|(c) Carrie Boyko|
My Pack's Favorite Doggie Daycare
is an All-Inclusive Resort
- Traditional dog boarding at a Veterinarian: This is your first choice if your Rover has health problems that could quickly become life-threatening or dangerous. Think again if you have a young, healthy, social dog that needs plenty of exercise. He's likely to get a few potty breaks a day and come home with a ton of bottled-up energy to unload on you.
- Doggie Daycare: Most of these facilities board also, and they typically cater to highly-social dogs. If your Rover is not well-socialized, this may not be the place for him. Each has a different spin on their prices, what's included, their facilities, and the extras they can offer. Know what you need and ask questions. How much playtime and socialization time will Fido really get? Every facility is different; make no assumptions. Check out several in your area to choose the one that best suits your dog's needs for socialization, quiet time, and special services such as medications or grooming. Realize that the prices will vary greatly based upon the services that are included.
- Pet sitters: Now you're treading in scary territory, but often necessary. If your Fido is unsocialized, anxious, dominant, aggressive, or fearful, he'll most likely need to stay at home or with a vet. Consider his exercise needs, as well, and whether you require a professional dog walker to handle him, if he's a tough-to-walk Rover. Are you comfortable with leaving Fido alone for periods of time, and if so, how much freedom in the house will you give him? Choose a pet sitter based on referrals that include dogs with your own list of issues, and go over your needs with them in person, showing them everything they need to know while you are away. Know your sitter and his or her qualifications, as well as shortcomings. Many vet techs and vet nurses moonlight as pet sitters, but may not be available for daytime potty breaks. Some families choose to use a neighbor for daytime outings, and a pet sitter for meals and walks. You do have options. The knowledge that a veterinary health worker has of health issues is a plus, especially if your Fido is giving you any reason to be nervous. Watch for signs of illness before you leave, just in case you might need to change your plan at the last minute, to a vet boarding. Do you have a smoke alarm system that calls the fire department, and are your doors marked with information on your pets' presence? Does your pet sitter have backup in case of illness or other inability to show up? Consider leaving a key hidden just in case they lose or misplace their key to your home. Ask a neighbor to be their emergency backup. Finally, exchange cell phone numbers and run a test call well before you leave home. Realize that your destination may not have cell coverage, so plan ahead.
- House sitters: You're probably thinking this is the ideal setup, and often you would be correct. If you know and trust your sitter, and he or she has the skills to handle your dog's exercise, as well as potential character flaws and health issues, you're in business--maybe! Keep in mind that a house sitter may not be a "pet sitter" and know the difference before you commit.
Thanks to Julie F. of Bow Wow Resort for allowing us to photograph Tanner and Oliver's favorite place to play when mom's away!
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