Modern pet parents are typically busy with jobs, school, and children and often rely on doggy day cares, pet lodging facilities, and/or professional dog walkers/pet sitters to help board and entertain furry family members when they can’t. Thinking about leaving your pup in the care of a dog sitter, day care or dog walker? Here's a checklist of 36 questions to ask before making reservations.
Print out this list and take it with you when you interview your prospective service provider.
-Are the boarding and play areas clean and free of any overwhelming, lingering odors?
-Are there separate facilities for dogs and cats?
-Are there separate quarters for big and small dogs?
-Are you able to bring your pet’s own Treats and toys if staying overnight or for an extended period of time?
-Are you allowed to visit your dog at any time during the day?
-Do all outside play areas have high, secured inescapable fencing?
-Will the facility management allow a full tour of the daycare/boarding area prior to your making reservations?
-Is there a vaccination protocol that all visiting pets must adhere to in order to prevent the spread of disease?
-Does facility management have an evacuation order on hand in case of natural disaster or a facility catastrophe?
-Is there a veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic on call in case of a medical emergency?
Discuss the people who will be taking care of your pets, and don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions.
-What kind of training and/or certification does the staff receive?
-Are they expected to get continuing education considering the changing nature of modern pet care?
-Do they know how to read a prescription and how to give necessary medications?
-My dog tends to get nervous, will you administer a calming tonic I provide
-My dog won't take her pill unless it's hidden in peanut butter, will your staff provide that accommodation?
-Does staff know how to give meds orally, by SQ injection and topically?
-Are any of the staff members veterinary trained?
-What kind of supervision do the workers receive during each shift?
-Do they know how to recognize and handle canine aggression of all kinds, including food aggression, territorial aggression, and fear-based issues?
-Does anyone on the staff understand the special needs of senior pets?
-Are the workers trained to watch for signs of disease or a veterinary emergency?
You’ll want to determine if the daycare or boarding facility adheres to daily or weekly schedules and how that works with your employment and your pet’s comfort levels.
-Are you able to pick-up and drop-off at times that fit your work schedule?
-Is your dog scheduled to play and socialize on a regular basis?
-Are feeding times regular and will your pet be fed separately from other animals? (This cuts down on possible food aggression problems.)
-Is a trained staff member supervising canine socialization 100 percent of the time?
-Is the facility open on the weekends?
-What provisions will be made if, for some reason, you have to work extra hours?
-Does the facility pick-up and drop-off your pet at home and, if so, is the driver bonded, insured, and trained on transporting crated animals?
-Will any necessary medications be administered at the times designated by your veterinarian (once, twice, or three times daily)?
Dog walkers and pet/house sitters need to be able to answer these additional questions to your satisfaction?
-How is the sitter trained or certified?
-Will they be handling more than one pet, or more than one family’s pets, at a single time?
-Are they bonded and insured?
-Do they have references?
-Did the facility manager who hired the sitter run a criminal background check?
-Do they know how to handle emergency situations?
-Is the sitter trained to watch for signs of illness or trauma?
-Will the house/pet sitter be sleeping overnight in your home, and does he/she have a regular day job?
-Does the dog walker regularly vary the route she/he travels with your pup?
Rocky Kanaka is an entrepreneur, pet rescue advocate and dog dad to a rescue boxer named Flip, a blind Cane Corso called Kobe, and a terrier mix named Zoey. He's also a pet chef and owner of The Dog Bakery, which specializes in dog birthday cakes
and fresh baked dog treats. His three dogs can't get enough of the dog cakes and treats!
Lorna Paxton Ladd is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast of The Dog Bakery. She loves spoiling her 3 rescue dogs with dog cakes
and jerky. A 15 year veteran in the pet industry, her aim is to educate pet parents on the best recipes, products, tips and tricks to optimize the human/canine bond. Her favorite product at The Dog Bakery are the customizable dog birthday cakes.