Pet Boarding Facility can be a home away from home for your fur buddies. But, if you choose poorly, then the boarding experience can scar your pet for life. This blog lists some factors that you need to consider when selecting the right pet boarding facility for your four-legged companion. Before that, it is important to understand the reasons why pet parents often seek out a dog boarding facility.
Why do Pet Parents Look for a Boarding Facility?
Travel plans are the usual suspects! Though pet vacations are in vogue today and pet-friendly accommodation is available almost everywhere, people do not always travel for recreational purposes alone. Sometimes, pet parents may have to travel out of town for work, social engagements, or to attend to family emergencies. Hence, they may not be able to include their pet dog in their travel plans. That is when the hunt for a pet boarding facility begins.
Another common reason for the boarder search is house shifting. Shifting is an exercise that can throw pets and parents off balance! Responsible pet parents understand that moving can make pets feel insecure and anxious. In order to provide their pet dogs with a safe and stable environment to live in until the shifting process is complete, parents look for a dog boarding facility.
Factors to Consider When Choosing
Now that we know when the services of a pet boarding facility may be sought, let us find out how to choose the right facility for dogs.
Here are some qualities a good dog boarding facility should possess:
License and Certifications
Some states in India require that boarding houses be registered with the Animal Welfare Board. The registration and license thereof are evidence that the facility is maintained as stipulated by law, it’s services are constantly monitored and certified by authorities, and can therefore be trusted. It’s always good practice to check if the pet boarding facility has obtained the relevant licenses to run such an establishment, before you put your pet child in there.
Would you go to a salon that is run by a hair stylist, or by an engineer? The answer is obvious! The same logic should be applied when you choose a pet boarding facility too!
It is safer to opt for a pet boarding facility that is run and managed by people who are experts in that field. If a dog boarding facility is run by certified canine trainers or canine behavioral analysts, you can be assured of quality services.
You can trust that their knowledge and expertise will help them provide the best possible care to your dog. These professionals may also possess deep-dive knowledge of the different dog breeds, their nutrition requirements, and how much physical and mental exercise they may need.
In fact, in India, there are institutions that even offer specialized courses for potential pet boarders. Facilities run by individuals so certified can also be looked into.
At the same time, remember education is not everything! Life teaches you more than institutions! There are many pet boarding facilities out there run by passionate pet lovers, whose years of experience as devoted pet parents or dog care givers trumps any certification. Such facilities can also be ideal for your furballs.
Ace of Space
Most breeds of dogs are bundles of unbridled energy! What they need in a home is enough space to run about and expend that energy. Naturally so, they will expect the same luxury of space at the pet boarding facility too. A good dog boarding facility is one that boasts of a reasonably large, well-maintained garden or playground, where pets can play with each other and release all their pent up energy. Facilities that make good use of the available space by erecting agility equipment for dogs or by laying a parkour course for their furry guests will score big. Parkour is an excellent physical exercise and mental stimulant for canines. Agility games help keep canine limbs strong and flexible, and their senses sharp. Any dog boarding facility that supports either or both exhibits a strong commitment to the all-round health of their canine guests, and should hence be preferred.
Also, when talking about space, it is not enough to focus only on the play area. Even the kennels or dog rooms should be spacious and well-ventilated. Make sure you visit these places in person before you make your decision.
Cleanliness and Maintenance
Needless to say, the living and play areas within the pet boarding facility should be maintained in pristine condition. Since many dogs may co-habit a dog boarding facility at any given point in time, these facilities can be breeding grounds for contagious infections and diseases. The premises should hence be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Check whether the facility uses pet-friendly cleaning and disinfecting solutions. Dog bowls used should be rinsed and sterilized often. Food should be stored and served in a clean, secure place. Also, check whether dog feces is cleared quickly by the staff and the area sterilized to prevent bad odour. Make sure the boarder provides fresh, clean, drinking water to pets at all times, and serves only high-quality food to them.
Location and Proximity
It is practical to pick a pet boarding facility that is closest to your residence. The reason being two-fold:
A. It will be easier for you to pick up and drop the pet at the facility;
B. It will be convenient to schedule a tour of the facility before you decide on availing their services.
But remember, proximity to your residence is a good-to-have quality for a boarding house, but not a must-have.
A pet boarding facility is only as good as the staff who manage it. Untrained and insensitive staff can ill-treat the canine inmates, sowing the seeds of mistrust, insecurity, and long-term behavioral disorders in the unsuspecting dogs. It is important for a pet boarding facility to sensitize their staff to the needs of their canine guests and to instruct them to handle the dogs with love, care, and compassion.
See if the staff takes pets for regular walks and closely oversees their activities during playtime. Check if the facility is properly fenced on all sides, and the staff keeps the gate closed when pets are in.
Also, it’s ideal if the dog boarding facility’s support team includes an on-call doctor. Basic medicines should be readily available in the facility itself, so that any doctor who comes in can swiftly administer it in need.
Training is an essential component of pet care. With effective training, the pet-parent bond can be strengthened. Dogs can seamlessly adapt to the life of their human companions.
If your dog is young and you are looking to put him into a pet boarding facility for a temporary period, it would do your dog a world of good if you picked a facility that offers training services as well. Check the trainer’s credentials before you proceed. Make sure the trainers use the right training tools, methods, and positive reinforcement techniques to elicit the desired response from their canine students. You may want to be a part of the training sessions to ensure that brute force and other unhealthy training practices are not employed. While training is good, what’s more important is to ensure the mental and physical health of your paw buddies.
Pet boarding has become a crazily competitive arena in current times! Every pet boarding facility is looking to somehow stand apart from their peers, by offering specialized services. For instance, many offer free pick up and drop services for their canine guests. Some others host an exclusive swimming pool for pets and frequently throw pool parties to entice guests! Many provide grooming and day-care services as addons.
We recommend that you study the service offerings closely, sample them if possible, and then arrive at a decision. Where there is a swimming pool, check whether the pool is cleaned daily and maintained well. If a dog boarding facility provides grooming services as well, verify whether professional groomers are employed and that they use the right equipment and solutions for grooming. Insist on herbal grooming solutions from reputed vendors, so as to protect your dog’s coat. Also, enquire whether pet-friendly drivers are employed where cab services are offered. Do your due diligence, and don’t bite the ‘special offers’ bait!
In summary, a pet boarding facility should combine care with caution; fuse personalized services with professionalism. The facility should put the safety and health of their canine customers above all else! As pet parents, it is your responsibility to read the ‘fine-print’, decide on what’s negotiable and what is not, and pick a dog boarding facility that is perfectly suited for your fur child. Do not take decisions in haste, consult with friends and family, and take cues from their boarding experiences as well. If required, do a trial stay, and proceed only if convinced that what you see is what you get. For hyper-sensitive pets, who are uncomfortable co-existing with many dogs, explore pet-sitting and home stay options. To know what more aspects should be checked before identifying the right boarder, read this article as well.
Remember, the decisions you take will shape your pet’s future and impact his/her behavior. So, choose the pet boarding facility just the way you will choose another home for your pets. Prioritize your pet’s interests and show them you care!