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Dog Boarding - great tips and resources to check out for your dog

Country Dog Boarding – Vacation for Your Dog!

fiesta at the farm - sq

Fiesta at the farm

We’ve always wanted to know about country dog boarding. We hear that it’s basically vacation for your dog. So if you have to go away for work or play and can’t bring your dog, why not give your dog a vacation too!

Dogsized recently interviewed Fiesta about her stay at a country dog boarding facility near NYC:

Hi Fiesta!
We heard you recently stayed on a farm near NYC, while your parents were vacationing. Can you tell us a little bit about the farm and country dog boarding?

Yes! It’s a 4 acre farm that was formerly an equestrian’s playground. It’s run by Tribeca Pet Services. The owners, Matt and Diane, are super nice and seem to have built their lives around dogs. Diane is NY State Licensed Vet tech and Matt is a Certified Dog Trainer. In addition to their farm, they run a dog walking and dog training service in Tribeca.

How did you get to (and from) the farm?
We travel with the owner, Matt. He picks me up from my apartment and we get into his 15 passenger vehicle that has been customized for me and the other dogs that are heading off to the farm. It’s got AC and I travel in a crate. They are certified by the USDA for pet transport, which means they had to register and study about animal welfare during transport, plus their vehicle gets surprise inspections annually by the USDA.

What were the sleeping arrangements like at the farm?
Since my first stay at the farm, I’ve stayed in Matt and Diane’s main home and I’ve stayed in their state of the art barn with the other dogs. The barn has AC and heating, and has flat screen TV’s and couches in each stall so I’m totally at home.
The stalls are huge (made for horses) so I normally sleep with one or two other dogs of the same size and personality as me. There is also a human that sleeps in the barn with me overnight. This is great because I like knowing there is always a human around. I also get relief bathroom breaks as much as needed overnight.

What kind of dogs were at the farm?
There are all types of dogs from Lower Manhattan that come to the farm. There are quite a few from my building and friends that I know from local the dog parks. Check out this video to see some of the dogs at the farm:

Any ideas on how many dog visitors/customers stay at the ranch at one time?
I think there are always 15 visitors or less at the farm. It’s a private place, not a store front or traditional kennel.

How’d you like the food?
Well, Matt and Diane have all the dogs bring our own food because we are all on such different diets. When I’ve had an upset tummy Diane has made white rice for me and will even heat my food up in the microwave. They’re so nice!

What was your favorite thing about the farm?
Definitely being able to play outdoors a lot, run in the grass and be free. They have a swimming pool for me and my friends, although I don’t swim much.

Would you recommend it to our Dogsized fans?
Absolutely! I totally loved it! You can see me running around here with Kameha:

Need Tips on What To Ask and Do Before Sending Your Dog to a Boarding Facility? Check out our post Dog Boarding – taking care of your dog while you are away!

How to Find a Dog Walker

How to Find a Dog WalkerIf you’ve recently moved to a new city with your dog or have a new dog, you probably need to find a dog walker. It’s always good to ask your neighbors for recommendations, but you probably want to do your own research as well. We recommend looking on Yelp and doing a Google search for your neighborhood. Read the reviews – this will really give you some insight on potential dog walkers. Some businesses will only provide dog walking and others will have a retail/doggie daycare facility that also provides dog walking. Here’s our list of tips to find a dog walker:

Questions to Ask A Potential Dog Walker

  • Do you provide single/individual dog walks?
  • If you provide group walks, how many dogs you do walk at the same time? Personally, we don’t recommend more than 3 dogs at a time.
  • With group walks are large and small dogs separated?
  • What is the price for single vs group walks?
  • What are the different prices for the length of time, i.e. relief break, 30 min walk, 60 min walk?
  • How far will they walk your dog? Depending on the energy level of your dog, this is important to establish. We have a younger dog and don’t want the walker just to go around the block and let our dog sniff everything – the dog needs some exercise.
  • Do you have any credentials? What’s their experience walking, training and/or handling dogs?
  • Are they bonded and/or do they have insurance?
  • Do they have emergency procedures?
  • Do they ask for your vet’s details and a release form so they can send your dog to your vet in case of an emergency?
  • Do they ensure your dog has all the required vaccines / shots?
  • Will they take photos of your dog? This can be nice as you can see what your dog is doing during the day. However, we had a bad experience with this, as the dog walker took loads of photos of our dog and then put it on their blog with various personal comments about our dog. We wouldn’t have minded 2 or 3 photos, but they clearly went over professional boundaries.

Other Items to Consider in Selecting a Dog Walker

    • Price – How does it fit into your budget?
    • Price – How much will a potential dog walker charge?
      Is it in line with the average dog walking prices in your area?
how to find a dog walker

You DON’T want this for your dog!

