Before you make decisions in life, you often "do your homework" to make sure you consider all options. The same should be true for choosing a place to care for your furry loved one. Not all options are equal. Below is a list of things you should ask or consider (in no particular order) when deciding the best place for your family member:
1) Cleanliness - when you enter the facility, is there an inviting aroma or does it smell like "dog"? Not all places that care for dogs have to smell like dogs. Facilities that invest in proper air flow systems and properly disinfect daily should not have an odor.
2) Dog-to-Caregiver Ratio - are there dogs unattended? Would you consider that "safe play"? In case of a dog fight or injury, how quickly would a staff member be able to address the situation? Dog fights and/or injuries happen very quickly in off-leash play. If not properly supervised, your dog could sustain serious injury.
3) Convenience - does the location work for you? Does the staff make drop-off and pick-up a seamless experience? Do they offer extended hours in case you may have a late work night or get stuck in traffic? Do they send email reminders about appointments, vaccinations, etc? Do they offer the services you need?
4) Staff - does the staff appear interested in the dogs they are caring for? Are they properly supervising play time and engaging with the dogs as necessary? Sometimes it is not safe for staff members to engage in play but rather watch as the dogs interact with each other. Safety should be the number one priority.
5) Emergency plans and preparedness - is the location easily accessible in case of an evacuation? Is it equipped with back up power should there be a loss of electricity? Does the facility have a plan in place in case of emergency?
6) Ownership - who owns the facility? Is the owner not only present, but active in the business? If needed, do you have access to the owner in case an issue arises? Does the owner take the time to know you/your dog?
This is just a snapshot of questions you should consider when deciding the best place for your dog. As a member of your family, you should take the time, visit the facility and ask the questions. Researching Facebook and other social media outlets is great also! It will show you other clients perspectives and help you get an idea of how the facility is operated.