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 food 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?