What should you look for, before deciding who to trust to watch over your beloved pet(s) while you are away?
When calling around or touring a potential pet care facility, please make sure to check out the following:
- Vaccination Requirements: The health and safety of your pet should be the top priority! This is partially accomplished by making sure the lodging facility you are considering has the proper procedures in place to accommodate only healthy guests. Make sure to choose a place that requires up to date vaccinations, and verifies proof of these vaccinations. No exceptions should be made, for the health and safety of all the pets in their care.
- Security & Safety Protocols: Pet care providers should maintain a clean and secure environment by investing in such things as pet-secure fencing, proper ventilation, temperature controlled rooms, continuous monitoring of pets throughout the day, etc. Personal homes should have protections to ensure pet safety as well. 24 hour monitoring/alarm system and a daily wellness check are essential to the safety of your pet. Also make sure to find out who is responsible for your pet’s safety and comfort before and after staff hours.
- Clean, Roomy and Comfortable Accommodations: Make sure the environment offers plenty of indoor and outdoor room for exercise and playtime. Strict cleaning protocols are critical to ensuring a healthy and safe environment. If considering an in-home option, visually inspect for hazards including toxic chemicals such as antifreeze and objects, such as children’s toys, that could be swallowed. Ask the provider what precautions they have taken to remove unsafe objects from the environment where your pet will be staying. Your pet should experience the ultimate in comfort and pampering with accommodations such as comfortable/clean bedding, continuous fresh water, soothing music, climate controlled rooms, activities customized to your pet and more. Your pet is family and he or she should be happy during their stay.
- Proper Supervision: Finding a facility with full time adult staff is a must. Low employee turnover means you can get to know the people who will be caring for your furry loved one(s). Also make sure the facility has staff available both before and after normal business hours, to ensure proper supervision throughout your pet’s entire stay. Some facilities offer 24 hour onsite care. Many pet sitters only drop in to feed and walk your dog for a short time. This may not be the best option for pets that need more constant care and companionship. Trust, training and experience are critical factors when determining who to leave your pet with. Beware of places with any indication that staff may let uninvited guests near your pet. Dog bites, neglect and property damage are some of the top insurance claims for pet sitters who fail to supervise the pets under their care. Often the PET OWNER is held responsible.
- Professional, Trained Staff: Professional, committed, caring and trained staff members are essential to the comfort and safety of your pet. All staff members should be capable of handling critical pet care responsibilities. Beware of individuals who claim they have experience but lack proper credentials and expertise.
- Reliability: Ensure your provider has enough staff members available to deliver the highest quality of care to all furry guests, even when someone is sick or has family issues. They should also make special accommodations to ensure a reliable, pet-loving staff is capable of taking care of issues both before and if they happen.
- Activities: Your pet needs extra attention when they are away from home, to help reduce the stress of being away from you. The facility you choose should offer a variety of activities to choose from. Activities give your furry friend plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation. Activities should be designed and staffed to give dogs the opportunity to socialize and play with other dogs – SAFELY – unlike what they may experience in someone else’s home or with untrained employees. Keeping your pet active is key to their overall health and happiness.
- Customer & Industry Approval: Probably one of the most critical areas to offer you peace of mind; find a facility that has gained the trust of other pet owners and pet care experts. Local veterinarian’s recommendations are a great place to start. Check the facility website for any independent awards, nominations or certifications. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for references!
- Licensed and Approved Business: State and local licenses and other requirements are there for you and your pet’s protection. Make sure the facility you choose follows all state/local requirements and operates a business, NOT JUST A PAID HOBBY. This will give you peace of mind that professionals are taking care of your loved one in a secure environment.
- Availability: One of the most tell-tale signs of a quality facility is their availability. The best pet care facilities will have limited availability during busy travel and holiday seasons.
Be sure to determine the best facility in your area, and book early to ensure your pet is well taken care of while you are gone.
Resource: Outstanding Pet Care Learning Center