#1 Will my dog have indoor/outdoor access?
The single most important thing to look for is that a dog can relieve itself when it needs to and not have to wait to be walked. It costs twice as much to build a facility that allows dogs the freedom to go outside when they need to. That is why most places don’t do it. Dogs waiting to be walked depends on staff remembering to walk them and walking them frequently enough, if at all. Staff usually leave at 5 and don’t return until the next morning. It could be 15 hours or more! That’s way too long to wait, not healthy and miserable for the dog. Many dogs won’t eliminate on a leash. Not being able to eliminate when needed causing UTI’s, constipation, diarrhea and discomfort. Some kennels don’t even walk dogs; they just expect them to eliminate in their kennels. Poor dogs, trying to hold it until they practically explode. No matter how cute it’s decorated, it’s still a miserable cell if you can’t relieve yourself when you need to. Look for a kennel that was designed with a dog’s comfort in mind.
At PlayStayTion all rooms have indoor outdoor access.
Read about our boarding packages here.
#2 How much will my dog get out of the kennel into fresh air and sunshine?
Make sure the facility takes dogs outside to play and take walks. It’s imperative for a dog’s physical and mental health to spend time outdoors every day! Being indoors 24 hours a day causes stress and depression. Make sure the outdoor areas have stimulating things for dogs to do while outside. Don’t select a place that puts dogs out on dirt or gravel because they harbor untold diseases and fleas.
At PlayStayTion every dog gets outdoor time (weather permitting) on sanitized astro turf or large grassy areas.
#3 For safety, are fences made from welded wire or cyclone?
Dogs can chew through and unwind cyclone fencing. Make sure all doors and gates have a double entry system (2 doors or gates at each point of entry) so that if a dog gets past one gate, the next gate will prevent it from escaping. Make sure there’s cement under all fencing and gates so pets cannot dig out and become lost in an unfamiliar area.
At PlayStayTion all fencing is welded wire over concrete borders.
#4 What do you use to clean? Bleach? Something else? Or non-toxic products?
There should be little to no urine or feces in kennels and common areas. Ask to see what kind of cleaning products are used. The dog boarding facility should use a hospital grade disinfectant to kill surface bacteria. At PlayStayTion Pet Resort, we don’t use bleach because it can burn dogs’ lungs, paws and mouths. So, when you are interviewing prospective kennel operators, don’t forget to ask if you can drop by unannounced. The dog boarding facility administrator’s answer will tell you volumes about how well the facility is run and how the dogs are treated.
At PlayStayTion we use a human hospital grade disinfectant that kills bacteria without harming pets.
#5 Is the facility climate controlled and do you use an air sanitization system?
Most contagious diseases are air borne which means that they travel through the facilities’ air conditioning and heating system. Make sure the boarding facility has a UV Air Sanitizer installed in their heating/cooling system. We use Apco Air Sanitizer Systems to kill germs and bacteria. These are expensive pieces of equipment that kill air borne germs. The facility should have a sign indicating that they have one in use in each building and that the bulbs are within date.
At PlayStayTion our UV Air Sanitizer work continually and the bulbs are changed frequently.
#6 How many dogs do you allow to play together?
Don’t be fooled by videos of dozens of dogs playing in a yard or pools full of Golden Retrievers. If you’ve had any experience with dogs, you know that fights break out, and when they do, all breeds of dogs jump into the fray. It’s hard enough to separate two dogs in a fight but 3? 6? 10? It’s a recipe for disaster. Instead choose a place whose policy is to only allow two dogs to play together and ALWAYS under supervision.
At PlayStayTion we only allow housemates or a maximum
of two carefully introduced and supervised dogs
to play together.
#7 Do you offer other activities, beyond play yard time, designed with dogs’ interests in mind?
Dogs need to exercise AND get mental stimulation every day. Pick a place that offers many interesting activities. Make sure you see a staff that is large enough to not only feed and medicate twice a day but spend many hours loving and playing with the pets.
At PlayStayTion we offer Agility, Dock Diving, Doggy Puzzles, Golf Cart rides Lure Courses, Massages, Nature Hikes, Swimming and Tennis Fetch.
#8 Are you all-inclusive or will you be charging me for each individual thing like activities, special feeding and medicating?
Many places appear inexpensive at first but then when they total up all the extras, it costs way more. Many places today don’t provide dog food or treats, charge you for special diets and administering your medication as well as for activities. Pets need to be busy while you’re away. Be sure that you’ve accounted for all the extras before you compare the final cost. All Inclusive resorts know how many pets they need to entertain a day and are staffed accordingly. Resorts with optional plans often have staff running on a shoe-string attempting to cover the random request for an activity. Often you don’t know if your pet got the activity or not.
At PlayStayTion we make sure every dog gets every daily activity without you paying extra.
#9 Are you open every day of the year and is someone always there?
Dogs need care 365 days a year so look for a place that is open 365 days a year. Be wary of places that are closed on weekends or have limited weekend hours or close on holidays. You’ll be much happier if you can drop off your pet any day of the week or pick it up whenever you get back. Dogs need quiet time and rest at night so being open at night isn’t necessary, just make sure that there is a staff member on duty or someone lives on site.
At PlayStayTion, we are open 365 days a year so you can drop off or pick up your pet whenever you like.
#10 Do you love animals enough to volunteer or is this just a business for you?
Does the place donate significant time and resources to needy animals? This speaks volumes about a business. People who help animals show that animal welfare is important to them. It’s much more likely this type of business will go over and above the call of duty to make sure that your pet is well taken care of, even if it’s not always profitable.
At PlayStayTion we volunteer at several animal rescue organizations.