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Dog Sitter - Boarding Your Dog

Is a Dog Day Care Center Right For Your Dog

If you work long hours, or are going away on a trip, you need a dog sitter or a dog day care center. Taking care of a dog needs to include at minimum basic dog care; but try to find a sitter who does more and who cares about the dogs they are working with.

It's difficult being a dog owner and finding good alternative care for your pet. You want someone who will take good care of your dog and you want to feel that when you return your pet will be as safe and healthy as when you left.

Sometimes you will need a dog sitter or dog day care center for taking care of a dog that is recovering from surgery or an illness; your pet might normally be fine on its own during the day but not when recovering from illness.

A dog day care might work if qualified people are running the center, and if there is enough quiet space for your recovering dog.

Some dog day cares will do boarding overnight (not in an empty day care center - they will take the dog home with them). Make sure you get a clear idea of how the dog will be cared for during an overnight period.

Some dog sitters are willing to come to your home to take care of the dog and stay overnight if necessary. Make sure you check references carefully if you have someone staying in your home.

When choosing a place that boards or kennels dogs overnight make sure to visit it and see for yourself if it's clean, well maintained, safe. How are the animals in their care? Do they seem happy or scared? Are the kennels clean or dirty? Are the cats kept in separate areas?

If you can, see if you can have your dog stay overnight on a trial basis. Talk to the dog day care center owner or manager about how your dog behaved. See if your dog is afraid or shying away from the care givers when you come and pick the dog up (that's a bad sign).

Taking Care of a Dog: Basic Dog Care

Make sure that the facility insists that all boarders are up to date on their vaccinations. You don't want to expose your pet to any harmful diseases.

Many veterinary clinics offer boarding facilities. If you choose a vet as a dog sitter, make sure they have adequate help to care for the boarded animals. And make sure the boarding kennels are separate from the kennels where they place sick animals.

Ensure your pet's happiness and find out if the care program includes daily (preferably twice-daily) exercise and play time. Make sure they have adequate help to take care of the animals.

Your pet will need some human interaction, so find out how they offer this - someone always with the dogs or someone just checking in on the dogs.

Be sure to ask about the outside area and ask about their rate of escapees. You don't want your dog running off while they are outside. It has happened before, so make sure that your facility has good pens and can contain the dogs safely. Let them know if your dog is a fence climber. Most facilities will have roofed pens for 'climbers'.

Find out if boarding center has toys and treats. Then make sure to find out what kinds of toys and treats (for health and safety reasons). If your dog has allergies or is a picky eater, find out if you can supply your own food and treats and how they will make sure your dog gets it.

If your dog is on a special diet make sure the dog sitter is aware of it.

A good boarding place will allow you to bring your dog's blankets and bed. Find out what their schedule is for feeding, for play time and for bed time. Make sure it fits your dog's needs and discuss any issues you might have before you leave your dog.

Finding the Best Dog Day Care Center

Often your veterinarian will know the best boarding places, so ask them for recommendations. Make sure you let your vet know if you're happy (or not) with their recommendations when you pick your pet up.

A good website to visit to find out more about dog boarding is the American Boarding Kennel Association.

Our Recommendation: Dog Sitter

Over the years, we've had four dogs and though we like to take them with us whenever we can, it's not always possible. We've found that the best overnight care has been our dog walker.

Three days a week we have very long work days with no one in the house for over eight hours - that's too long for our dogs so on those days we've found a dog walker who comes to our home and picks up our two dogs and takes them out for a good run and play time for an hour each day. She's great with both dogs and when we go away, she boards our dogs at her house. Both dogs know her, like her, and it's never a problem for them.

We found our dog walker a number of years ago through our veterinarian. We do have to give lots of notice - not everyone wants to take two dogs overnight. But we pay a very reasonable fee and we know that our dogs are being well cared for - it's worth it!

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