How do you find the right boarding facility?

December 14, 2012  

Our Community Question of the Week

The holidays can mean travel plans for many of us, and so we asked our Facebook friends: How do you find the right boarding facility for your dog? Do you rely on word of mouth or search online? What are some of your “must-haves” when choosing the right one?

Due diligence and a knowledge of what makes both you and your dog comfortable are keys to a happy experience – ask for references, check out the facilities in person, opt for in-home care, or lodge with friends and relatives. Thanks everyone for sharing.

Word of mouth, then test it out and see. ~Erika Molnar

I’m very lucky. I found a wonderful pet sitter by word of mouth, and when I go away, my dogs stay at his house. ~Vanessa Reed-Knifel

Word of mouth. Check out facility. Meet staff. ~Carolee Pineau

I try friends first, if that doesn’t work word of mouth. My dog groomer is always a wealth of information, so is my vet! ~Jennifer Gifford

Word of mouth and online research. Must haves include access to live video feed and plenty of “out of crate” play time with both people and other pups. ~Bek Corbin

I make sure the facility doesn’t use kennels but has glassed in rooms and I ensure it’s 24 hour care as well as walks and playtime. Starla loves her pet hotel. ~Elizabeth Schipper

Clean with other dogs to play with but also well supervised so everybody plays nice and your dog doesn’t come home all scratched up. ~Pam Mcwilliams

Word of mouth was a big deal for us. We also appreciate the access to webcams. Seeing our dog playing and being happy really makes it easier to be away from him. ~John Holle

We only go places where my dog can go. No boarding. ~HappyAmber Gartner

We live in a very rural area so we use family and friends! ~April Vick Harrell

Go visit, read reviews, having someone there 24/7. The overall vibe of the facility is important. ~Nicole Rodgers Cherry

Use word of mouth, check out the facility before using, and dog/pet-sitters are the best. ~Jeanne Erdley

Word of mouth. Get to know the workers. My dogs love the facility and staff, we also take them once a month for puppy daycare as a treat. ~Amber Norris

We have a trusted friend, family member, or pet sitter stay in our home with our babies while we are away. It is much less stressful on them to be in their own home. ~Carissa Danielle

Whoever feeds me the most treats wins! ~Pork Chop

I searched online and went for a visit first. I look for clean facilities, space to play, and friendly staff who like dogs. One thing I love about our kennel is that they post daily pictures from doggie daycare on their Facebook, you can see how the dogs are doing every day. ~Kelly Tessena Keck

Word of mouth is how I found my kennel. Indoor (temperature control)/outdoor (play yard) and the true love and understanding of the bullies are a must! ~Shannon Thompson

I chose mine based on recommendations by friends. They all spoil their dogs the same way I do, so I knew mine would do just fine there. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s clean and secure and my dogs get inside and outside access at their leisure. I don’t trust dog sitters – it’s too hard to find a trustworthy one that my dogs like and the person will actually stay at my house, not lock the dogs up and go hang out with friends. ~Meghan Hunt

I’m lucky enough to live near my parents who have a large fenced in yard, a doggie door, and two playful boxers that are best friends with our dog. Even though I once worked in a boarding kennel, I’m not sure I could ever trust my baby to the care of strangers. I would have to personally know that each employee would never “alpha-roll,” kick, choke, poke, prod, or otherwise mistreat her and the other dogs. I would also have to be sure that she wouldn’t be treated differently or poorly because of her supposed breed. Too many people consider themselves “experts” without warrant. I wouldn’t want to throw her into an environment where things could go wrong. ~Laura Nalven

I prefer searching online and then making appointments to go and explore the place myself. This is only if my friend is unavailable to care for my animals herself. A must have would be daily one on one positive attention. ~Lindsay Lagasse

I found our amazing pit bull-friendly sitter through word of mouth. I was sold when she showed all the ways she treats dogs like family while they stay at her house. ~Dana Litt

I just wrote an article on that topic for a friend’s doggy daycare’s blog! http://themuttleycrew.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/a-home-away-from-home-for-the-holidays/ I prefer word of mouth and a tour in person. ~Danni St Athens

