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Choosing a Dog Boarding Facility
By Fred A. Alimusa
In response to several questions about what a good dog-boarding facility should be, here's a guideline on how to select them. Remember that you are entrusting your family member your best friend under their care. Be vigilant and selective with your search.
When you make the initial phone call, does the person on the other end of the line sound professional and knowledgeable about dogs and proper care; and does he sound like he has a good attitude? Employees' attitudes usually reflect on their work and work habits. If they seem to be unhappy or moody, you wouldn't want them to be directing their mood swings on your baby. Some trainers only work on dogs when they are in the mood; some just go through the motions and would readily lose their temper when things don't go their way. You wouldn't want their wrath suffered by your dog.
On your first visit to their establishment, observe their attitudes again. Are they true dog lovers who train dogs because they love what they do? Are they sincere in their show of affection to your dog, and at answering your questions? Use your senses while inside their facility. Does the area look and smell clean, or do you smell animal waste and see dog hair flying around? Do you hear dogs barking in distress, discomfort or pain? Do you feel that there's too much heat in the dog living areas?
When boarding a dog, there is a high risk of being exposed to several canine diseases and parasites. Make sure that the facility requires a current record of vaccination for every dog that they accept. Also, they should be sprayed or dipped against the common parasites: fleas and ticks. I heard that some establishments just ask the owner to do the spraying or application before he brings in the dog. That is unacceptable. It just takes one owner who refuses or forgets to do this on his dog to cause an outbreak in a kennel. Every dog should be dipped or sprayed against parasites before going in that facility.
Ask them if they have a resident vet or on-call in case of emergency. Their staff should also have training and knowledge of basic canine first-aid. Simple first-aid application on heatstroke can mean the difference between life and death. Do they have live-in staff in the facility to make sure that the dogs are monitored 24/7?
Do they allow clients and visitors to visually inspect their kennel facility? Do they take proper precautions to "sterilize the visitors before they walk in the dogs' living quarters? A visitor who just stepped on an infected street dogs waste outside can easily infect the whole place. If they can't let you go in to visually inspect their kennels, they should provide a glass window for visitors to see their dog's living area.
Are the dogs' living quarters safe, clean and secure? Are the gate latches dog-proof? Can the dogs see or interact with one another while they're in their cage or kennel run? If they can, then this is a bad set-up as it will cause more stress on the dogs and/or develop other undesired habits, like fence fighting or dog aggression. Do you notice a clipboard or any type of record-keeping form for each dog (it should usually be hanging in front of each cage)? If not, how would they keep a record of feeding and training schedules, special instructions, observations, etc.? Do they have secure fences and gates to prevent dogs from bolting out and escaping their facility? Planning against this just entails an additional gate that can be closed before opening the exit gate.
These are just some factors to consider when selecting the right boarding facility for our beloved pets.
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