Pet boarding can be an overwhelming and stressful process for you and your dog. Today, our Grand Prairie vets explain what to consider when selecting a pet boarding facility in order to find the best option for your pet.
Do Your Research
The first step you can take in finding the right boarding facility for your pet is to gather as much information as you can about as many facilities as possible. Below are a few ways you can gather information to help narrow down the perfect facility for your pet.
Online - At Home
Start with a few simple Google searches. You will be able to find all of the pet boarding services within your area and compose a list of the ones you approve of based on your initial thoughts.
Visit each facility's website, social media page etc., and if nothing jumps out at you as a deal-breaker, add them to the list of daycares that are worth finding more about.
Tour the Facilities
Reach out to each facility via email or phone call to schedule a tour of their facilities. An in-person tour will give you and your pet a chance to scope it out and get an idea of what their day would be like. It’ll also give you the opportunity to ask more detailed questions.
While you’re there, be on the lookout for:
- Safe floor surfaces
- Solid fencing: Something strong and tall enough to keep your pet contained (if applicable).
- Proper gating: A staging area for dogs to adjust before entering the play area.
- Good ventilation: Lots of windows and doors or some sort of fresh-air exchange system.
Look for References/Feedback
While looking online you should notice some reviews or feedback from previous owners who have or are currently leaving their dog in that facility's care. These comments could help you make a decision as they may note some complaints or components they lack.
Asking your friends and family who own dogs can be helpful as they may have more insight and be able to refer you to a daycare they have used.
Ask About The Staff
Let's use dogs as an example. The International Boarding and Pet Care Services Association recommend 15 dogs per 1 human ratio as a safe standard to practice. There is also some give when factoring in the breed of dog at hand. Some breeds may require more supervision due to higher activity. This can be a more important factor than it seems based on the energy level of your dog in addition to the other dogs that would be there.
The same concepts apply to cats and other pets.
The staff at the facility you choose should have experience working with and/or training your pet. The daycare itself should require or provide extra training on how to handle your pet safely in a group environment.
While most boarding facilities take extra steps to ensure they’re providing and enforcing a safe environment for every dog, they should still be prepared and capable of handling a scuffle if one were to occur.
Staff must also be trained for a medical emergency and be comfortable administering first aid if need be.
Find Out About Their Operations
How Are the Pets Grouped?
Using dogs as an example again, figure out what other animals your pet will be surrounded by. Do they group the dogs based on size and/or age? Are they separated based on their energy level, temperament and play style? Or both? This can make or break the safety of your dog, and if the division methods aren't to your liking, or if there isn't any division at all, it might be a good idea to continue your search elsewhere.
Is There Structure?
Make sure the boarding facility you select is well structured. You want your pet to be on a daily routine while they are there, but it would also be ideal for the facility to develop a schedule to help your companion adjust to the new routine.
You should also make sure that there is some structure to playtime. If playtime consists of an absolute free-for-all, your pet may not get the exercise they need and may even get injured.
Remember, selecting the right boarding facility may take time. You don't want to rush into it when your pet is the one who will be spending their time there. Take the time to ensure your pet will happy and safe when they aren't in your care.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.