not like.
Decide what type of facility is right for your dog
There are various types of boarding facilities; some offer only individual walks two or three times a day, others offer group settings. Do you want your dog to be able to play with others while he is boarding? Or is he a little antisocial and would prefer to be in a den of his own with private walks and play times? Do you want him to have his own den and belongings or do you prefer an open plan environment? Does your dog need a quiet room? These are the factors you must keep in mind when deciding on the best boarding facility for your best friend.
Visit the Boarding Facility in Person
Pay an in-person visit to the boarding facility. It’s very important for your peace of mind to see where your dog will play and sleep and to meet some of the people who will be looking after him for you. Ask them to give you a tour. If they refuse, strike them off your list immediately. Ask questions about their day-to-day operations, how they handle dog emergencies and whether they can handle any special needs your dog may have. Observe staff interactions with dogs, other clients and even each other.
Consider add-on services such as grooming
If you are leaving your dog for an extended period of time, you should think about arranging for him to receive some extra special attention. Even at the best facilities, long-term stays can be difficult for certain dogs, especially if they get bored or need a lot of one-on-one contact with people. These extra touches can help your pup feel less anxious with a change in their environment and daily routine. They’ll have a better stay and you’ll feel better about it.
Schedule an overnight stay before leaving town
Many reputable boarding facilities will require a temperament test or evaluation before a dog boards, especially those who offer group play. Ideally, you should take your dog to spend the day (or even an overnight stay) at least once before you leave on your trip. This will allow you to experience the services and competence of the facility before you are far from home. It may also help ease any separation anxiety your dog may experience.
Make certain to have your dog’s vaccines updated
Remember that your dog will be exposed to many other dogs and that even the cleanest and most well-maintained facility cannot prevent every possible virus or bacteria that your dog could pick up. Make sure you know which vaccines are required at your chosen kennel and that your dog is completely up-to-date. Your dog should also be protected by your chosen brand of flea, tick and heartworm protection. As a precaution, you should get your dog vaccinated as early as possible before you leave town; a safe bet is 48 to 72 hours.
Notify the staff regarding your dog’s special needs
Don’t consider the staff to read your mind. Every dog is different! If he requires medications during his stay, make sure to give your chosen facility clear, written instructions. If your dog is allergic to anything – tell them! If she has a tendency to get a UTI or has occasional seizures – let them know!
Doing some advance research into the organization and people who will look after your beloved dog will help you feel more comfortable leaving him during your travels. Ask as many questions about a facility’s experience and operations as you can and plan ahead. Don’t leave this important task to the last minute or as the result of a sudden emergency.
As you have read, it takes effort to make sure that you have satisfied yourself about every detail of your dog’s care. But remember, the goal is for you and your dog to go and have separate, but equally enjoyable vacations. For those looking for a dog boarding facility in Seattle, contact Stella Ruffington. They provide expert dog boarding, daycare, grooming and training services to clients in Seattle and the surrounding area. Staffed by expert professionals at all times, they provide a fun, healthy environment for your dog while staying there.