Pick the Right Boarding Facility for Your Dog

 How to Pick the Right Boarding Facility for Your Dog

By Dr. Brent Bilhartz

Leaving your furry friend behind when you have to travel can cause a lot of anxiety, and not just for Fido or Fifi. It’s scary to trust the care of your fuzzy family member to someone else, which is why we’ve outlined some tips on how to choose the right boarding facility.
The best way to start your search is through recommendations. Read online reviews and poll co-workers, groomers, dog and cat owning neighbors and trainers about what they’ve heard and what their experiences have been. Ask local friends and family who is the best in their book. Once you narrow the search down to two or three places, it’s much easier to do more in depth research.
When deciding between kennels, ask questions. How often are pets fed, petted, and exercised? How often is the facility cleaned? What is protocol if your pet becomes ill? Do they administer medications? Pets who take medications regularly should be guaranteed to receive it. (Clearly labeled medications and concise, typed instructions on how best to administer medications are a must and should always be provided every time you drop off your pet as the person accepting him or her, may not be the one giving the medication.) Make sure your pets are allowed to bring their own beds, blankets, and toys to feel more at home. Double check to ensure your pet will be administered any medications or special treats at times you specify.
Cost will always be a factor when choosing a boarder, but when balancing the budget, remember that the most expensive boarding options such as the high cost pet resorts recently featured in the Wall Street Journal aren’t necessarily the best. Choose a quality boarder that is clean and safe—in many cases, your veterinarian may the best place to start.
Whenever possible, visit potential boarding facilities in person, on several occasions at different times and ALWAYS unannounced.  Is there an odor present, and if so, of what? You will want to spend time talking to staff and touring the facility.
Take special note of the animal guests. Are they fearful, barking nonstop, or happy? Does the staff seem glad to be at work and know the animals by name, or are they just punching the clock? At LazyPaw Animal Hospitals in Frisco, Texas, our staff loves to come to work. We make every overnight pet guest at our Frisco dog boarding hotel part of our family and provide a safe, clean, fun environment animals love. Any facility selected  should show this same level of excitement and genuine care.
Many states require boarding kennel inspections. If your state has these rules, double check that the boarder’s license and certification is current.  Always ask to see credentials if they are not displayed. Also ask if the staff is trained and certified. Certifications from organizations such as the International Boarding & Pet Services Association can be a plus.
The most important factor in choosing a good boarding kennel is trusting yourself. If you have a great feeling about one facility and experience intangible unease about another, go with your gut. 
Founded in 2005 by husband and wife team Dr. Brent Bilhartz and Dr. Julaine Hunter, LazyPaw Animal Hospital in Frisco, Texas is a different kind of animal hospital. We are veterinarians without distraction, and ours is a culture of genuine care. 
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