Word-of-mouth. Most important is frequent walks. ~Jeri Marks

Double fencing with secure tops on pens, clean, will feed what I bring, does not let dogs have access to other dogs, makes eye contact with my dog and obviously likes him. Never leave with vet, they put them in small cages, have kids and various techs walk them and are exposed to viruses. We just take Carl and his crate with us, carefully avoiding areas with aggressive breed discriminatory legislation. ~Suzanne Jordan Carty

Word of mouth, webcams, friendly staff, and flexibility with drop off time and no appointment necessary. ~Christine Comfort

I never ever board my dogs. Have a pet sitter stay over. ~Diane Meier

I don’t use boarding facilities. I have an in-home caretaker if I need to go away for any length of time without them, and it works out cheaper as I have five dogs, and I need to get someone in to feed the horse anyway, so it makes more sense this way. The dogs are well socialized, but they do better in the home environment. ~Kaz Cox

I will only use facilities that work with rescues and have training programs that work with rescues. Needless to say I don’t frequent or send business to any facilities that have breed specific guidelines like the largest facility in my area. ~Rhett Nicks

I used rover.com and found an amazing couple that Stringer Bell loves. They have a rescue themselves and the dogs hit it off, they love each other like brothers and run around chasing squirrels and playing for hours. The best part is the sitters fell in love with Stringer so much that they recently rescued a pit bull puppy to join their family. ~Caitlin Elizabeth

I started with recommendations from friends. Then looked into each place. When I called the first thing I said was “My dog is a pit bull mix.” That statement alone knocked out a few places. The kennel/day camp we ended up at is super pit bull friendly and is actually involved with a pit bull rescue. I didn’t know this until we got to know the staff better! I drive past a lot of kennels to take my dog to the one that she loves and that loves her. ~Christine Rahn

The kennels in our area do not accept pit bull type dogs, we asked our trainer and he introduced us to a wonderful guy who runs a dog bed and breakfast out of his home. All breeds welcome, they play, take walks, nap on the couch together, it’s a lot like home, and a great opportunity for socialization in a controlled and low stress environment. ~Nancy Witters

I have an American Pit bull Terrier who loves everyone but not loved by everyone. I would never board him. I don’t trust them. ~Samuel Sheets

My biggest dog ate his way out of two “cottages” in one week of boarding last time and our smaller one came back with a swollen eye from being tail whipped. Now Grandma and Grandpa come stay for our vacations and house sit/dog sit.

I don’t! Friends or family only! ~Arlene Applebaum

I ask a friend or family member to stay at my home for the days that I’m gone. I’ll gift them gift certificates to local restaurants for take-out, and let them sleep in my king size bed. They just have to agree to share the bed with my pups! ~Sara Corey

Eleven years ago there weren’t many choices in my town so I went with the one that had a trainer that I had used to help me with a rescue’s training. Now there are lots of choices but these guys know my dogs and love them. They may not be the best but they love my dogs, even the tough girl (the rescue failure, my pit mix)! ~Nancy Goodman

They must let you in to see the facility. Odd that it needs to be a requirement, but in Florida there are boarding facilities that are so shady they lock the door behind them so you can’t see the conditions inside. ~Jennifer Myers

My dog’s vet also has a boarding kennel on site, but separated from the sick animals. I’m a bit of a worrier when I have to leave him behind and I like having him looked after by a vet and vet techs that know him and will know if something isn’t normal. ~Deanne Greene

Don’t board my precious Pierre. ~Susan Bulkley

We never board our dogs. Either they go with us, or someone they know and love stays at the house with them. ~Shelly Hakspiel

I use in-home sitters who spend the night with my dogs and care for them. I do this because I have five dogs. ~Pam Aiken

Never board our dogs. ~Ray Anibas

Visit the kennel. Does it look and smell clean? Pay close attention to the staff and their attitude toward their canine guests. Board your animal there once and pay close attention to how your animals interact with the staff before choosing to use and recommend that kennel going forward. ~Barbara Schreiber Iobst Barnette

Find out how many dogs are boarding at that time and how many employees there are to do the work. I worked at a boarding kennel and have been completely by myself to walk over a 100 dogs on holidays because other employees do not show up or quit. You have to really love dogs to work around them, no one will ever do a good job with animals for the pay alone. ~Nocte Vena Cava

We recommend overnight in-home pet sitting or daycare facilities that will take the dogs home with them. Haven’t heard of any good experiences otherwise. ~Positively Simple Dog Training

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