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How to Choose A Boarding Facility or Pet Sitter


As much as we hate to leave our pets behind, it’s impossible to travel with all of them.

In our case, a pet sitter is called for and we only work with people we have known for years. But that is not always feasible. And let’s face it, sometimes we have to go out of town…

A recent tragedy at a boarding facility in Arizona resulted in 20 dogs dying within a few hours due to heat exposure. (Here is the story if you missed it).

So, how do you choose a boarding facility or pet-sitter and how can you rest assured that your dog is being cared for properly?

Here are ways you can avoid losing your pet to a less than honorable boarding facility…

[heading style=”2″ color=”#996633″ style_color=”#996633″]Reputation[/heading]

The reputation of the kennel is critical. Check with friends, read online reviews, search out complaints by typing in “name of kennel + complaint” into Google. The kennel above had plenty of bad reviews prior to this event happening…

[heading style=”2″ color=”#996633″ style_color=”#996633″]GPS Tracker and Activity Monitors[/heading]

Make sure your dog is wearing a GPS tracker and/or activity monitor so you know where he or she is and what type of activity level they are engaged in. While these can be removed and carried around by someone, it’s just an extra form of protection that we hope will help. Here are a few we recommend and their reviews:

[heading style=”2″ color=”#996633″ style_color=”#996633″]Wireless Cameras & Access to Camera Feed[/heading]

If you have a pet sitter come over to your house, let them know that you have wireless cameras installed. It’s just a courtesy and if you trust them with your pets, you should at least let them know that you may be checking in on them. These cameras are affordable (between $100-$200) and easy to install. It also gives you additional documentation in case anything happens.

Be sure the facility you choose has remote cameras installed that give you access via secured server. In this day and age, there really is no reason for a facility to not have cameras installed. If they do not – ask them why and decide if this is okay for yourself.

[heading style=”2″ color=”#996633″ style_color=”#996633″]Walk Through Prior to Boarding[/heading]

Prior to selecting a facility, take a tour. Be sure you specifically ask them to take you anywhere your dog or cat will have access and pay particular attention to the following:

  • Does the facility look clean and well-maintained?
  • Does the facility smell clean?
  • What is the temperature in the kennels?
  • Is there adequate ventilation indoors?
  • How does the staff treat and interact with the animals there?
  • Does the facility ask for vaccination records?
  • Is there a requirement for pets to have Bordetella (Kennel Cough) vaccine?
  • Do you see any evidence of fleas or ticks or other parasites?
  • Do the dogs and cats seem happy?
  • Are outdoor runs protected from the elements?
  • Do they have an emergency plan in place in case of natural disaster, fire or power failure?
  • Are humans on location 24/7?
  • Are the indoor kennels large enough?
  • Are cats and dogs housed separately?
  • What type of training does staff have?
  • Is a veterinarian on call and what is his/her name?

[heading style=”2″ color=”#996633″ style_color=”#996633″]Upon Your Return, Help Others[/heading]

When you arrive home, leave an honest review so others will know of your experience. Pet resorts and other care facilities rely on these for their business and your experience may help others either avoid a bad experience or find a loving place to leave their most important member of the family.

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