Boarding Your Dog & Info Sheet
As any responsible doggy parent knows – information is essential when boarding your beloved pet, or employing a dog sitter while you are away.
When I travel I board my 3 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels at an establishment called Pup Culture. My dogs initially went there for grooming, and I was so impressed with the care and attention to details the staff showed that when it was time for me to travel I decided to board them at Pup Culture.
I have researched a variety of options including employing a pet sitter to stay in my home while I was away. For various reasons, I decided to send my Cavaliers to ‘doggy day care’.
Pup Culture boards many Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Some Cavaliers visit only for the day, others spend the night, and still others sometimes spend as much as a few weeks.
While visiting and considering any facility where you would board your pets, you want to have a list of questions. I composed a list of questions and answers that I asked when researching Pup Culture to help you initiate your own list.
Questions & Answers:
Q: Are the larger breeds and smaller breeds separated?
A: Yes. This is essential to reduce the amount of conflicts that can occur.
Q: What other smaller breeds usually visit and stay?
A: We have a variety of smaller breeds – Pugs, Boston Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers and mixed breeds. However in the past six months we have had a number of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who come for doggy day care. In fact, at one point we had up to 8 Cavaliers a day. This is always great because this breed tends to get along very well together.
Q: My dogs always sleep together. Is this possible at your facility so that they can maintain their normal night time routine?
A: Yes. (A delightful, young woman who was on staff guided me to the place where they would sleep. I felt comfortable with this arrangement.)
Q: Can I bring a few blankets, and their favorite toys? (Having something from home that has your scent on it, as well as something they recognize, such as a toy, will reduce the stress of being away from you. Some dog trainers believe that it is essential so that the dog knows that you are coming back for them.)
A: Yes. You can bring blankets, toys, and even bedding.
Q: How many times are they taken outside for a walk during the course of a day?
A: We walk each dog at least 3 – 4 times a day. We put them on a schedule which helps them to adapt.
Q: I feed my dogs 2 meals a day, breakfast and dinner. Would you be able to adhere to this schedule?
A: Of course. Most of our guests eat two meals a day, as well as a few treats throughout the day.
Q: My dogs eat special food that I will provide, but if for some reason you run out will you be able to get the same brand?
A: Yes. We also have a retail store and if our store does not stock that brand we will find it for you.
Q: My dogs are on daily medication. Will your staff feel comfortable giving the pills to my pets?
A: Yes. We also have a few other dogs that require medications, so our staff is very comfortable with giving medication.
Q: What paperwork do you require from me or my vet?
A: We want to confirm that they have had their vaccinations such as rabies and the kennel cough vaccine. You or your vet can e-mail or fax the documents to us.
Q: Can I call every few days to check in on my pets? (Some facilities also have a webcam available so if you have internet access you can see your pet.)
A: Of course, and if your pet has a special day, like a birthday, we have a little doggy birthday party, and we can e-mail you the photos.
Q: Will my dogs be given a bath or grooming before they come home?
A: As part of your package, we will give the dogs a bath and grooming before they are brought back to you.
These are the questions that I asked before my pets went to ‘doggy day care’, but you may have other questions that are specific to your dog. I also suggest the following:
- Forward your Doggy Boarding Information Sheet to:
o Your veterinarian
o A family member or friend
o Emergency contact person
- If you are boarding your pet for an extended period of time ask for an estimate of the cost. Sometimes if the facility has to purchase additional food the cost will be higher, but at least you will have an initial amount for your budget.
- If you are boarding more than 1 dog, and you are leaving for an extended period of time, you may want to ask if there are special discounts, such as membership rates. If your dogs are frequent guests, the facility will usually work with you on the total the cost.
- If you are not living in a large city, like New York, the facilities often have outdoor play areas. Make sure to inspect these areas for cleanliness and safety. Make sure your dogs have flea and tick protection.
- If your pet is not neutered or spayed, make sure that the facility accepts them. Many places do not want an intact male as this often causes fights and problems with marking.
- If you are boarding multiple pets make sure that the facility knows the description and name of each pet. Many facilities remove the collars and harness of their guests and use their own for walking. If the name of your pet is on the tags that are attached to the collar then the staff may not be able to remember the pet’s name. While most of the time this is not a problem, it is important for the staff that is administering medications and special food to identify each dog so that the proper instructions are followed. You may want to include a photo of your dog, as well as point out any distinguishing marks. My dogs do not always respond to their names, so I make sure that the staff who will be caring for my beloved pets know their names, and their identification marks. For example, Lulu Belle is larger than C.C., and has a round brown spot on the top of her head. I always remind the staff of this difference.
- Let the facility know if your dog has a microchip. This will help them if the dog accidentally escapes.
The sample sheet below should be given to the boarding facility before your trip so that they can review it and call you in case they have questions.
SAMPLE:Doggy Boarding Information & Instructions Sheet
Dates: May 23rd, 2011 – June 3rd, 2011
Pick Up: May 23rd at 3:00 p.m. The boarding facility will arrange to pick up my 3 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in a dog safe vehicle which includes crates for transporting my pets. I will also give the driver a bag with their food, blankets, medication, and a copy of the information sheet.
Drop Off: June 3rd, 2011 after 4:00 p.m. The boarding facility will arrange to drop off my 3 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in a dog safe vehicle which includes crates for transporting my pets.
Boarding Facility: PUP CULTURE
529 Broome Street
New York, NY 10013
Dog Parents Info: Mr. and Mrs. Smith
23 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
Veterinarian: Lincoln Square Veterinary Hospital
140 West 67th Street
New York, NY 10023
Vet – Name of the Veterinarian
Emergency Contacts: Mrs. Jones
123 May Drive
Doggy Information & Instructions:
• MEAL TIME:
o LuLu, C.C. and Riece eat Natural Balance Reduced Calorie Formula dry food. Please make sure to limit their meals to two small portions twice a day – once for breakfast and once for dinner.
o I have provided 3 bags of dog food for their stay.
o Doggy treats are fine during the course of the day, but I have not provided any for them.
• MEDICATION: Lulu and C.C. are both on medication. I have divided each of their medications into pill containers by the week, labeled them, and put them each in a separate bag for each dog. I have also provided additional medication in case I am delayed. If a problem arises please call my veterinarian, and she will give you instructions as to how to proceed.
o Medications should be given after breakfast on a full stomach. I have provided 5 bags of Greenie Pill Pockets which should be enough for their extended stay.
LuLu – One pill in the morning after breakfast on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
C.C. – First one pink pill, and then one small, white pill after breakfast every day.
LuLu, C.C. and Riece would like to sleep in the same location with the blanket provided from home.
- Trim nails (front, back, and dewclaws)
- Close sanitary trim
- Closely trim hair around the paws and tapper up their legs
All three of my dogs have a microchip for identification if they are lost.