what to look for in the best dog boarding and daycare featured image

Have you been avoiding going on that much-needed vacation because you’re not sure where your dog will stay while you’re gone?

Are you skeptical of dog daycare facilities and feel uneasy leaving your pup in someone else’s care?

Well, you’re not alone. We’ve heard this concern over and over, and we’re here to put your mind at ease.

One must always be careful regarding their choices.

While surveys indicate an increase in the popularity of dog care facilities, there is not much data available on their legitimacy.

So, while we know that the United States has over 400 dog daycare facilities, it is difficult to say that all of them are trustworthy.

How can you be sure that your beloved dog will be safe and kept under appropriate conditions?

What are some questions you can ask the facility? Are there any things to watch out for when visiting a dog daycare?

What is the procedure for leaving your dog at a daycare for the first time?

These are just some of the questions we’ll address in this blog post. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

Top Qualities to Look for in Top Dog Daycare and Boarding

Suppose you’re leaving your child with a babysitter for an evening.

You would want to know their credentials and experience. You’d likely analyze their personality to learn more about them.

The same rules apply when choosing a dog daycare or boarding facility.

The difference is you’re more likely to be tricked if you’re not well-informed.

Knowing and understanding certain qualities will allow you to choose a facility that best suits your expectations, affordability, and your dog’s needs.

So, here are things to look out for when you’re touring potential choices.

We’ve organized them based on the overall theme of the concern.

interior of top dog daycare and boarding

Interior-Related Concerns

The environment where your doggo will be staying is crucial. This will ensure both physical safety and psychological well-being.

It is especially important when your pet is away from you for the first time.

They will likely wonder where you are and when you are going to return.

If your dog’s temporary home is a safe environment with loving caretakers, it will relieve most of the stress they are feeling.

If the place is poorly kept with unprofessional and ill-informed staff, they’ll likely feel out of place.

This will heighten their stress level, resulting in illness or triggering other health concerns.

To guide you further on the matter, we have devised a list of things you need to look out for when touring potential boarding and caretaking facilities.

Your doggo shouldn’t have to live in a poorly maintained place while you’re away.

Knowing that your pet is safe will allow you to enjoy your trip and wrap up business-related matters efficiently.

1.    Space

  • What does the room or kennel where your dog will be staying look like?
  • Is it spacious enough for your dog, their bedding, food bowl, and waste disposal?
  • How similar is it to what your dog is accustomed to at home?

The overall environment in terms of size will allow your dog to sit, eat, play, and do other activities comfortably while you’re away.

It may even assist in getting your dog’s mind off you and reduce stress.

There must be ample area to accommodate your dog and provide enough space for routine activities.

2.    Temperature

  • What is the temperature like in the facility?
  • Do they have the resources to tackle extreme cold or heat?

Such resources include air conditioning for when the weather is hot or appropriate clothes and heating for when the weather is cold.

Dogs have a body temperature that is only 3-4 degrees higher than humans.

So, if you feel comfortable in the facility, chances are your pet will too.

We suggest taking your time as you analyze the place. Don’t rush the process.

If you suspect that the temperature may be intolerable for your pet, you should ask the manager how they manage the situation with other dogs and what equipment they use.

safety in top dog daycare and boarding

3.    Safety

  • Is the area securely fenced?
  • Is the floor too slippery?
  • Are there any harmful chemicals nearby?

All these questions are essential to ensure optimum safety and security.

It is important to remember that dogs are creatures of fluctuating moods.

A sudden change in environment or new surroundings may increase their excitement and aggression levels.

So, we need to make sure everything is in order.

Personally speaking, I would avoid daycare or boarding if you have a puppy.

The risk is much greater as puppies require a lot of vigilance. Say hi to my pet dog, Leia, when she was just a puppy.

leia puppy to be boarded

4.    Cleanliness

Did you know that lack of hygiene is a cause of several diseases in dogs?

Cleanliness is just as essential for dogs as it is for humans.

Dogs also have different grooming rituals that they abide by to stay tidy. These include licking their bodies and rolling around.

Lack of self-grooming is a symptom of potential sickness.

Here are some things to look out for when determining the cleanliness of a facility:

  • Does the place look well organized?
  • Do you smell any foul odors? While the place may look well-maintained to the eye, it may be very smelly. This indicates a lack of proper sanitary conditions.
  • Do they have any policies regarding prior vaccinations?

Accepting dogs that are adequately immunized is a sign of high standards. This leads to reduced transmission of diseases.

Staff-Related Concerns

At the end of the day, the staff will make or break the experience for both you and your dog.

Enthusiastic staff members who are passionate about their job are indicators of an excellent facility.

