Vacation plans? Summer’s coming and the travel bug is among us.
Panic sets in when you realize you need to find a place for the dog.
Today, you’ll find anything from kennels with the bare essentials to luxury pet resorts, with 24-hour live cameras and VIP suites with human-size beds, concierge services and limousine transportation. You can get just about anything you want, if you’re willing to pay for it.
First consider your budget, your dog’s activity level, and any medical issues, and then check the Petsguide directory for Boarding & Day Care Facilities and Pet Sitters. Ask your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors for referrals. Your veterinarian may even offer boarding or can recommend a reputable dog sitter or pet resort. Social media sites are also full of customer reviews; take the time to check.
Here are some questions to ask, provided by Marti Marti Michalis owner of Ruff House Pet Resort, to help you find the best place for your pet:
- How long have they been in business? Look for an established business that is known in your area.
- Do they have any specialties, like small-dog play rooms, outdoor areas, cage-free sleeping, pools or suites? If you have a 5-pound Maltese, you probably don’t want him playing with large dogs or sleeping with a dog from another family. If you have a Labrador, you may want a resort with a pool.
- Do they have web cameras or daily updates for you while you are away? These benefits provide peace of mind.
- Can you schedule a tour of the facility? All pet resorts should offer tours, but remember to call first so you don’t disrupt daily routines.
- What are the vaccine requirements and how soon before boarding do they need to be done? Some require 7-21 days before drop off.
- Will your dog need temperament testing prior to boarding? Testing is usually required before dogs go into group play.
- Are their age limitations, breed restrictions, spay/neuter policies? It is common for dogs to be at least 4 months old to be allowed in boarding. Intact males and females in season are not usually accepted for group play.
- What are the costs and what is included in your dog’s stay? There is a new trend towards a la carte pricing, but you may end up paying a lot more for the same services as an “all inclusive” pet resort. Ask the per-night fee, what activities are included, and if they charge for feeding and/or medications.
- What rules and regulations may affect your dog’s stay? This could be drop-off and pick-up times, sick-dog protocol, policies for injuries caused by your dog, prepayment requirements or bathing policies.
Plan in advance, and both you and your pet can have a wonderful “vacation.”
Marti Michalis is owner of Ruff House Pet Resorts in Southern California and is a member of the International Boarding & Pet Services Association. She is a Certified Dog Trainer CPDT-KA and spends much of her time assessing dogs and helping owners with temperament testing.