There are many individuals who, being avid pet enthusiasts, will gladly take their pets hither and yon. With many hotels now allowing small animals, and dog walking services abounding, this is becoming more and more of a possibility; however, should you decide this family togetherness is not for you, there are many options available.
Most pet care services also offer an option for boarding your pet, in much the same way that many childcare providers offer overnight services. For a fee your pet can live like a king in your absence! Okay, not really. But a quality boarding care service will do wonders to set your mind at ease about your pet’s well being in your absence.
To begin selecting a boarding service, first ask around. Other dog owners can often recommend a good facility, usually one they use for their own animals. A veterinarian should have some knowledge of long term care availability in the area, and can probably suggest a site that they believe would suit. A yellow page search will list dog day care services, and it will be up to you to call around and gather information pertaining to their hours of operation and whether they are willing to board your pet or not. Regardless of which method you choose, there are several key pieces of information that you should gather before leaving your dog in the care of someone else.
First, find out the qualifications of the staff. Are there professional trainers present? What about a nutritionist? Have the people who will care for your dog been trained to handle emergencies, both medical and otherwise? Is there a vet on call twenty four-seven? Anyone can claim to be qualified to watch your dog overnight, it is your responsibility to ensure that they are actually able to do what they claim. It would be wise to choose a facility that has a staff member present overnight; a great deal can happen between nine o’clock at night and six o’clock the next morning.
Next, inspect the boarding facility itself. It should be clean and well organized, with nothing present that could present a possible danger to the dogs. There should be plenty of room for the animals to run and play in a protected, fenced in area, with isolation spots for any pet that does not adapt well to the day care environment (much like with a child). Play equipment and toys should be of appropriate style for the size of dog. (Equipment meant for a small dog is not going to be very stimulating for a Great Dane). Sleeping areas should be adequate, and if the dogs are kept in cages they should be of an appropriate size to allow the dog to move around. Waste should be disposed of quickly, both inside and out.
If both the staff and facility meet your standards, it is time to look into the daily schedule for the animals. One of the greatest advantages of boarding your dog as opposed to simply leaving him (or her) at home is that they have an opportunity to play and mingle through the day with people and other dogs, maintaining or even exceeding their usual levels of activity. A day at a good boarding care center should include time for the animals to be fed and groomed, work with the trainers, play, both with the staff and on their own, and rest. If everything appears as it should be, you can probably feel secure leaving the boarding facility with your contact information and enjoying your vacation, knowing your dog is in good hands.