Saturday, December 28, 2013

How to choose a Pet Boarding Facility

We would all love to bring our four-legged friend with us on vacations, but sometimes it is not feasible. When that happens, you have to find someone to take care of your dog. There are many available options. It's up to you to find the right choice for your specific dog. All dogs are different and what will work for one, may not work for another.

Of course, we would LOVE for all dogs to come to Bark City!! (We think we are the BEST!!! Haha.) BUT, we also recommend you do your homework and decide for yourself. That is why I am going to post what you should look for in a boarding facility, what are big red flags and what questions you should ask when shopping around.

What Should I Look For In a Kennel?

  • SUPERVISION-- This is an important one. Whether or not the facility is partially kennel free or totally kennel free. When you have a bunch of dogs together, things can escalate pretty quickly. Dogs, like people, can get over-stimulated, tired and CRABBY.
  • Animals should look content and stress-free.
  • Proper bedding and water.
  • SANITATION-- Living and play areas should look and smell clean. They should also be free of waste and urine to prevent diseases.
  • TOUR THE FACILITY-- All Daycares should allow impromptu tours. If you ask and they act all sketchy or have a bunch of excuses on why you can't... BIG RED FLAG!
  • Always ask the daycare owner how they train their staff. The staff should be friendly and know all the animals by name. They should also know all details involving each dog's specific care and are TRAINED IN LARGE GROUP PLAY SETTINGS. Training and staff education does matter!
  •  Well managed dog play groups. Does the facility separate their dogs into groups such as little dogs, big dogs, elderly, ect... ??
  • Dogs should not be wearing collars in the facility. This is a huge safety hazard when dogs are playing. A paw could become entangled, a jaw caught or a choking hazard.
  • Safety Issues- bent wires or jagged edges on fences, areas where dogs can crawl under something and become stuck, unsupervised time with other dogs. 
  • Kennel size and cleanliness. 

 Questions to Ask Before Boarding:

  • Are all dogs immunized?
  • How does the facility handle a dog that suddenly has diarrhea, vomiting, won't eat or gets a minor injury (like a small cut or broken toenail)? 
  • How does the facility handle a dog that needs medical attention? 
  • Is there a vet associated with the kennel?
  • Do they accommodate dogs with special needs or individual diets?
  • Has there been any incidents of Canine parvovirus at the facility? This virus is EXTREMELY contagious and hardy. It can live in soil for over a year!
  • Is there grooming services available?
  • Is my dog able to bring his/her own bedding, favorite toys, ect...? 
  • How does the facility handle a dog fight or a dog that becomes irritable and aggressive? (Dog behavior can change when the dog is away from his/her parents!!)
  • Is there a quiet area free from disruption that my dog can sleep and rest? 
  • If the facility is kennel-free 24-7, how is the night supervised?  (Remember that a tired dog can become a crabby dog....)
  • How are dogs identified? 
  • How do they keep track of dog medications?
Always remember to TRUST YOUR GUT when choosing the right facility for your dog! A boarding facility may not be right for your dog or your favorite facility is booked and you can't get your dog in, there are always other options: hire a person to stay with your dog in your home or theirs (there are professional dog-sitters out there!) or find a friend, relative or neighbor that absolutely loves animals. There are options out there!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving with a Buddy

This is Buddy. 

Buddy is about 12-yrs-old and thinks his life is really rough (this picture was taken after he ate his morning dose of scrambled eggs). As with most Bassett Hounds, he always looks depressed. Unless, he is out on a "speed walk" with his human companions.... He REALLY perks up when he hears the familiar click of his leash coming off during these walks and he is FREE to roam!

This is Buddy's best friend Ollie: 

She showed him how to use the dog door (complete with a look of superiority). She is older than Buddy, but can still bat a suspicious piece of plastic around like no other. 

This is Buddy playing "Fashion Girls":

These are Buddy's new favorite treats:

Remember last week when I said I was going to make gingerbread dog treats? Well, I got a little sidetracked and went to the movie instead (With five kids and adult family members!). The dough, which has to chill for 3.5 hrs, ended up chilling for more like three days. BUT, they turned out fine!! Baking them was a rush job since I was heading back home in the morning. So, there was no cookie cutters and kids involved. Instead, it was me using the old peanut butter cookie technique of fork impressions. The important thing to note is that Buddy LOVED them. And he is a very picky eater... unless it is Prime Rib. 

Where is my Prime Rib?