Anytime you travel, making sure your pets are well cared for is a high priority. Our top recommendation is always a pet sitter that will spend the night with the fur kids. But that doesn’t always work for every family. Sometimes boarding is necessary. So, we want to offer these guidelines for choosing a facility with which you can be happy.
- The smell- There should be no smell of dog, feces, or urine when you walk through the door. Those smells indicate a lack of cleanliness, ventilation, understaffing, and a disregard for the health of the boarding dogs.
- The temperature- The temperature inside should be comfortable and on the coolish side. Dogs can’t sweat and can only cool themselves by panting. Panting allows cooling by evaporation which means body water loss. A boarding dog is at the mercy of attentive attendants to ensure adequate water. A cooler environment will maintain a better body water balance during the stay if water isn’t checked regularly by the boarding staff.
- The ventilation- The air should not be stuffy. Poor ventilation contributes to the air quality that promotes the “kennel cough bacteria and viruses.” Poor ventilation also compromises dogs with respiratory diseases like allergic bronchitis or other chronic airway problems.
- The staffing ratio- Don’t hesitate to ask the ratio of dogs to staff members. This will give you an idea of how much time your dog will have human interaction during her stay. A high ratio means the staff is stretched which will compromise social activity, cleanliness, and attention to your dog’s health during the stay.
- The exercise area- Ideally, choose a facility that has a large outside, secure enclosure so your dog can enjoy the sun and fresh air. Ask how frequently your dog will be allowed to exercise and play with other boarders. If an outside area is not available, ask to see the inside area to check its adequacy for play and exercise. Ask if they walk the dogs outside the facility and what security measures they use to ensure your dog doesn’t get loose during the walk.
- The vaccine requirements- By its very nature, boarding brings dogs from all over together in a closed environment with no knowledge of possible exposure to contagious diseases. In our area, wildlife in the backyard is a major way that our dogs are exposed to distemper and parvovirus. A wildlife exposed, unvaccinated boarding dog could bring those viruses to a boarding facility. Make sure the facility requires proof of current vaccinations for all boarders.
- The feeding utensils- Make sure the boarding facility uses stainless steel food and water bowls. Bring your own, if they don’t. Also, ask how the utensils are cleaned and how frequently. It is a good idea to provide your dog’s own food as a change could result in digestive upset causing vomiting and diarrhea.
Choose your boarding facility wisely so you can enjoy worry-free travel away from your dog.