There are several types of boarding facilities and they all operate a little differently. I would like to tell you about them and what I see as their associated pros and cons:
Veterinary Offices – I often recommend boarding at a vet’s office to individuals with senior dogs or dogs with significant health issues, given this is their area of expertise and they can immediately address a health concern… Given the nature of their industry, vets’ offices typically run a very tight ship. This means dogs do not interact with other dogs and they don’t receive a lot of time outside of their kennel because a typical vet’s office usually doesn’t have the space and vets don’t want dogs even having a chance to come in contact with another dogs’ saliva or feces. This makes sense given the nature of a veterinarian’s work with treating illness and injury…. So, the downside for some people could be is their dogs don’t receive a lot of play time with other dogs or exercise in general.
“No touch” Boarding Facilities – These facilities are very efficiently structured to house dogs with the least amount of contact involved…The dog stays in a “run” which is an indoor kennel with a doggie door to their own individual small outdoor area to go potty ….I have suggested this type of facility to individuals with dogs that have people aggression, so they can have peace of mind while away that their dog is not going to bite anyone because no one has to touch them… They can be very low cost, often these facilities charge by the weight of you dog…. The disadvantage to this type of facility is that the dog has no interactions but obviously that is why they must be there!
The Mega Boarding, Grooming and Daycare Businesses – These businesses will appear at the top of a google search and a lot of people and dogs use their services. What I like about their facilities is they will often have very appealing amenities (like a giant pool or the service to come pick up your dog from your house.) But these places typically charge high bucks for these luxury kinds of service. You can pay for services like your dog sleeping on a couch or pay by the minute your dog being petted by someone …The shortcoming to these types of places are not only the cost but they are often forced to hire people who are not qualified determining if a dog is a good fit for a particular playgroup and because of the sheer volume of dogs they often won’t remember each dogs’ quirks and behaviors.
Pet Sitter – You can have someone come by or stay in your home… I often recommend this service for those who have puppies under 4 months. The great part about this service is your dog’s schedule and environment will stay the exact same, and for a puppy, he can be let out in the middle of the night if needed…. The obvious con to this is you have someone you may not know very well coming in and out of your home while you are not there. If you choose this route just make sure to check references or hirer someone based on a referral.
The Doghouse LLC – We are primarily a training facility that also offers boarding. I believe our greatest strengths are having veteran trainers that understand dog temperaments and personalities as well as having a prior vet tech that lives on site. We feel we offer a fair balance of interactions with other dogs and since we are smaller we are better suited for your individual dog’s attention. We don’t have the ability to offer the flexibility other large facilities have and like all other facilities we can legally only operate between sunrise and sunset.
I know it is difficult and you are never completely comfortable boarding your dog somewhere … But by knowing your options you can make your best decision and most comfortable choice.
My purpose for this blog was to educate our pet clients on all the options they have available to them. Our priority is always the best interest of your dog and we will help answer any questions you might have when picking the best boarding option for not only you but also your pet. .. My wife and I can relate, it was similar to when we were selecting a daycare for our toddler. We didn’t care how fancy the web page was or what the secretary sounded like over the phone. We toured many facilities and chose the one that we felt was the best combination of the environment’s ambiance, the professionalism of the staff, the cleanliness of the building, how the other kids looked and were acting and most of all, the comfort/trust we felt being there.
Please be aware, with our facility, and ALL boarding facilities there still are certain risk for you to understand when boarding your pet.
- Many facilities in Florida are indoor A/C buildings, so it could smell like dog
- If dogs are playing with each other there always exists a risk of bumps and bruises no matter how controlled the playgroups
- Dogs, like kids, spread germs and even dogs that have been vaccinated could pick up something even in the cleanest facilities
We personally at The Doghouse do everything in our control to keep your dog safe and healthy during their boarding visit with us. Even with the best intentions and preventions, keep in mind using the same analogy as we do when we send our kids off to school, that there’s always the risk they could come home with a skinned knee or the sniffles.
Here are some of the highlighted actions we take to keep dogs healthy and happy but at the same time balance the time they exercise and interact with other dogs. This is how we operate our boarding facility and the standard procedures we have in place.
- Our trainers are the only people who make playgroups
- Water bowls are cleaned every morning
- Kennels are cleaned every morning
- 95% of the dogs boarded have been previously trained by us
- Dogs are let out at least 4 times a day
- Yards are sanitized multiple times a day
- Sam is a prior vet tech who lives on site
- We look over dogs twice a day for any health concerns
- We do not feed directly before or after playing (to reduce the chance of bloat)
- We leash walk dogs in and out of kennels to keep a structured calm environmen
- We are very selective on who we hire and their training process