What to look for in a boarding facility

You are going on a vacation or perhaps a business trip, you need someone to care for your companion while you are away. How do you choose a boarding facility? With so many kennels out there what should you look for? We at Currey’s are here to help you figure out what is important to look for when boarding your dog. The best possible place for your dog is with you, the next best is where you feel they are the safest. My personal goal is to provide proper education to all dog owners. Knowing where your dog is going to stay and the difference in the facilities available to care for your dog greatly vary. My main mission is to provide your dog with a safe, healthy, stress-free environment that is run by educated professionals, wanting what is best for your dog.

Indoor/Outdoor access kennels

Some Businesses do not take your dog outside or even have windows in their kennels. This can make boarding stressful for a dog when they are unable to go outside or even know if it is day or night.

Having indoor/outdoor access kennels gives your dog the option to come in or go outside as it pleases, preventing boredom and stress while promoting mental health and well being. Not all dogs utilize them, but having the ability to leave the sleeping environment can relieve so much stress.

Large outdoor play areas

The majority of kennels take dogs from one kennel to another, this is the extent of exercise your dog will get during his stay. Some kennels may have an indoor play room for your dog to exercise in, while other kennels will take your dog for short bathroom breaks, if you pay extra for them.

The ideal situation for your dog is to be able to get outside at least, three a day, for 20-30 minutes at a time. Dogs can stress with being forced to go to the bathroom indoors, especially in their sleeping area. The opportunity for your dog to run and play outdoors, while getting some fresh air and play promotes mental and physical health and reduces stress during your dog(s) stay.

Click to view dogs exercising in the outdoor play area:


Group or individual play sessions

Be sure to check if your dog will get a chance to socialize with other dogs, also inquire about the staff that will be monitoring the play sessions. Many facilities now offer group play sessions, but not many have staff appropriately trained to properly monitor play sessions and ensure the safety of the dogs.

Having group or individual play sessions, at least three times day, helps socialize your dog, burn energy, and promote mental and physical health. Getting a chance to go outside and play with other dogs makes a boarding stay a much more enjoyable, positive experience. Having fewer staff members with extensive behavior training ensures you will know exactly who is caring for your companion at all times. You should feel confident that they have the knowledge and expertise to properly care for your four-legged friend. Just because they don’t get along with others, they still can go out individually to sniff and go to the bathroom.

Click to view dogs during group play


Facility tours

Be wary of a boarding facility that is unwilling or hesitant to show you every area your dog will be in prior to your pet’s stay or will allow you to drop your dog off without prior visiting the facility. You wouldn’t drop your child off at a day care without knowing the facility/staff and your dog deserves the same treatment.

The most important visit is the pre-boarding visit, much like kindergarten round-up is to your child. Your dog may have boarded/stayed somewhere else, but not at our facility. Scent is language to your dog; the ability for them to familiarize themselves with a new environment and leave their own marking is paramount in keeping stress low. Letting your dog(s) see the facility and spend a few minutes in a kennel will help him to be more comfortable when it is time for him to stay overnight. You as the owner seeing the whole facility will allow you to feel more confident that your pet will be appropriately cared for while you are away.

We require ALL dogs that stay at our facility to come for a one-time pre-boarding visit. We simply schedule an appointment that is conducive with both of our schedules, have you bring your dog(s) for a short tour. Typically, it takes about 20-30 minutes, allowing your dog the opportunity to sniff around, you to see the facility, ask any questions, go over our facility amenities and put your dog in a kennel for a short time. The dog stays in the kennel while the humans go to the front to review paperwork and let your dog be alone in our kennel without you.

Stress is inevitable, but this process will minimize the stress of the first day greatly. Once we are done going over all our policies and procedures, one of our staff retrieve your dog without you so we can gauge how they will be without you here, then bring them back upfront to you. It may sound basic, but it puts the idea in the dog(s) head that you are still up front the entire time.

There is realistically no need for you to bring your dog for short stays to get use to the kennel before a longer visit. Not only will it cost you money, but it can have adverse consequences. From experience the first day can be the most stressful, especially if you drop them off for the day and will be essentially rewarded for the stress when you pick them up.

Generally, all dogs staying with us calm after the third day. They may not eat for a day or two, but once they realize the structure of the facility and have been outside a few times, most dogs relax and start eating. More dog owners stress about the dog(s) stay longer than the dog does. You are welcome to contact us to feel comfortable about your dog(s) stay.

Many of our clients have never boarded their dog(s) before or had bad experiences with other facilities. I am not to going to tell you that our facility is perfect for everyone, only you can make that decision.

Photos/Videos of your pet

Being able to ‘see’ your dog daily makes the separation much easier for you. You can see that your dog is comfortable and enjoying his “vacation”.

With websites like Facebook becoming more and more popular, it is enjoyable to log on and view photos/videos of your pet playing daily. No additional cost should be added because you want to know how your dog is doing. Join our Facebook page, call, text or email as we are more than happy to let you know how your dog is doing.

Click to view video of dogs of all sizes playing and relaxing


Food and Treats

Is food provided with your boarding cost? If so is the food a high quality brand? Does the facility have information on the food product for you to read prior to your pets stay? Does the facility provide daily treats for your dog? Do you or should you pay extra for this.

