Let’s face it, our dogs are members of our family, so the decision of who takes care of them while we travel or work can be quite daunting. There is no shortage of boarding or doggy day care facilities, or even people looking to dog-sit. So, what should you look for when you’re deciding what is the best fit for your pet?

Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering a facility or service:

  • Can you walk into the facility at any time and ask for a tour?  Will the staff show you the actual rooms your pet will occupy? Being able to do this will give you better peace of mind on the actual cleanliness of the facility.

  • Do they take the time to answer your questions or do you feel rushed off the phone or out the door?

  • Look at the employees. Do they look like they enjoy being there? Are they engaging with the pets?

  • Ask what cleaning products they use. Are they safe for your pet to be around?

  • Are there vaccination requirements for pets staying there? This is critical to prevent the spread of disease or illnesses.

  • How do they screen dogs for group play? What behaviors are they looking for?

  • What do they offer if your dog is not suitable for group play?  If your dog doesn’t enjoy group play, what activities can he or she participate in?

  • What other services do they offer?

  • What kind of training does the staff receive?

  • What is their protocol for emergencies? If there is a loss of power/heat what happens?

  • How do they handle emergencies with the pet guests? What veterinarian do they use?

  • How do they handle complaints? 

  • If there are other customers in the lobby, talk to them. See what they have to say.

It is critical that you are always open and honest with a pet care facility about behavioral or medical issues your pet has. Some facilities may not board or cannot handle pets with certain medical conditions or pets who take certain medications. Make sure you understand the scope of what the facility and staff can or cannot handle.

The same level of care and questions you would ask before enrolling your child in day care are the same types of questions appropriate for ensuring your furry friend is safe and well-cared for while you are away.