Our dogs are more than just pets—they’re part of the family. Because they depend on us to make sure they’re happy, healthy, and thriving, it’s important to choose the right dog boarding facility, especially if it’s going to be a frequent part of your dog’s life.
How should you start your search for the perfect boarding facility? Keep reading for our top tips.
8 Tips for Finding the Right Boarding Facility for Your Dog
Getting started is super simple—you can do it right from your phone or computer.
Do a search for dog boarding facilities in your area and take a preliminary look at their website or business pages. If you like what you see and no red flags jump out at you, add them to your list of dog boarding facilities worth learning more about. You can also ask friends and family for their personal recommendations.
Tip #1: Tour the Boarding Facility in Person
Give the dog boarding facility a call or shoot them an email to schedule a tour of their location. It will give you a chance to scope it out and get a feel for what your dog’s day would be like. It’ll also give you the opportunity to ask more detailed questions.
While you’re there, make sure the boarding facility has:
- Good ventilation: Lots of windows and doors or a fresh-air exchange system.
- Solid fencing: Something strong and tall enough to keep dogs contained.
- Proper gating: A staging area for dogs to acclimate in before entering the play area.
- Safe floor surfaces: Rubber or epoxy versus slick concrete or linoleum.
Tip #2: Ask if Dogs Are Separated Into Groups
Are dogs being boarded together separated by size and age? Or are they separated based on their temperament and play style? Or both? If dogs are allowed to play in one large group, it could be a red flag. Older dogs, low-energy dogs, and anxious dogs are more likely to become stressed and run a higher risk of getting caught in a dangerous situation.
Tip #3: Ask About the Staff-to-Dog Ratio
The International Boarding and Pet Care Services Association recommends a ratio of 15 dogs per 1 human as a safe standard. However, they also make allowances depending on the activity level of the group of dogs in question. More active dogs might require more supervisors, while less active dogs might require fewer. Make sure the boarding facility is adequately staffed you can be sure your dog is always safe and supervised.
Tip #4: Ask if There Is a Boarding Schedule
When your dog comes in for boarding, will the staff follow a schedule designed to allow your pup to adjust to a new routine? Is there structure to playtime, or is it an all-day free-for-all?
Most boarding facilities make sure to insert supervised periods of rest between playtimes to make sure no one’s getting too tired or dehydrated. Following a schedule has the added benefit of providing structure for dogs who might become stressed in new situations.
Tip #5: Ask About the Toy Policy
Even the most well-rounded dogs can be susceptible to resource guarding and show aggression when a playmate gets near a toy that dog doesn’t want to share. If you know your dog is prone to this common behavior, make sure to alert the staff so they can keep an eye out and prepare to safely handle the situation.
This also means you should ask if it’s all right for your dog to come to boarding with his own toys
Tip #6: Ask About a Trial or Temperament Test
Not all dogs are cut out for dog boarding, and that’s okay! The boarding facility you’ve selected should require a trial run to make sure your dog will adjust okay, or a temperament test to make sure they’re suited to the routine and being around other dogs. These extra steps are a sign that the boarding facility has high standards for their four-legged guests’ health and wellbeing.
Tip #7: Ask About the Staff’s Training
The staff at your selected dog boarding facility should have experience working with or training dogs, and the facility should require or provide extra training on how to handle dogs safely in a group environment. While most dog boarding facilities take extra steps to ensure they’re providing and enforcing a safe environment, they should be prepared to handle scuffles if they break out.
Tip #8: Make Sure They Have a Plan for Emergency Medical Care
Not only should the staff be trained in how to safely and correctly administer first aid in the event of an accident or injury, but they should also have a plan in place for what to do and where to go if a dog in their care requires a vet or emergency medical care.
Keep in mind that a boarding facility having an emergency plan in place doesn’t mean they anticipate frequent injuries or accidents—they’re just prepared in case one occurs, which is extremely important.
Choose the Best Boarding Facility for Your Dog
Now that you’ve analyzed the dog boarding facilities available in your area, choose the one that makes you feel the most confident about leaving your pup in their care, and then pay attention to whether your dog is having a good time! If he’s relaxed, happy, and in good health when he comes home, he’s probably in good hands.
If you’d like to learn more about the dog boarding services available at Lucky Dog, reach out to us! We’d love to give you a tour and learn more about you and your dog.