How To Pick A Dog Boarding Facility

How To Pick A Dog Boarding Facility

Dog boarding facility for when on vacation

We all love to go on vacation, take a little trip away from real life. But leaving behind your beloved four-legged family members can be extremely difficult. It truly feels like no one can take care of them quite like you can. Luckily there are more and more highly qualified pet boarding facilities popping up every day. But how do you wade through them all and find the perfect place for your fur baby? It is no easy task, but we have put together thorough instructions on how to go about picking your pet’s next home away from home.

Where To Start Finding A Good Pet boarding facility

The easiest way to find a ton of results is by googling it. But Googling “dog boarding Vancouver” gets you over 605,000 results. So there is a lot of narrowing it down to do. First, figure out what kind of boarding your dog will need. Consider your dog’s needs and personality: does your dog get along with other dogs? Is your dog friendly with strangers? Does your dog have a lot of energy? Is your dog on any medication? Is your dog comfortable in a crate or will that stress him out?

There are a couple of different types of boarding facilities out there. Some house multiple dogs in a facility much like a resort. Others offer in-home boarding where your dog stays in someone’s home. Some companies even offer pet sitting services, in which a staff member will stay in your home while you’re away.

Once you decide which arrangement is best for you and your dog, you can make your Google search a bit more specific. “Dog boarding resort Vancouver” gives you only 163,000 results, which is way lower but still too many. Don’t just go for the top result though, now it is time to do some research. Check out their websites and social media. Read their online reviews. Ask your friends, family, trainer, or veterinarian if they have heard anything about the facility. People love to share when they have had a bad experience, so you will get a very good idea of what each facility is like. Just remember that not every bad review has merit and there are always two sides to the story.

Now that you’ve narrowed your search down to a few choices, what comes next? Tour the facility! Any reputable boarding facility will allow you to come in for a full tour of the facility to show they operate openly and humanely.

Dog boarding Jet Pet Resort

Facility Tour Time

You should be able to see every part of their facility during the tour. However, some places may not let you go where the dogs are because it can be very stressful for some dogs to have strangers coming and going. Ask about this when you book your tour, if that is the case, they should be able to offer you a tour time when you are able to see everything. If they can’t offer that, it is a possible red flag that they could be hiding something. That is why you will want to tour a few facilities before deciding on one.


Questions To Ask During Your Tour

  1. What are the staff’s qualifications? How much training do they get? Do they have training in pet first aid? Does someone stay with the dogs overnight? What is their ratio for the number of staff per dog during the day? You will want to find a place that has at least 1 staff member there per 10 dogs.
  2. What are their cleaning procedures? Are the cleaning products pet friendly or can they be toxic? How often do they clean the kennels, beds, blankets, bowls, floors, play area?
  3. Playground equipment, toys, bathroom areas, etc.
  4. What are the daily routines like? When and where do the dogs sleep, eat, play, and go to the bathroom? How much exercise do they get during the day? Do they get open play with other dogs or do they go for on-leash walks?
  5. What do they do to keep your pet safe? Do they require vaccines and flea prevention medication? Do they do behaviour assessments on the dogs before they can stay there? How do they decide who your dog gets to play with? What do they do if there is a dog fight? What do they do if your dog gets sick? Do they have a vet on staff or nearby? Can they accommodate all of your dog’s special needs?
  6. Lastly, if you’re going away over an actual holiday ask what their max capacity is. Most kennels get fully booked during the holidays and may need to change how they operate. The more dogs there are in one facility can increase the odds of contagious diseases being spread, fights or injuries occurring, or even just less personal attention being given to each dog. So ask if they bring in more staff during those times to accommodate the extra dogs and cleaning needs.

What to look for when boarding your dog

You will want to make sure that all of their answers to the above questions match what you are seeing. Pay close attention to the cleanliness of the facility, how many staff members you see, and how comfortable the dogs there appear to be. It is common for dogs to get stressed out when boarding. However, if every dog you see there appears stressed out, then maybe there is something there causing that. Common signs of stress in a kennel can include pacing, shaking, shivering, bed chewing, isolating themselves from the group, excessive jumping, whining, crying, barking, or humping. If you see a lot of this going on during your tour, ask the staff about it. Do they do anything to help reduce the dog’s stress?

Boarding a dog


Booking Your Dog’s Stay

Do they pass all of your questions? Then book your dog in! It is always recommended to book your dog in for one overnight a couple of weeks before your planned holiday to see how well your dog does there. Imagine finally getting to your destination only to find out your dog is having issues at the kennel and someone needs to pick him up! Giving your dog one test night before your big trip will allow you and your dog peace of mind while you’re away.

When looking for a place to board your dog, find somewhere that really cares about your pet. While pricing can be a huge factor for most people, you cannot put a price on the safety, health and comfort of your best friend. In the end, doing the research and finding the right facility will give you peace of mind and ensure that you and your pet are happy while you’re away! Good luck!

Also, find out why Jet Pet Resort is the right place for your fur baby during your next vacation. If you’ve already decided that, check out our dog boarding checklist to make sure you have packed everything your pooch will need.

Boarding a dog with ease

Written by: Rachelle Biever CPDT-KA