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Doggie Care

  • Written by Dona Cooper
As you pack the suitcases for that needed summer vacation did you suddenly notice that Fido, your dog, has jumped into one of the suitcases? Climbing into that suitcase is Fido’s way of saying: "Hey don’t forget your special dog."

Being the responsible pet owner, most likely you are considering Fido’s doggie vacation in a quality boarding facility while you are away. Possibly one of the very best facilities for Fido’s needed exercise and happiness is one that is cage free and kennel free.

But how do you select a top-quality dog boarding accommodation? Always take your dog and go look at two or three facilities before selecting a place. Here are the top things to consider in determining a superb dog boarding facility:

1) First, take a critical look to make sure the facility is picked up and clean. Does the facility use anti-bacterial solutions to kill viruses and other germs?

2) Second, observe the other dogs currently boarding. Are they barking wildly, panting in the corner, drooling, crouching with ears horizontal and tails tucked under in submissive postures, hiding behind bushes and looking stressed and fearful? Or are they happily coming up to look at you, tongues hanging out from playing and tails wagging. It is unavoidable that there may be one stressed dog among many, but the great majority should have either mellow, content eyes or eyes that sparkle from excitement plus doggie facial expressions that resemble happy ones.

3) Make sure there are clean, dry indoor playrooms, as well as secure outdoor areas for the dogs to have supervised play, pal around together, romp and exercise. Find a place that allows the dogs to have sunshine and fresh air and that allows the dogs inside or outside as the weather dictates.

4) Next, almost no one ever asks about this very important item: Ask to look at the dog’s eating bowls. They should be stainless steel and cleanly washed after each use. How are the dogs fed? The answer usually will be that the dogs are divided when being fed. But ask how they are divided to ensure that dogs get their own food. At Doggie Care Resort, the only time dogs are caged is at meal times when they are put into individual x-pens with the doors shut which guarantees the dogs get their own food. Subsequent to meals, the dogs are let out again. Is there a separate refrigerator for dog food? How do they handle raw food which if allowed to thaw and left out can hold Salmonella?

5) Ask to look at the sleeping quarters. Each dog should receive a fresh and sterilized bed. All washing machines should be for canine sterilizing only and not for humans. Dog toys should be washed as well.

6) Ask if current vet reports showing dogs are current in all shots are required. All dogs should be neutered or spayed. Especially in a kennel free facility, make certain there is a policy for the facility not to accept canine bullies or aggressive dogs that may bite.

Understand that some dogs may not be well-trained or well-socialized, but these are not the same as truly aggressive or attacking dogs that could put other dogs in jeopardy.

7) Evaluate the dog’s living areas. Are they warm for winter and cooled in the heat? Analyze the outdoor play areas. Are toxic chemicals used to kill weeds and slugs or is the area organic? Are there poisonous plants such as Castor Beans or Wolfsbane (both seriously toxic to dogs as well as to other plants).

8) Check the facility. Are there double gates so dogs can’t escape? Are the fences in good shape and is there a barrier below the fence line in case dogs dig to get free? There should be brick or fencing material about one to two feet down below the fence line. Check the supervision, are the staff trained? Are there numerous bowls of fresh drinking water? How long has the facility been in business? Do they have forms for you to complete? Will they take your dog to a vet if your dog gets sick or has an emergency? Ask questions. Are the owners hobby caretakers or are they professional and knowledgeable about dogs?

After vacation when you pick up your dog, look at his face and posture. Your dog will tell you whether he has had a good time and was treated with patience, love and kindness.

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