Stress-Free Dog Boarding & Care

stress-freeIt is hard to enjoy your vacation when you haven’t secured a safe and happy place for your pet to stay. Here’s how to select a care service that will provide a positive experience for your pet.

Selecting the right kind of vacation care for your pet depends on their age, health, energy, disposition, and social skills. Happy-go-lucky, high energy, social dogs need lots of exercise and playing with companions. And a DOG CAMP where canines play together throughout the day with plenty of outdoor exercise could be the perfect place. Many small and low energy breeds can also benefit from the social interaction and mental stimulation that a camp offers. And even though a senior dog may be easier to ask a friend to care for them because of low needs, they too can find joy from the social interaction and companionship a camp environment offers. Fearful and highly anxious and dogs are least stressed when staying in their own home environment. So consider hiring a pet sitter for this group. Camps are not appropriate options for dominant (aggressive – oriented) breeds because small and large dogs intermingle. So investing the time to find a clean, well run kennel that has an active exercise program will benefit your big pooch.

For any online search result, read through the company`s website, check their 3rd party online reviews, get referrals and call and interview the owner. Ask your vet, your pet food store and people at the local dog park who they recommend.

Tips for selecting a CAMP:Definitely schedule time to visit a dog camp in person. Do they have a kennel, boarding license. Are the staff trained in dog handling? Is the outdoor play area fenced, secure and spacious enough for your dog to run, chase a ball and get tired out. The surface should be maintained. Is there fresh clean water and safe toys. Are the dogs always supervised when playing. Is the indoor space bright, clean and dog friendly. Is their natural sunlight. Where do they do their bio-business. How often do they go outside to play and for how long.   Are there places for your dog to comfortably nap and find refuge from the group. What about a shower to wash mucky dogs. How is the place heated and cooled. Is there a separate HRV that circulates the air. Note the level of tidiness and organization. Is there a separate and hygienic room where the food is stored and food bowls are washed. Does the place have a foul odour. What is the temperament of the canine guests.  Are the staff attentive to the dogs, do they seem knowledgeable in dog care and do they have pet first aid. What kind of questions do they ask about your dog: ie health status, diet, medication, vaccination records, on flea program. Do they inquire about temperament, fears, social habits and fitness level. What is their emergency protocol.

Tips for selecting a KENNEL. Definitely schedule time to visit the kennel and have a tour of the entire facility. Be wary of places that won’t provide tours because they may have something to hide. Ask to see their boarding license and check the valid date. Confirm how many kennels they have. Are the kennels large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around and stretch out fully. Is there a connected outdoor run. Are the surfaces clean of feces and urine. Is the water fresh. What is the temperature of the kennel. What do the guests sleep on. Do they offer a group outdoor play area. How much time does your dog get there each day. Alone or with compatible dogs. supervised. Whats the condition of the building, kennels and play yard.. Is the interior of building brigh, clean dog friendly. Is their natural sunlight. Whats the temperature like indoors. How is the place heated and cooled. Is there a separate HRV that circulates the air. Note the level of tidiness and organization. Is there a separate and hygienic room where the food is stored and food bowls are washed. Does the place have a foul odour. What is the temperament of the canine guests. Are the staff attentive to the dogs, do they seem knowledgeable in dog care and do they have pet first aid. What kind of questions do they ask: ie health status, diet, medication, vaccination records, and if on flea program. Did they inquire about temperament, fears, social level and fitness level. What hours do staff work. What is their emergency protocol.

Tips for selecting a PET SITTING SERVICE. Schedule an interview in your home with the potential sitter with your dog present. In the interview don’t be distracted by how much they fuss over your dog. Anyone can play friendly in front of a potential client, but you need to endeavour to find out if this person has the knowledge, skills, resources and discipline to ensure you pets basic needs will be provided for while your half way around the world. Observe how they interact with your dog are they passively taking charge – that’s a  good thing because it will instill confidence in your dog and relax them knowing the care giver is in charge.  Are they licensed or connected to an association where they upgrade their skills and learning. Are they bonded. Do they have a first aid certificate. How long have they been caring for dogs. How many dogs do they have scheduled for your vacation period. Do they have a partner, or staff as back up. Have them detail the care schedule they can offer and then discuss any specific  needs you want such as number of feedings , medicine administering, frequency  & duration of walks, etc. Will they sleep over or possibly house sit. Ask for and check their references.

Ease separation anxiety for both you and your pet.
Test the camp or kennel out with a single  overnight boarding or attending day camp if offered. For at home sitters have them provide services on a day you run errands and stay out for dinner etc. A brief period stay (test) allows you and your pet to become familiar with the place and the attendants and both find confidence you’ve made the right choice. The days prior to your departure date can affect your dogs anxiety level. If you are stressed and behaving differently, then FIDO will become stressed. If you are anxious and worried then your sensitive pal can become anxious. Do your best to not let preparations interfere with your daily regime with your pet. Provide false cues to throw them off your “vacation scent`: Take your suitcase out every so often and pack a few articles and then leave it around and go out for a walk. Put their food pail and bed by the door and put it back later while they watch. At all times don’t reward bad behaviour with attention or treats…whining, crying, jumping up. Bring your dog’s usual food, medication and bed to make him feel at home.  Provide a few emergency contacts who have confirmed they can be available if necessary. Satisfy your goodbye quotient ahead of time so you can drop them off without making a fuss and without getting your dog all worked up. At the boarding facility complete your check in duties calmly and then hand over the leash, say nothing to your dog and walk out quietly. While your away e-mail the facility and ask for an update on how your pet is doing. Make sure you ask the following tell-tale signs that indicate how your pet is getting along… Are they eating their meals in full. Happily interacting with the other dogs. Are they pooping daily. Is the stool firm (but not hard).  Are they readily settling down at night.

You’ve taken every measure to ensure you’ve found the best possible place for your dog to stay and invested the time to minimize anxiety. So relax, you’ve earned the right to a fun filled trip, and have confidence that all your hard work means your pet will be having their very own vacation !