Petfolk asked Skiptown, Charlotte’s dog bar, daycare, boarding, and grooming facility, a few questions on how to prepare your pup for boarding.
What’s the difference between doggy daycare and boarding?
The most significant difference between doggy daycare and boarding is how long your pup stays. For doggy daycare, the dogs are onsite during the day but do not spend the night. Their parents drop them off in the morning and pick them up at night. This is ideal for pups whose parents work in an office; the pups greatly benefit from the enrichment provided by the group play environment. Boarding is ideal for when a pup’s parents will be out of town for consecutive days and want personalized and loving care for their pups while they’re gone. At Skiptown, all of our boarding pups also participate in the same group play activities as the daycare pups - the only difference is that when 7pm rolls around, they’re having a doggy sleepover instead of going home with their parents!
How do I pick a boarding facility?
Dogs can experience anxiety from fear, aging, and separation. You can experience it, too, when planning a trip and deciding where to board your dog. It's hard to leave your furry best friend, but it's often necessary or desirable so that you can leave town. Before you sign up for anything, here are eight questions you should ask when boarding your dog somewhere new. Once you get the answers, you will rest assured that your pup has found a new home away from home!
- Ask Details About Kennels - Your dog will spend a fair amount of time in their kennel while you're out of town. When assessing a facility, ask what the kennels are like. Does each dog have their own kennel? If so, is there an option to host both of your dogs in the same one if you so choose? It's important that your little one has a climate-controlled space that's big enough for them to be comfortable. They should also be regularly cleaned and have clear identification so that the staff knows exactly which dog is yours.
- Get the Scoop on Care Practices - You should have an idea of what type of care your dog will receive during their stay. Ask if staff is on-site around the clock to make sure there's always some level of supervision present. At Skiptown, there is someone onsite 24/7 to ensure that your pup is taken care of at their home away from home! In terms of feeding, you should ask if you can drop off your own food for your pup. Dogs can get sick when you abruptly change their food. If you can't bring your own, it's best to know ahead of time so that you can acclimate your dog to the food they'll be eating at the facility. It's also helpful to ask how often and what time they'll be fed, as it's ideal to keep your dog's schedule on track.
- Find Out the Daily Schedule – Ask about the care routine for your dog before choosing a care provider. You'll want to know how often your pup is taken out, when they get playtimes, and how often they'll receive a walk.
- Consider The Reputation Of The Facility – You do not want to take your dog to a facility with a bad reputation or no expertise and experience handling dogs. Be sure to ask about the training of the dog handlers.
- Ask What's Required On Your Part – Typical requirements for dog boarding are things that you already do. This includes providing a collar with an ID tag, a microchip for identification, and up-to-date vaccinations. The shots needed to board a dog are known as core vaccines, which include Canine parvovirus, Distemper, Canine hepatitis, and Rabies. Some facilities also require non-core shots, which include vaccines against Bordetella, Borrelia, and Leptospira. This is because dogs are more at risk for spreading diseases when they're around other dogs. Ask what your pup needs ahead of time so that you can gather the documentation. Some facilities will get it on your behalf from your veterinarian to make your life a little easier. You should also ask about the age requirements, as well as if they should be spayed or neutered.
- Ask About Available Services When Boarding a Dog – You can expect dog boarding to include an overnight stay at your desired length. Ask ahead of time how long you can continuously board your dog so that you can plan your trip accordingly. Be sure to ask about the other available services whenever considering dog boarding. This includes walks, grooming, self-serve dog wash stations, and daycare. That way, you can use the same facility for most of your pup's needs. Plus, you may be able to meet your own needs at the same time. At Skiptown, parents can add grooming services to their boarding appointment so that their pup is smelling and looking great when it’s time to go home!
- Figure Out What Pricing Includes and How to Book – You should have a clear answer to the question, "How much does it cost to board a dog?" before you jump in. Be sure to ask exactly what the price includes so that you have realistic expectations. At Skiptown, you can choose between a standard boarding or a luxury upgrade. A standard boarding experience is $25/night and $29/day which includes comfortable kennels for your dog, regardless of their size, and a full day of our doggy daycare program. Be sure to ask about drop-off and pick-up times, as well as holiday fees. If you have multiple dogs, be sure to ask about the discounts available. In terms of booking, you should expect a simple and straightforward process. Ask if you can book online or through an app to make the process quick and easy.
- Get a List of Add-Ons – Once you know what's included in the standard and luxury packages, ask about add-ons that will make your dog's experience even better. At Skiptown, you can choose from a list of treats, cuddle time, seasonal photos, and grooming to make sure your pup is extra pampered during their stay!
How far in advance should I book my pup’s stay?
Typically, it’s best to book as far in advance as possible, especially when the holidays roll around and everyone is looking for boarding! However, every facility will be different and it’s best to call and ask about availability when exploring your options. In some cases, facilities will have last-minute availability due to cancellations, so don’t be afraid to call and ask what’s available!
How should I prepare my dog for boarding?
It’s always a good idea for you to visit the facility prior to your pup’s appointment which gives your dog the opportunity to get familiar with the location and ease any first-day jitters that might have had otherwise. At Skiptown, we have a dog bar and park on-site, so visiting with your pup allows them to get familiar with the location while you enjoy a tasty drink! Win-win. If the facility doesn’t allow you to provide your own food, it's best to know ahead of time so that you can acclimate your dog to the food they'll be eating at the facility.
What of my dog’s items should I bring to the boarding facility?
Every facility has a different policy on what your pup can bring with them when they are being boarded. If the facility allows you to provide food, make sure to pack enough food for all of their meals. Don’t forget to pack any important medication and instructions on how to administer it to your dog. At Skiptown, we allow all dogs to bring a small comfort item, such as a blanket or a t-shirt, to remind them of home as well!
Thank you to Skiptown for their excellent and informative primer on the differences on boarding your dog. We encourage pet parents to take this comprehensive checklist with them when they are looking for daycare or boarding services for their best friend.