Overnight boarding & daycare tips
Your companion is a member of the family and you want what’s best for him. These days, there are often many choices for both daycare and overnight stays. So what should you do to ensure your furry friend will receive the care that’s right for her?
Take a Tour: This is the number one guideline to choosing a daycare or overnight boarding facility. Don’t trust just the internet; good marketing can make just about anything sound wonderful. A good daycare/overnight boarding center will have an open-door policy and welcome you to view all areas. Note the cleanliness, ventilation system, safety, comfort, overall ambiance and friendliness of caretakers and staff. Ask the ratio of caretakers to number of dogs which gives you an idea of the amount and degree of attention your pet will receive. For overnight stays, ask if each pet has his own private area or if chain link fencing or crates/cages are used.
Associations: Ask about memberships to professional associations, particularly the American Boarding Kennels Association (ABKA) where members are required to meet stringent standards to be an active member. Are they involved in local community associations, such as the Humane Society or a rescue.
Information to Ensure Quality: Ask for references. Ask what makes them a qualified daycare and/or boarding facility.
Staff: How many caretakers are available at any given time? What sort of experience and/or training have they received?
Outdoor Time/Activities/Amenities: If boarding, how many times/day is your pet let outside? Is there an indoor and outdoor area where your pup can join the fun with other canine guests? For daycare, is there ‘free play’ all day or are there other activities in addition to free play? Do the dogs have a required nap time and how long is it? Inquire as to amenities offered and what is included in the base price vs. add-on services at a cost.
Daycare Group Sizes: What is the daycare’s capacity and how strict are they on the number of dogs at any given time? What is the ratio of caretakers to the number of dogs?
Dog Sizes: Will big dogs be with small dogs or are there separate areas (both indoor and out)?
Safety: Is there a manager on site 24 hours a day or are the dogs left alone overnight? Is there a fire protection system and security system? What type of fence is used for outdoor containment? What type of flooring is in the play areas?
Special Needs: If your companion has special needs, ask who will caretaking your pet and what type of experience they have.
Make Reservations in Advance: The best facilities may reach capacity quickly, especially around holiday times so call as early as possible (even a year in advance for key holidays).
Inform the kennel/daycare: Complete all required behavior information requested so the caretakers can make your pup’s stay the best possible for her personality. Always err on giving more information than less.
Your Companion’s Comfort: For overnight stays, bring something familiar for your pet, such as a bed, blanket or toy to help them feel at home. Always supply your dog’s own food. Diet changes can prompt digestion problems and discomfort. Plus, he is always more apt to eat his own food than something new.
Comfort Your Pet: Dogs have an uncanny ability to pick up and react to your stress level so give yourself enough time to calmly transition your pet for their stay. Talk calmly and happily to your companion so he feels reassured that this is a happy place.
Go With Your Gut: Often the best gauge, recognize when something just doesn’t seem ‘quite right’. Like most things, you’ll know the right place when you see it and have the peace of mind that your furry friend is happy.