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There are many options in the Canadian dog boarding market. As a Canadian pet owner, going away on holidays can be a bit of an extra struggle. You want you family friend to have as good of a trip as you do; however, you know that they can’t come with you! To make sure they have a good time you want to do research on the best boarding options in the area. Sometimes you might be able to give your pet to a friend to take care of during your time away. However, you can only ask your friends so many times to look after your pet. Unfortunately, any way you look at it, its always a struggle to find your pet a happy home. Luckily, new Canadian dog boarding options are coming to life, giving pet owners more flexibility when booking their travels.
What are Canadian Dog Boarding Options?
Dog boarding is most often done by veterinarians and kennels. These are the oldest pet sitting options around. How the system works is your drop of your dog off at a predetermined time, for a fee, and then pick them up after your trip. During the dogs stay, they are looked after by pet lovers or trained professionals. They are walked, fed, and played with by the staff members to keep their minds active and bodies engaged. The most common types of dog boarding is when families go on vacation. However, as dog owners transition from family pets to single’s best friends, dog boarding has more uses. For example, business trips or spontaneous weekend adventures!
What do dog boarding facilities look like?
Most of these Canadian dog boarding facilities have an enclosed area for dogs to play, a feeding area and a watering area. There is also a medical station and a sleeping area! These are all the basic elements. However, some facilities are nicer and come with a variety of extras like pools or out door adventure parks! The medical stations are always equipped to deal with any medical needs that a dog may incur on their stay including taking medications or checking past wounds. Large dog boarding facilities usually have trained professionals that can help with these medical needs.
What types of Dog Boarding is Available?
Dog boarding from kennels has been around for many years. However, the types of available accommodations have grown a lot to offer different pet experiences for a wide range of customer needs/wants. For example, you can now get dog boarding locations to have luxury spa care. Here, your dogs are primped to the nines, with baths, exfoliants and variety of high quality dog foods. The facilities are perfectly cleaned, fresh and beautiful. These places are so nice that I would rather stay there than my pet! However, these extra amenities come at a price, you are really paying for the comfort!
What to look for in a Canadian Dog Boarding Service?
Many different types of Canadian dog boarding services are advertised online and many have excellent reviews. However, how do you know which is the best pick for your precious puppy dog? The key to finding a good home for your dog during your time away is to do research. Spend the time looking into a variety of different places. Reading feedback and customer reports as well as looking at Yelp reviews and the website for details on the services that they offer. For example, some Canadian dog boarding services have options to pick your dog up and drop them off at home after you are back from your trip.
What is the best dog boarding fit for my dog?
The best fit for your dog is a place that you feel your dog will be safe, happy and loved as much as it would be at your home! Of course, other factors in this decision include pricing and location. However, when it comes to your pet and its health while you are away, sometimes this is an area that you might want to splurge and get quality care. You wouldn’t ever leave you child in a minimally well ranked place without thoroughly doing background checks would you? So, why would you do that with your dog! Bruce is just as much part of your family as little baby Jane!
Where to start looking for dog boarding options?
The first step, when choosing which dog boarding option is best for your dog is to listen to word of mouth calls of other dog owners that you trust. Get their opinions about different places that they have tried and understand the benefits and problems that they faced with each location. Also, think practically to your dog and see if the same situation would fit your pet’s breed and life habits. If it is a match then you might just be done there! Another place to check for good boarding options is at your vet’s office. Usually vets offices are full of brochures that are a great starting point to understanding more about the options available for your pet.
Another thing that you can do is go and check out the places before you bring your dog in for the full stay. Check out the staff and the facilities to see if you are comfortable leaving your dog there!
How to find dog boarding for busy seasons?
Another thing that is very important to note about dog boarding is that during peak seasons it can get very busy and good places fill up fast. If you know that you are going to be away on a trip during one of these peak seasons, start looking for dog boarding options sooner rather than later! You will have better luck finding availability and your first choice dog boarding places!
