Choosing a pet day care and boarding facility

 Purr ’n Pooch Purr ’n Pooch Pet owners are working longer hours and commuting more. There’s less time for ball playing and fetch, but that’s not stopping them from continuing to entertain and socialize their best friends while away or at the office. The family dog is now spending most of his daytime hours at a local dog daycare program, playing with friends, swimming, running and lounging poolside.

Pet care facilities are popping up across the country due to the increased demand for services, so it’s important that you ask the right questions before leaving your pet in anyone’s care.

Staff experience is key to your pet’s successful socialization and happy visit. Inquire about the credentials of the establishment before leaving your dog in its care, and a pet care professional with many years of experience assessing animal behavior should evaluate the potential daycare client. Always ask if the employee evaluating your pet has the proper credentials to diagnose your companion’s behavior.

Here are some questions you can ask before enrolling your dog in day care:

1. Will you evaluate my dog’s personality as well as its breed and size?

The personality, behavior and size of your dog should all be evaluated, not just his breed and size. Like children, dogs have their own individual personalities and tend to gravitate to certain people and dogs during the socialization process. Knowing more about your dog will make it possible for the daycare to place your dog in a group that works best for his temperament.

2. Will my dog be supervised at all times?

Your pet’s caregiver needs to instill boundaries and supervise situations when your dog is at play in any group setting. Be sure to inquire about day care security and supervision; they are important factors when choosing a facility.

3. Will my dog play in a group right away?

Your dog should be introduced slowly to his new environment, comfortably introducing a circle of friends and becoming familiar with the surroundings on his own time. Some dogs require more time than others to develop the confidence necessary to socialize in groups. This type of introduction takes patience, understanding, and, above all, an investment in employee training and workplace safety practices. And, many dogs may benefit more by being placed in a day care with human versus dog contact. This environment will exist at a facility willing to work with your pet.

4. What type of surface will my dog play on?

Many pet care professionals believe that the safest and most hygienic surface is astro turf that is developed specifically for canines. Digging in the dirt, jumping in muddy puddles, and roaming through the grass are all favorite pup pastimes, but your dog’s day care facility should make sure that your pets still enjoy themselves without potential health hazards. The fuss of daily baths and pesticides could irritate a pet’s skin, and fleas and ticks and bacteria can lurk in grass and dirt. Play areas with turf provide immediate drainage so any liquid will wash away immediately, and its soft surface is durable yet gives dogs a comfortable, safe and clean experience when playing outdoors.

No two pets are alike and we should celebrate their uniqueness. Why set dogs up to fail with a day care that is not accurately assessing their needs or providing the ideal environment for play from the very start?