 

  • If you want your dog to have a group walk, will the dog walker be bringing other dogs into your building / apartment? Some buildings do notallow outside dogs (from dog walkers) to come into the building.
  • Make sure your dog meets the potential dog walker. The walker and your dog should have some rapport.
  • Determine a pick up and drop off routine.
    What time(s) will the dog walker walk your dog?
    Will your dog be crated or free in the home?
    Do you want thedog walker to give your dog food or water (this might be an extra charge)?
    Do you want your dog’s paws wiped off when they come back from the walk (this might bean extra charge)?
  • Does the dog walker require a key to your home or can you have your doorman (if applicable) keep the key and give it out/pick it up from the dog walker. Our preference is to not give a key and have our doorman handle it. If you do give a key, remember to have a “do not duplicate” stamp on it.
  • Determine payment terms. Are you paying in advance? Can you get a package discount (e.g. 10 walks for 15% less)? Can you pay online (e.g. Paypal) or via credit card?
  • The relationship should preferably be written into a contract so the terms and conditions are clear.

 

DogVacay – an Airbnb for your dog

dogvacayGoing on vacation and can’t take your dog? Is your typical dog boarding place all booked? You should check out DogVacay. It’s essentially the same business for dogs as Airbnb is for people.

How Does it Work?

1. Find a Dog Sitter in Your Neighborhood
They have thousands of trusted and insured dog lovers in their network across the country and are ready to watch your dog like a member of their family. Simply search your city and state and begin browsing through DogVacay Hosts in your area.

2. Schedule, Book & Pay Online
Rates start at $25/night and all reservations include FREE pet insurance, 24/7 customer support, and daily photo updates.

3. Bring Your Dog to your DogVacay Dog Sitter
Knowing your dog is being loved and cared for in a cage free environment while you’re traveling can really put you at ease. The Vacay Dog Sitter will send you daily photo updates of your dog so you know they’re happy. It’s also great to know that  your dog is covered by the DogVacay Guarantee which includes free pet insurance, 24/7 Concierge Service and emergency support.

Can you meet the host before before you leave your dog with them?

While DogVacay provides Dog Sitter photos, verifications, reviews, and you can email the potential DogVacay Dog Sitter. It’s possible to schedule a Meet-N-Greet. Choose a Dog Sitter that suits your needs and DogVacay will share with you the host’s contact information and you can arrange an in-person meeting before your stay.

dogvacay

For full disclosure, we haven’t used DogVacay ourselves, but it really does look like a great service option and they have quite a lot of news about them for you to review at http://dogvacay.com/press . Here’s a little video that explains their services:

 

Dog Boarding – taking care of your dog while you are away

Dog boarding – sometimes you need to have your dog boarded while you are away. Maybe your friends or family are too busy or away. Some people have pet sitters, but they are not always available during the holidays. While it’s great to take your dog on vacation / trips, sometime you just can’t bring them with you. So we’ve come up with a list of things you will want to ask and do before sending your dog to a boarding facility.

dog-boardingGo Visit

We think it’s super important to visit the facility first. You’ll want to see how clean it is an how it’s maintained. Where are the dogs are kept during the day and at night? What other dogs are at the dog care facility? Do you like the dog handlers? Do they have all the appropriate licenses and training?

For our dog, we prefer a boarding facility that is cage free and has private stalls and a den for the pack. Some friends send their dog to an ranch where the dogs sleep outside like horses do in stalls. Every dog is different, so find a place that works for your and your dog’s lifestyle.

Questions to Ask About Dog Boarding Care

  • Are all dogs required to have a personality test / examination before they stay at your facility?
  • What is the dog to handler ratio?
  • Where do the dogs sleep?
  • Does a handler stay in the same area where the dogs sleep?
  • LittleBigDogAre large and small dogs separated?
  • What is the feeding schedule?
  • What is the sleeping schedule?
  • Do they have emergency procedures? Is a vet nearby or on staff?
  • Do they ask for your vet’s details and a release form so they can send your dog to your vet in case of an emergency?
  • Do they ensure your dog has all the required vaccines / shots?
  • Do they ask you to food for your dog? This is preferable as your dog can get sick if their food is changed quickly.
  • Do they ask you to bring an old t-shirt or something that has your sent? While not necessary, this can be comforting for your dog. Generally they will not want you to leave toys with your dog and they’ll probably get lost and /or other dogs might get jealous or steal the toys.
  • Will they send you photos and updates on how your dog is doing while you are away?
  • Can your dog get a bath / grooming before you pick him/her up?
  • Do you provide drop off / pick up service?

dog boardingDoggy Cam

Personally, we think it’s better if there is a doggy cam so you can log in and see your dog. The online doggy cam should be password protected so not everyone can check in on your dog. It’s a nice comfort to check in and see your dog is ok. It’s also good to know that the facility is confident in their care facility and don’t mind owners checking in.

Questions to Ask About Dog Boarding Costs

  • What is the cost of boarding?
  • Is the cost of day care included?
  • Are there costs for feeding?
  • Are there costs for dog walks / relief walks?
  • Consider getting a cost estimate for your dog’s dog boarding before you commit.

Want to check out country boarding? Check out our post Country Dog Boarding – Vacation for Your Dog!