Top 3 Things You Should Ask Before Boarding Your Dog

Jan 22, 2020 | Personal Insurance

There are more than 5,000 privately owned daycare in the country, and most of these daycares don’t have strict policies. That’s why choosing the right daycare to board your beloved pet is a must. Here are the top 3 things you should ask before boarding your dog:

Ask for a tour of the boarding facility

It’s always your best option to look around the whole facility before boarding your dog.  Of course, you can’t just leave your beloved pet without knowing that they will stay in a safe, clean and secure place, right?  

A good daycare with nothing to hide can be easily checked at any time. So keep in mind, if you ask for a tour inside the facility and they instantly agree, that’s a good sign that they are proud of their business and always prepared to show off. Check if the daycare has floor-to-ceiling walls.  This is to prevent any airborne deceases to spread. Kennel Cough is so common in many daycares, it’s just like the common cold to us humans. So imagine how your dog can easily get sick if a daycare doesn’t have proper ventilation. Also, check if their outdoor area is highly fenced. The fence should be a minimum of 6-feet or higher, as recommended by IBPSA Facility Guidelines. To prevent digging, the fence should continue to the ground with no gaps. It also has to be a barricade-style to avoid pets from climbing and accidental escape. Just like what happened this year,  February 2019 in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee. A 7-year-old dog escaped from daycare and ran across the street. Good thing another client from the Daycare found the missing dog laying around the grass in the nearby highway. Accidents like this can be prevented if the security was tight enough.

Checking for the cleanliness of the facilities is a must too. Make sure to look for any signs of negligence like uncollected dog waste on the ground or unorganized toys scattered everywhere. Look into each kennel. Are they clean enough to pass your standards? Those things can make you easily determine if you can entrust them with your dog.  Also, having proper ventilation is important: air-conditioning during summer and heated room during winter. Some may say that these are rule-of-thumb and not needed for inspection but we’re talking about the lives of pets here, so precaution is a must. Every year, hundreds of dogs die due to heatstroke, especially during summer. 

Rules, Extra Charges, Food and Health Care

How are the dogs identified? Do they put collars or name tags on the kennels? You can easily identify your pet from other dogs but how about the employees who will take care of your pet. If there are more than 10 dogs of the same breed, it will be so hard for them to identify each. So make sure the daycare has a strict policy about the name tagging because you certainly don’t want to pay extra for your dog’s activities while someone just mistakenly gave that service to a dog that just looks like yours. And this thing really happens. So when you take a tour inside the facilities, be vigilant to check the kennels. How many dogs are inside each kennel and mind the name tags. 

Knowing their rate and inclusions is important. When they say their rate per day is $ 35, ask what are the inclusions. Because normally every service like bath, activities, medication, and food are not included. These are extras that need to be paid separately. Here’s a tip for you to know if you can trust a daycare: a good daycare suggests for you to bring your own pet’s food. Because ideally, this will help your pup to at least easily adjust. Imagine leaving your pet to strangers and totally different surroundings. So it’s best to give them the same food to give them comfort and the feeling of familiarization. It’s a rare case that the daycare will not allow you to bring your own food, but if it’s the case, ask what kind of food are they giving. If your dog has a special case and needs different food, then ask them if you can bring your own.

A good daycare will require you to provide proof of your dog’s vaccination. They will also ask if your pet has been neutered or spayed by the time they’re one year old. Flea and tick problems are also big issues on a daycare. A responsible daycare should have an initial check-up to make sure each new pet-client has no fleas and ticks before boarding them. Also when it comes to medications. If your dog has medicines to take every day.  Ask if they have someone trained to give your dog the medicine and is there any vet on call 24/7 in case of emergency. Though not all daycare has its own vet on call, The Red Cross provides certification for First Aid and CPR. Being said, every daycare must have at least one certified employee available. 

Activities and Wellness

Having activities for pets on a daily basis is important. This not only helps your dog to stay preoccupied but also for them to have daily exercise. It will be a good way to release their energy. Dogs who get bored have a tendency to become hyperactive and that usually causes trouble.

And speaking of activities, not all dogs are well socialized. A good daycare must have an assessment of each pet beforehand, like checking how your dog reacts when you’re not around. Can your dog play with other breeds and sizes of dogs? Things like that. Because your pet might be nice and calm at home but they have different behavior when you are not around especially if they are new to a place. Some daycare has trained employees who can determine if your dog is ready to be boarded. Most will ask you to leave your dog for a while and observe how your dog will react. Which part of their body they hate for other people or dogs to touch.  If they can mingle with other dogs without creating chaos. If they think your dog is ready when your pet is good to go. If not, there are also some training where you can enroll your pet for proper preparation. 

One more thing is the pet’s activity schedule. What is the human-to-dog ratio?  Are they being left outside for too long? During what time? These things are so important to know.  Back in July 2017, a 4 years old French Bulldog died in a doggy daycare in Tampa due to heatstroke. The dogs were left outside until noon. After the investigation wad made, it turned out the employees didn’t follow the rules. They should have brought in the dogs inside before 11 am but didn’t do so. The poor dog was only found by 12:18 pm. It was around 109 degrees at the time! 

Wellness, on the other hand, is one of the things you should ask. If you are paying extra for bathing your dog, then ask how often they give a bath. Know as well how many dogs are there in one cage. Your dog is at a higher risk of illness with so many pets in close proximity. Other daycare says they just have 40 dogs on board but the truth is there are 200 of them inside.  

Again, not all daycare has the same standards. That’s why if they say that they have this certain amount of pets on board, check it while you are on tour. When they claim they have activities and playtime outside, look at the fence and activity area if there are really dogs playing. Check everything you need to check. Ask everything that you want to ask, it’s your right. Knowing all those things will keep your mind at ease once you leave your dog.