Boarding Tips from the Top

The pros weigh in on boarding

Spot sought out regional leaders in their fields who are expert on boarding. While each has enough expertise and opinion to fill the following pages all by themselves, we asked each of the four to boil it down, giving us their 3 top guidelines when dealing with pet boarding.

Countryside Pet Spa

  1. Always tour the facility. Meet your pets’ caregivers and get a feel for the atmosphere and amenities they offer. See if it is a good fit for you & your pet. 
  2. Attitude. Your pet will pick up on your feelings about putting them in someone else's care. Keep an upbeat and happy attitude as you pack up your pet for his or her stay at the spa.
  3. Bring something familiar from home. A favorite treat, toy or blanket with your scent on it will help your pet feel more relaxed and comfortable. Now enjoy your vacation, relax, have fun, and be assured your pet is in the capable hands of a professional.

Countryside Pet Spa is dedicated to providing creative ways of caring for peoples’ precious and beloved pets. On our 10-acre wooded setting we provide comfort-controlled lodging for all breeds of dogs and a separate spacious cattery with a bay window playroom for our feline guests. XM musical entertainment is played for all our guests. Pets may be pampered in the grooming spa or go for a romp in the indoor play arena. More robust guests like a hike on the nature trails. Most holidays feature a special event pets can participate in, and the day can be concluded with a '"snack & snuggle" tuck-in. Warning: Your Pet May Not Want To Leave!

luckydog day & night care

  1. Always tour the facility. Meet your pets’ caregivers and get a feel for the atmosphere and amenities they offer. See if it is a good fit for you & your pet. 
  2. Visit the facility. A personal visit is essential in determining whether a facility will be satisfactory to you. During your visit, observe or ask about the following:
    • The overall general appearance of the facility should look neat and smell clean, period.
    • Ask where your dog will stay and what size the kennel will be.
    • Ask about what your dog will do during the day.
    • Ask about the staffs’ credentials, exerience, and training. For example: If you have a fearful or shy dog, how will the staff handle the dog?
    • What are the acceptance policies?
    • Are all breeds allowed?
    • What are the vaccine requirements?
  3. Trust your Instinct. Go with your gut feeling and trust your instinct. You are your dog’s advocate and ultimately must choose the safest option for your pet. By doing your due dilagence the right choice will come naturally. When it comes time to drop off your dog for his/her boarding stay, you can rest assured that you have made the most informed choice possible.

luckydog day & night care was established in September 2005 by Mandie O’Neill and her dogs Lucky, Stout and Suzie. Located in Eugene, Oregon, luckydog offers dog daycare, nightcare (boarding), dog walking, training, and grooming. luckydog leads the daycare, boarding and grooming industry by offering a healthy and safe environment where dogs of all sizes and shapes can come for daycare or a sleepover, all the while having fun in the company of other dogs.

Laurel Acres

  1. Planning. When choosing a boarding kennel, tour the entire facility during business hours without an appointment. Check for cleanliness, spaciousness, a natural indoor/outdoor climate-controlled environment, and a caring and qualified staff. Choose an established facility that offers other activities and amenities specifically for dogs. Make reservations well in advance, especially for holidays, and keep your dog’s vaccinations and parasite preventative up-to-date.
  2. Check-In. Take your time. Thoroughly inform the staff of any unusual or behavioral quirks and compatibility with other dogs. Disclose previous or current injuries and surgeries. If you wish, bring your dog’s bed, toys, food, treats, etc. Provide written instructions for feeding and for medication if necessary. Discuss your choice of veterinarians and emergency contact should your dog become ill. Remember, the more information you provide in advance, the better prepared the kennel will be for your dog’s quality care.
  3. Going Home.  Expect to be able to call or email to find out how your dog is enjoying his/her vacation while you’re gone. Then, when checking out, you should receive feedback on your dog’s stay. Your pet will be happy to see you and should look good, feel good and smell good. There will be lots of tail-wagging and enthusiasm. Also, your dog will probably be very tired. There is usually much more stimulation in a kennel environment than at home. Now prepare for your dog’s next worry-free vacation.

Next year, Laurel Acres Kennels will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Naomi (the original owner) and Hal Shorr are still actively involved in the business. They have been in the dog world for many years, on their respective parent club’s Board of Directors, and are conformation judges for The American Kennel Club. Laurel Acres Kennels is capably managed by Omi Strauser (manager) and Laura Trump (assistant manager).

Waggin' Inn

  1. Visit the kennel.  You should be able to do this without an appointment. Check for cleanliness, security, and safe environment. Take your pet with you, and see how he/she interacts with staff. Note how staff acts with your pet. Visit more than once if you can. Be aware that staff involved in caring for animals may be sidetracked with that. That’s okay: the animals are our number one consideration. Check with your vet, groomer and other pet professionals for recommendations. Visit more than one kennel. Make boarding reservations as soon as you have firm dates.
  2. Ask about staff knowledge and experience.  High turnover of employees can affect the care your pet receives. Ask about special needs, such as medication, diet, or any other concerns you might have. Learn how new pets are made calm and comfortable. If you are there when animals arrive or leave, note their behavior and even ask their owners about their experience. Check on your animal while you are away.
  3. Maintain your animal’s regular diet.  It's always best to maintain your animal's regular diet, especially when introducing him/her to a higher stress situation than being home. Make a list of the things for staff to be aware of. Include everything you can think of: allergies, medical problems, temperament concerns such as anxiety or fear of loud noises. Make sure to provide information about anything that will stress your pet in writing — we can get very busy, and do not want to forget anything; your notes are helpful and easy to check. Find out how the kennel deals with these problems, and whether they offer play times, or time outside the kennel. Make sure you can bring things from home, like beds, toys, or anything else that makes your animal comfortable. Check to see how your animal is made comfortable at the kennel, such as heating, cooling and music.

Claymore Waggin Inn has been in business for over 35 years, owned by John and Donna Archer for the last 10. John and Donna are both involved in rescue, working with special needs animals, frequently working with other rescue organizations as advisors or consultants, and caring for animals from other rescues until foster homes are available.