We know you’d like to bring your dog with you everywhere you go, but at some point, you may have to leave your dog behind. There are so many options for pet care, that it can make choosing a boarding facility for your furry friend a challenging moment. 

Whether you’re heading out of town for work or for a vacation, knowing that your dog is safe, happy, and healthy will make everything easier. Here are some tips from the vets at Anasazi Animal Clinic on how to choose a safe boarding facility.

Types of Boarding Facilities

There are several different types of places where you can board your dog, and each one has its pros and cons. Choosing the right facility for your dog is the safest way to make sure your dog gets the care they need while you are away. 

Veterinary Boarding

Some veterinary clinics (like Anasazi Animal Clinic!) also offer boarding services. Some animal hospitals have a separate building for boarding with its own entrance, while others use the same check-in area and board pets in a different section of the same building. 

One of the biggest pros of boarding with your vet is that they are already familiar with your dog’s health concerns and personality. If anything were to go wrong, you’ll know that your dog is in the care of qualified, trustworthy people you have already met. Vet boarding is also a better option for dogs who have unusual health conditions or who need daily medications. 

However, veterinary boarding facilities normally book up quickly. You will need to have a backup plan in place if you ever need last-minute care. 

Boarding Facilities

Commercial dog boarding companies tend to have large facilities, with entire buildings and outdoor space dedicated to caring for pets while their owners are away. They often have both indoor and outdoor settings for dogs to hang out in during the day, and kennels with comfy beds for nighttime, meals, and naps. 

Since these companies focus on mainly boarding pets, they tend to have more availability than vet clinics. However, many places will only board pets that belong to their daycare programs, or they might require a trial day (which is always a good idea anyway). Another downside can be that because they can have so many boarders at one time, there may not be many opportunities for the staff to have one-on-one time with each dog. 

Private Home Boarding

In some instances, you might find a person willing to take your dog into their home for the time that you are away. This situation is usually rare, and it comes with certain risks. Private boarding is typically unregulated, and if something were to happen while you are away, you could be held liable. We would not suggest this option unless you have been able to carefully vet the person and their home beforehand, and you feel comfortable with the situation.

How to Know If It’s Safe to Board Your Dog

Now that you know a little more about the different types of boarding facilities, it’s time to start making a list of potential caregivers. What do you need to know beforehand to feel secure about leaving your dog in someone else’s care? Here are some of the most important questions to ask before you decide where to board your dog. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your dog have any medical needs?
  • Do they have special dietary needs?
  • Are they able to get along with other dogs and strange people?
  • Will they only sleep if tucked in and read ‘Goodnight Moon’?
  • Is your dog up to date on their vaccinations? Most dog boarding facilities require vaccinations, so be sure to check your records.

Questions to ask the boarding facility:

  • What are your cleaning policies?
  • What exercise will my dog get during their stay?
  • What are your mealtime policies?
  • Is the facility staffed 24/7? 
  • What type of security do you have?
  • What is your emergency policy for fire, illness, or a fight?
  • How will you give me updates on my dog?

Go With Your Gut

Now that you have your list of questions, it’s time to start checking out potential boarders. Beginning with recommendations from friends and family is always a good idea. Another approach is to think about the locations that are best for you, and search those areas for boarding facilities. 

Reading reviews can be daunting, but it can help you decide which places to add to your shortlist. Remember to take everything you read with a grain of salt, and to read average and negative reviews along with the good ones

Once you have made your shortlist, start making calls. Ask your questions and find out if you can take a tour. The way each facility answers your questions can help you make your decision. Most of all, it is important to go with your gut. If you are on a tour, and don’t feel it’s a good fit, move on. What can work for someone else may not always work for you and your dog. 

It is okay to feel nervous or scared when leaving your pet. That is why it is so important to do a trial run before leaving them for an extended period of time. A trial stay can give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your time away, and help you to find the perfect boarding situation for your dog. If your dog is acting abnormally for a few days after the trial, it may be a sign that they had a bad experience.

Boarding Your Dog Safely in Gilbert, Arizona

Anasazi Animal Clinic offers boarding for your dog! If you’re one of our patients, that means we already know (and love) your dog. We have veterinarians on staff six days a week, and one on call on Sundays. We strive to provide a place where dogs are loved, snuggled, and comfortable during boarding. Give us a call at 480-497-0505 to ask for more details!

Images used under Creative Commons License for commercial use (8/22/22). Photo by Anna Dudkova on Unsplash