In-home pet boarding or pet resort lodging? There’s a lot to consider when researching accomodations for your pet while you are away. Nothing could be better for your dog or cat than a home environment, right? With increasing numbers of in-home pet boarding and daycare services, pet owners need to take a careful look at these alternatives to traditional pet resorts before concluding that placing their pet in someone’s home is a good plan.
Just because the care is given out of someone else’s home, that may not guarantee the level of quality and care you are expecting. As pet parents, our top concerns are:
- Safety – Will my pet be safe and remain healthy?
- Training – Is the person caring for my pet experienced, knowledgeable and attentive?
- Comfort – Will my pet be comfortable and receive loving attention?
The cost of lodging or daycare at pet resort includes the cost of maintaining the facility; hiring staff to manage all services and guest needs; training employees in all areas of pet care and service standards; proper licensing, certifications and insurance; and much more. When evaluating a pet care facility or service, keep these items in mind.
What type of safety procedures and protocols are in place to protect my pet from being lost or getting injured?
- Is there secure fencing around the building and/or property?
- What happens if my pet gets out an open door or gate?
- Who will have access to my pet while at the home or facility?
EMPLOYEE TRAINING / CAREGIVER EXPERIENCE
What level of experience and training with pets does the person(s) taking care of my pet have? Are they able to recognize signs of illness and understand animal behaviors?
CERTIFICATIONS & INSPECTIONS
Pet businesses such as boarding and daycare facilities are usually held to a level of standards and subject to unannounced inspections. Pet resorts may be recognized by industry organizations that set industry standards or best practices.
Private homes and properties are not subject to inspections and industry standards to make sure conditions for pets are safe. When placing your pet in someone’s home, you are still placing them in an unfamiliar environment.
- Does anyone in the home smoke?
- Will the animals placed in the home have supervision?
Whether it’s a classroom of children or a yard filled with dogs, there are many personalities to consider. This is especially the case when introducing new dogs to an established pack. Just because someone loves dogs and wants to play with them all day, doesn’t mean they are qualified to run a dog daycare program or lodging service from a private home.
- Will your dog be accepted by the other dogs and safe around dogs with different temperaments?
- What is the dog-to-teacher/caregiver ratio?
- How will my dog spend the day? Is there a balance of exercise, enrichment and rest?
- What training does the person caring for my dog receive?
Pet facilities usually require necessary vaccinations and often lifestyle vaccinations and fecal tests to protect all the dogs from highly-contagious diseases. The vaccinations, testing and owners’ commitment to veterinary care protect the dog or cat, the business and the community at large. Just because Fido has never been sick or the pet parent doesn’t agree with vaccinations, doesn’t mean that all pets involved in private home care will be free from illness.
Daily physical activity is important to the overall health of the pet, especially when experiencing a change in environment and care. Pet resorts are designed to provide different types of activities to cater to the individual needs of different breeds, abilities, and ages.
- Whether daycare or lodging, what activities are available for your pet? If your dog is used to three walks a day, is the caregiver able to meet the dog’s needs?
- Are manners and obedience skills reinforced?
- Are play areas secure, sanitary and free of hazards?
A comfortable environment is important when considering care for your pet while you are away, but comfort means more than being in a private home. Comfort also means that your dog or cat feels safe, remains healthy, and gets the proper attention and activity. Pet resorts offer a level of experience, training, certifications, security and standards that private homes may not offer. When considering daycare or lodging for your dog or cat, it’s important to ask the right questions, take a tour, and understand what services you are receiving for the cost.