When you are leaving your pet with someone you want to make sure that they know what they are doing and are capable of looking after your pet just as well as you would.
(Well almost as well)
Key Questions To Ask:
What are you and your team’s qualifications?
Too often we see animal lovers starting up businesses with the best intentions but without the knowledge to perform the duties correctly. So make sure you are checking they have animal care and behaviour skills that are backed by a certificate or qualification of some sort.
Would you all know what to do in an emergency situation?
Do they know PET First Aid? Accidents unfortunately can and do happen so you need to make sure your pet has the best chances if something goes wrong. Also make sure that there is a PET First Aid Kit onsite. The kit needs to be specifically designed for animals as some items in a human first aid kit cannot be used on animals.
How many animals do you take?
They should have a limit to the number of animals they accept; when the facility is overcrowded animals will not get as much attention or care as they need. The team should know their limits.
Where are the animals kept in your facility?
This is the perfect opportunity to ask for a tour of the facility. Walk around and make sure there is enough space for the animal the area is designed for. Is the area clean? Are there animals in the facility already? Do they look happy? You can also use this time to ask the team about their cleaning routine as well as the exercise routine for the animals.
Whilst looking around make sure to check out the facilities ventilation. Make sure it isn’t hot and stuffy. It has been known for animals to die of hyperthermia in boarding establishments so you need to check that the facility is designed well enough and equipped to ensure that this won’t happen.
How do you prevent the animals from escaping?
If you are leaving your pet with some one you need to make sure their facility is secure. Are the fences high enough? Are there at least two doorways/gateways between the animal housing and exits? Are the individual spaces lockable?
Do you require the animals to be vaccinated before entering the premises?
Animals collected in a confined space are the perfect environment for viruses and diseases. A facility should not be taking unvaccinated animals; it is a risk to not only the other animals in their care but also to the team itself due to zoonotic diseases that can be caught by humans.
Also ask how they check the animals vaccinations. Make sure they are talking to the animals vet or physically seeing the animals vaccination card rather than just taking the owners word for it.
Do you socialise the animals in your care?
If the answer is yes you need to be making sure that you are certain that they will have the animals supervised at ALL times while being socialised. It is while animals are being socialised that there is the highest risk of incidents occurring so this is when you need to be certain that the team are going to be able to recognise behavioural clues to show any animals being uncomfortable, stressed or too excited.’
How do you decide who socialise with who?
Firstly the facility needs to have an assessment process for the animals. This is a process where dogs are trialled for socialisation in a highly controlled way to ensure their suitability to socialise with other animals.
You also need to be making sure that small animals are not being socialised with large animals, especially small dogs and large dogs.
The team should also be asking you if your pet has ever had a bad experience with another animal and if they have any preferences or dislikes as to what animals they enjoy socialising with.
Do you take entire animals and are they socialised with the other animals?
The issue with entire animals is if they find another entire animal of the opposite sex. Accidents have been known to happen where you could end up picking up your pet after the holiday and finding they are going to be a parent. Should an entire male/s recognise the scent of a bitch in heat there could be altercations with perceived contenders.
What happens if another animal injures mine?
Do they inform you immediately? Will they take the animal to your vet or theirs, have they asked for your preference? Are the owners of the other animal responsible for paying the vet bill? You need to know exactly where you stand in the situation. If the animals are being supervised correctly then the team will know which animal has injured yours.
What happens if my pet injures another animal?
Do they inform you immediately? Are you liable to pay the vet bill? Will they take your animal in their facility again? Make sure you ask about the situation and what the other animal was doing. There is always a reason for animals injuring each other. If they are under supervision and the team has the correct training they will recognise why the incident has occurred.
Where is your nearest vet? What is your relationship with them like?
You need to know where they would be taking your animal if anything was to happen and that the team get on with the vet and have a good healthy relationship so you know your pet will get the best quality care.
Is there someone on site at all times?
If your pet is being socialised with other animals they must always be under supervision. If on their own you need to as how they will be monitored. Is there someone on site overnight? Cameras? What do they do to prevent burglary?
What are your procedures for emergency situations such as a fire or earthquake?
The facility should have an emergency evacuation plan and any member of the team should be able to tell you exactly what it is. The plan should explain how every animal will be taken out of the facility and secured in another location.
Remember if any of these questions haven’t been answered well enough to meet your standards then the facility probably isn’t the right one for you. You need to make sure that you are certain your pet is going to be well looked after and feel comfortable about leaving them there.
Also check their website; look at the testimonials when was the last one written.