Need dog daycare while you’re on vacay? 10 questions to ask | Entertainment/Life
With summertime so close, many families are starting to plan their vacation getaways. One part of the planning process will be deciding who will watch the dogs if the destination is not pet-friendly, or if you are just looking for a pup-free week. If finding a pet sitter is a challenge, it may be worth it to consider a dog day care.
There are several options in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Many of these are not typical boarding facilities. Today’s dog day cares offer luxurious retreats for the family canine to relax and play with friends while his humans are away.
Many facilities offer daily day care services, much like child day care, in addition to overnight accommodations, and can include activities such as pool time, group play and snacks. Some offer grooming and spa services, special bedtime treats, private quarters, televisions, music and more.
Note that not all dog day cares are equal, so thorough research should be done to choose the best facility for your canine. Here are 10 questions to ask to help in the search for the perfect place to leave your dog when away:
1. Ask for recommendations. Friends, family and colleagues are the best sources for firsthand experience reviews, and they can be great resources for help in narrowing down the search. Check for online reviews as well.
2. Can you take a tour or do a spend-a-day? Visit the top contenders to see how the dogs are treated. Are the kennels spacious? Is the staff interacting with the animals? Can your pet spend the day for a trial run to see how it goes?
3. Are they licensed and insured? Make sure the company is fully covered in the unlikely event that something should happen while a dog is in their care.
4. Ask for references. Ask the facility if you can reach out to some of their current clients to get an idea of how they feel about the place.
5. What is the attendance policy? Is there a minimum age requirement? Do dogs need to be up-to-date on shots and show proof? Are all pets required to be spayed/neutered?
6. How is socialization handled? Many day cares have “big dog” rooms and “small dog” rooms, where animals of the same size are allowed to interact. It is important to ask how the dogs are tested to make sure that group play is safe and fun for all pets. Are the pets always supervised?
7. How are the dogs housed? The size of dog enclosures at the boarding facility is important. The animal should have enough space to move around comfortably, and not be cramped in a small cage for long periods of time.
8. Are the dogs exercised? Regular exercise is important, so make sure that the outdoor area of the day care is safe and secure. If the dogs are walked, ask where they are walked and if secure leashing protocols are in place.
9. What is the staff’s experience level? Ask about screening for employees and how the business finds the best dog handlers for the facility.
When a group of dogs gets together, anything is possible. Make sure that the staff has the skills and expertise to deal with any situation that may arise.
Compassion of staff members is equally important. Positive human interaction will result in an overall positive experience and will make day care a treat for pets.
10. What is security like? A good day care should be able to provide information on how dogs are protected from the general public and how they ensure that a dog will not get loose or run away. Pet safety is of the utmost importance. Some facilities have webcams that allow remote monitoring.
Leaving pets in someone else’s care is a big decision, and a little research can go a long way to ensure that our furbabies are in great hands and having some fun of their own when we are away.
April 15: Animal Rescue New Orleans adoptable dogs and puppies will be at the New Orleans Firemen’s Federal Credit Union, 4401 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Traci D. Howerton is the volunteer coordinator for Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. For more information on ARNO, visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org.