Pet Boarding for Dogs with Special Needs
Many of our dogs are very healthy and happy and all you need to do when going away is to make sure that they are being looked after by good people and getting treated the way they deserve. However, some dogs suffer from chronic pains/illnesses that must be monitored while you area away. Certain kennels and other dog boarding options can specialize in these services to make sure your dog’s medical needs are dealt with seamlessly. This is something to look into when determining the best care for your pet.
Canadian Dog Boarding – Check List
Although following the above steps and talking to friends is one of the best ways to get the best results for dog boarding facilities. If you are starting from scratch and are looking for some basic items to check off of a list here are a couple of MUSTS that you should be aware of:
Must Do Checks:
- The attitudes and energy level of the staff working at the facilities – If they look like they are having fun and love playing with dogs, this is usually a sign of good hiring and a healthy and happy atmosphere for your pup.
- Receptive and Proactive Responses to Questions – If you ask the facilities questions about their services and receive clear detailed answers backed up with information that make you feel like they care and are putting effort into helping you feel more comfortable this is a good sign. Also, if you ask about unique requests for your dog and they put effort in to accommodate you, this is a good sign. For example letting your dog bring their favourite treats or toys.
- Character and Behaviour of other Dogs – If you see that dogs are having a great time playing together or that dogs in the resting area look calm and relaxed or they are sleeping, this is a really positive sign. When dogs feel like they are in a safe place, they stay calm. You cannot fake a dog’s behaviour and therefore this shows you the real quality of the dog boarding facility
- Different Types of Facilities/Toys – If you enter a dog boarding location to find it packed with new toys, different playing options for your dog and a variety of different types of facilities for your pup to play this is a great sign of care and effort.
- Cleanliness, Honesty and Transparency – If, when you enter the facility, and find that it is well maintained, it is clean and smells fresh – this is of course an obvious good sign. Also, if the prices and services are clearly indicated and there are no hidden fees/long contracts to sign, this is also a great sign!
What to do before your dog is boarded?
There are a couple of things that you will want to make sure you check before your dog joins any type of dog boarding facility. Check out the following steps to prepare and use this as a pre-arrival check list:
- Up-to-date vaccinations – all dogs need C5 vaccination certificate
- Worming/flea medication up-to-date
- Labelled medications to take during stay (put your dog’s name on everything)
- Clear instructions for special dog needs
- Amount of food/snacks if you are bringing your own from home
- Emergency contacts information
What should I bring with my dog when dog boarding?
Many dog boarding facilities have all the amenities your dog needs for their stay. However, it is always nice to carry a couple special items with them. The following is a list of items that you should give the dog boarding staff:
- Dog Bed, Blankets and Toys – Your dog will always feel more comfortable with their own things. A little piece of home can go a long way in the happiness of your pet while you’re away
- Medications – Your dog will need to continue to take their medication while you are away. Make sure you include this in your check list of things to bring to the dog boarding facility. Also it is super important to include a list of instructions for administering your dog’s drugs/fitness checks. This helps the staff understand how to properly care for your pooch.
- Contact Information (Yourself and a local friend) – Just in case their is any problem or if there are questions that come up along the trip, there is an easy way to contact you.
- Special Foods – Many dog boarding facilities supply a variety of dog foods. You might want to bring a snack or two that they really like more than anything else. You can always call ahead to double check what types of foods they have. To learn more about different types of dog food, check out our blog on Natural Dog Nutrition.
Are Canadian Dog Boarding Options Safe?
There are lot of things to look for when deciding where to leave your pet. Luckily, most facilities for Canadian dog boarding are great and care well for your pet’s needs. Make sure to take all these necessary steps. However, once done, trust that you have made a great decision and have a great vacation. You will probably find that you return home to a happy dog. They might have just had as much fun as you did!
Finally, its a good idea to find a dog boarding service that you love. Write down their contact information and next time you go out of town, use their services again. If your dog enjoyed their first stay, they will feel much more comfortable with their second one. Especially, if it’s at the same place and you can build trust with the staff! All in all everyone wins!
Have fun and enjoy your holidays! Your pets will too! 🙂
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