The first thing you need to consider is which available option best suits your pet’s lifestyle. Some companies offer a sitter that will come to your house for walking, feedings and social time. This may be the better option for cats and senior dogs, who are generally happier in their own environment. The only downside to this is that the pets are spending a fair bit of time unsupervised. Some companies offer boarding in a staff members house, which may be better for your pet if they find a kennel type situation too stressful. The third option is kennels and daycares. This is a great option for healthy, active dogs! They will get tons of socialization and exercise, and come home tired! It’s a win-win!
What will your pet be doing with their day? Do they get walks? Do they get play time with other pets? Is there an opportunity to swim, play ball, etc. If you have a healthy active dog, you are likely going to want to board them somewhere where they will receive a lot of physical exercise. Whereas if your dog is on the older side, perhaps they would enjoy a calmer, social experience.
Do the pets spend the majority of the day inside or outside? Would your dog prefer to play with other dogs inside, out of the elements, or, do you have a dog that would prefer to be outside bushwhacking and wrestling.
What are the prerequisites to attend? Does your pet need to be fully vaccinated, including Bordatella (kennel cough)? Does your pet need a negative fecal parasite test? Do they need to be on flea prevention. Although these requirements may seem a little much, you will know at these facilities that only animals in good health with be attending, which decreases the risk of your pet picking something up.
Do you and your pet need to complete a “Meet and Greet” or behavioral assessment before being accepted into the program? This is what is considered the “gold standard” in daycare, as this gives the staff the opportunity to observe your dog interacting with other dogs and people and helps to ensure that only “socially healthy” dogs are allowed to attend. Although anytime you have multiple dogs together, discrepancies can arise, having only socially sound dogs attend decreases the chance of any altercations.
What happens in the event that your pet gets sick, injured or has a medical emergency while staying at the kennel? Do they have a DVM they work closely with? Do they have staff trained in Pet First Aid? Do you sign a medical waiver about your treatment wishes?
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