5.    Qualification and Training

A qualified and well-trained staff is one of the components of a trustworthy doggy daycare.

If they do not know the intricacies of dog behavior, illnesses, symptoms of stress, and its management, they won’t be able to take care of your beloved pet.

Therefore, it is best to ask them about their:

  • Qualifications and certifications
  • The extent of expertise
  • Prior experience
  • Duration of experience
  • Size of staff

The number of staff is essential to make sure your pet will be well taken care of.

A few people catering to numerous pets will decrease the overall efficiency of their work.

Asking these questions will ensure you get the right place for your doggo and will also help build trust with the facility.

You will be free to enjoy as you please instead of stressing about what your pet might be doing.

6.    Grooming

Dogs generally groom themselves daily. So, this might not be so important if you’re going away for a day or two.

If your trip is longer than a week, your furry pet will require someone to bathe them, cut their nails, and brush their hair.

It is best to ask the management if they have a groomer that can cater to the dog’s grooming needs. Pet care comes first, after all!

7.    Vet Care

We already know that dogs may exhibit signs of separation anxiety while you’re gone.

One’s psychological well-being directly affects their physical health as well. This can lead to sickness.

Having veterinary care will allow the facility to manage and effectively treat the symptoms during the initial stages.

This will allow your dog to recover faster, and the illness will not persist.

This is why you should ask the following questions:

  • Is there vet care available within the premises?
  • What are the operating hours for this care?
  • Do they cater to dogs with special needs?
  • Is medication available on-site?
  • Can they manage different medications on request if they don’t stock them already?

While not all of these questions will apply to every dog, we want to give you a general idea of points to be mindful of.

You’ll need to evaluate your pet’s health and medical concerns (if any) and ask questions accordingly.

correction methods in top daycare and boarding

8.    Correction Methods

Correction methods in dog training refer to the way caretakers may manage a dog’s aggressive behavior.

Understanding what corrective methods your local doggy daycare or boarding facility might use is essential for your pet’s well-being.

This will allow you to compare their method with something your dog is used to.

It is worth mentioning that while we do not condone physical methods to regulate behavior, you can never be too sure with some facilities.

Instead of merely assuming, ask the boarding facility:

  • What kind of corrective measures do they use?
  • Do they use physical corrections to assert control? Are there any exceptions to this rule?
  • What do they use as a reward for encouraging good behavior?

Final Checks

Every doggy daycare or boarding facility is different. Make sure to clear up the following concerns before making your decision:

9.    Paperwork

  • Are there any documents that you need to bring with you?
  • Do they require your signature on any paperwork?

10. Temperament Test

  • Do they run a temperament test to learn the dog’s personality?
  • Will they be able to handle the dog’s aggression or stress?
  • Do they have prior experience with dogs of a similar nature?

11. Schedule of Reports

How often does the facility provide updates on:

  • How your dog is handling the separation.
  • Health issues if any arise.
  • Your dog’s overall eating and sleeping schedule.
  • Your dog’s daily activities.

dogs in top daycare and boarding

12. Variety of Dogs

Different breeds of dogs require different types of care. Some of them may not get along with others.

This is why it is important to know:

  • What type of dogs will be there at the facility
  • The total amount of dogs they entertain at one time.
  • How do they manage different breeds in one place?
  • Are vaccinations mandatory?
  • Do they go through a medical examination before accepting pets?
  • Is there a history of disease transmission at the facility?

Now, let’s move on to the final question:

Should You Trust Dog Daycare and Boarding Facility Completely?

Well, there is no right or wrong answer to this question.

While most are doing exceptional jobs at taking good care of your pet while you are away, some may be way too expensive while offering minimal quality.

First and foremost, you must know what you are looking for and choose one accordingly.

That was the purpose of our checklist: to determine your priorities when making your final decision.

If a facility is ticking off most boxes on the checklist, you can trust them to take good care of your pet.

What to Look For in Top Dog Daycare and Boarding: Final Word

Daycare and boarding can be a wonderful way to spend some time away from home while your pet is in safe hands.

You won’t have to worry about them falling sick or becoming aggressive.

They’ll be in the hands of trained and licensed professionals with years of expertise.

These professionals will be able to manage them easily.

Just make sure to choose a reliable facility. You can also check customer reviews with a simple Google search before making your decision.

This will give you a greater insight into how other people who love their adorable pets feel about the service.

Feel free to ask us questions in the comments below.

Do not forget to enjoy your vacation!

Your pet is in safe hands and will greet you when you return. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, after all.

READ NEXT: Dog Boarding Costs: Different Plans and Costs Explained

Chin has been working as a writer for more than a decade in various niches and now she's finally living the dream of writing something she's passionate about—dogs!