Having the option of high quality food and treats offered at no extra charge is convenient for you, and healthy for your companion. It is one less thing for you to worry about packing with all of the other concerns you have while preparing for your trip. There is no reason you should have to pay extra for someone to give your dog a treat at the end of the day, you do this at home and something so simple can keep the stress level down.

Dr Gary’s Best Breed (All Breed) is the food we provide in our kennel: http://www.bestbreed.com/. My experience has shown me that if your dog is on a good quality dog food from the start, switching brands shouldn’t have an adverse effect on your dog(s) stomach. Many dogs already have parasites like:

Coccidia http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2102&aid=727

Giardia http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2102&aid=739

The last thing I want is a dog getting or bringing home diarrhea, so if it happens we will recommend a treatment that will get rid of it very quickly. Your dog may have one of these already and from my experience not showing because of the quality of food you are feeding.

I don’t know your brand of dog food. There are so many dog foods these days, much like microbreweries. I do recommend that you visit: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/ as it will give you an independent/scientific review of your dog(s) food. You are always welcome to bring your own dogs food.

Vaccinations and preventatives

Many kennels require so many vaccinations and most dog owners have their dogs vaccinated yearly. Not all dog(s) and not all dog owners want their dog(s) to be vaccinated or can have their dogs vaccinated yearly. It is wise for you to have your dog vaccinated for the following: https://www.vetinfo.com/necessary-dog-vaccinations.html, but know that the law only requires you to vaccinate your dog for “Rabies” and must be done by a veterinarian (Local laws and regulations may vary). You as a pet owner can give your own vaccinations if you choose, just do some research and know there is always risk.

Some kennels require flea and tick preventatives and/or fecal testing done prior to your dog(s) stay. This can add-up very quickly to your vacation and overall boarding cost.

Not all vaccinations are needed as frequently as suggested, but again you should do some research to decide what you feel is best for your pet: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/vaccinations-your-pet Bordetella (Kennel Cough) http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2102&aid=452 in my humble opinion, I feel that the virus is everywhere, but generally doesn’t affect your dogs because they are not stressed. When placed in a kennel they are not familiar with, stress can let the virus take its toll. We do all we can to keep our environment as stress-free as we can and I can’t promise that your dog won’t contract any virus while they are here, just that it is your choice to make, not mine to impose.

I do require that your dog(s) have been vaccinated in the past three years and all dog(s) must have a valid rabies certificate. Many of our clients are very good about getting annual vaccinations and your dog(s) healthy return is very important to me.

Each kennel facility has different requirements for flea and tick preventatives. I again feel that it is owner’s choice to determine what chemicals they want to administer to their dog(s). We treat our facility during the summer with a spray applicator by “Cutters: http://www.cutterinsectrepellents.com/Products-and-Solutions/Backyard-Bug-Control-Concentrate/ReadytoSpray.aspx this helps us prevent fleas and ticks in the play environment.

I always suggest that you do your own research to determine what is best for your dog(s) health. I personally don’t treat my dogs for fleas and ticks on a regular basis as the environment your dog is in may not have them in the first place. Many new products are available through the monthly heart worm preventatives.

I strongly suggest that you administer heart worm preventative during the month’s mosquitoes are present and look to also have “Hook, Whip and Roundworm” preventative included:

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2090&aid=747 http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2090&aid=778 http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2090&aid=762

Most of these are poop related and your dog loves to eat poop (you can deny it all you want, but they will eat poop from other animals) or they will grab a stick or drink out of a puddle that has worms in it.

Hours of operation

You arrive home from your trip at 6:00 pm on Saturday evening, your kennel closed at 5pm and isn’t open on Sunday. Even though you miss your furry friend you are forced to wait until the kennel opens on Monday morning to pick her up. Not only does your companion have to wait longer than necessary to go home and see you, you have to pay unnecessary charges for the weekend.

The best place for your dog(s) is with you. Having a facility that is willing to provide you a reasonable option to drop-off/pick-up your dog 7 days a week, willingness to work with your busy schedule; means convenience to you, a happy dog(s) and less cost to your pocket book.

Cost and quality of care

Finally, what does a facility charge for its services and what do they provide for the cost? Do they charge extra for breaks, treats, or if your companion needs medication? Is your pet treated and cared for according to the amount you are willing/able to pay? Keeping your dog stress free, providing quality care, administering medication, giving theme treats at night shouldn’t be extra.

Boarding is essentially a hotel for your dog. We work to provide a flat rate per day that includes play sessions, food, treats, any medications or special care your pet may need. Your companion should be treated as an individual, should be well cared for and respected because you are trusting they will be properly cared for, not by how much you can afford, their breed or size.

We charge a flat rate, not by the size of the dog. Owners with multiple dogs are allowed to keep their dog(s) in the same kennel for a small additional increase. Please contact us for our rates.

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Please call and speak with us at (734) 532-2013 or via email at boarding@curreysfamilypetcare.com for more information. If you have any questions or concerns with boarding your dog, we will help you feel confident in choosing a boarding facility for your companion.