How to ensure a great pet boarding experience?

 

If you’re leaving your dog in a pet boarding facility for the first time, you must be wary of many things that can either elevate or demote your dog’s boarding experience. While pet boarding can save you from the hassle of hiring a pet sitter or asking your neighbor to look after your furry friend, it can also help your pet to socialize with other animals. Hence, it’s your duty to find the finest temporary care for your dog in the town when you’re not around.

Before considering pet boarding, here are some of the things that you must do to ensure that your dog enjoys a great boarding experience. It starts with assessing the dog boarding facility to preparing your dog.

10 Things to Do When Boarding your Dog

 

Tour the Boarding Facility

The first thing you need to assess is the boarding facility. Some pet boarding facilities are great, while others are awful in taking care of pets, offering recreational activities, indulging pets with training, and kennel hygiene.

Start with searching for dog kennels online (Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business). Once you find the match, such as location and time-open, consider looking into their reviews. The online reviews can tell a lot about the pet boarding facility. Here are some of the pet boarding horror stories.

Next, you can schedule a physical visit to the boarding facility. Making sure that the pet boarding facility offers an impeccable service guarantees a positive boarding experience for your dog.

Consider a Boarding Trial

Checking out the pet boarding facility online isn't enough unless you visit the place yourself. It's also a time to take your dog for a boarding trial. Like parents take their children to a pre-school, you can take your dog to check if it makes a nuisance when you're not around them.

The trial stay of at least 24 hours eases your dog into a new environment and a new daily routine. You may find that your dog will adjust much better when it comes time for a longer stay. You can also determine if your dog eats pet boarding meals and socialize with other animals.

Cater your dog's special needs

Not all dogs are the same. Your dog is probably much younger or older than other dogs in the pet boarding facility. This will greatly determine how your dog will react to other dogs around it.

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, medication, or allergies, you should consider telling the staff about its conditions. The staff can handle your dog much better when they know about your dog's special needs. However, don’t go overboard by loading the staff with unnecessary information about your pet’s daily habits.

Provide Dog's Medical Records

If your dog is on medication, you should definitely tell the staff about it and bring along the medicines with you before leaving your dog. Ensure the medication is well labeled, even if it's as simple as a joint supplement or as grave as heart problems and diabetes.

Before considering boarding your pet with other animals, it’s considerate of you to de-flea and worms your dog. You should also update your dog’s vaccinations at least two weeks before boarding. Both of these precautions are typically required before boarding.

Eating and Sleeping at Set Times

Most pet parents train their pets to eat and sleep at a set time before sending them off to the boarding facility. The boarding kennel will feed all animals at set times, and if your dog is used to free-feeding, this could cause it to go hungry. Help it adjust to set eating times.

Likewise, make your dog sleep away from you, such as in a crate, kennel house, or sleeping mattress long before boarding it. This will ensure that your dog can sleep in the boarding facility without your presence around.

Bring your Pet's Food

Most boarding facilities provide the same food to pets. But because an abrupt change in diet can contribute to your dog's dietary problems, you can bring your own dog food. This will help to avoid gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea. If your pet is on a prescription diet, do consider carrying prescription food everywhere you go.

An easy way to feed your dog food to your dog is by labeling it well, bringing it with you, and telling the boarding staff uses it when feeding your dog. You can also provide the instruction on mixing it with wet food or dry food before offering it to the dog.

Discuss Treats

Most pet boarding staffs use dog treats to make dogs familiarize themselves with the facility. Treats can be a helpful tool to use when your dog doesn't exactly want to do what it's supposed to do. To ensure that the staffs only use prescribed treat, make sure to bring them along with you before you leave your dog.

Dogs can easily gain weight, get food allergies, and become sensitive to many treats. Hence, you can bring your own stock with you.

Bring Your Dog's Toy or Blanket

If your dog love to play and cuddle with its favorite toy, it's best to bring it along to the pet boarding facility in the form of a pacifier. The boarding staff can use it to keep your dog in one place.

You can also bring its blanket along so the boarding staff won't have much difficulty making it sleep. Your dog can latch to the blanket when it’s time to sleep.

Teach basic commands to Your Dog

It's useful to teach your dog basic commands before you start boarding it. Dogs that are familiar with basic commands such as "Sit," "Stop," and "Come" will respond well to the boarding staff.

Consider crate and loo training your dog before you can leave it unsupervised. Untrained dogs can often become a nuisance to pet boarding staff. The sooner your dog learns to tolerate hours before getting a loo break, the better it can adjust to a boarding facility.

Make the Departure Quick

The longer you wait to say goodbye to your dog, the more difficult it will become for your dog to say goodbye. There is no sense in making the goodbye more stressful than it needs to be. It will only make it worse and even anxious.

Depart quickly, so it won't have much time to miss you and sulk.

 

Pet Boarding or Pet Sitting

Many people wonder if pet sitting is better than pet boarding. While pet sitting lets you choose a pet sitter to come to your home to feed, play and walk your dog, pet boarding will collectively do all this along with grooming and socializing your dog with other animals.

Unlike pet sitting, pet boarding allows your furry friend to share a common space with other dogs. And yes, pet boarding can be slightly cheaper than pet sitting because of the fixed space and multiple staff hired to look after the animals.

Check this infographic for more information.

 

According to Thumbtack.com, the national average cost to board a dog is $50. Expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $60 for boarding your pet for 24 hours. Get discounted rates from the boarding facility by becoming their regular customer.

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale, to enjoy the finest dog boarding services.  We offer pet boarding, grooming, veterinary care, and training.

 

A Day in the Life of a Dog

Have you ever wondered what your dog typically does in a day? Twenty-four hours is a short time to analyze your pet's life, but this can certainly help you get an insight into what your dog generally does in a day, when it does certain activities, and what it loves to do.

Unlike us humans, dogs often have a regular day with a standard set of activities, including dozing off, snacking, chewing on toys, loo breaks, and playing. Unless it’s a service dog, you can be confident that they will spend most of their time either dozing off or watching the world go by. This isn’t a sign of depression or boredom in dogs. They enjoy lounging around unless they are engaged to play or do doggy chores.

Given the option, most canines are content to watch over their territory from their throne's comfort. However, dogs love their Me-time. A little privacy can do well both for you and them.

How does a dog spend its day?

Here is how a dog usually spends its day. This is the list of activities that almost every dog indulges in day-in or day-out.

Sleeping

You’d be surprised to know that dogs’ can spend 9-14 hours a day sleeping. Unlike humans, dogs have a polyphasic sleep pattern that means they sleep multiple times throughout 24 hours. Out of fourteen hours, a dog is less likely to spend sleeping in a state of drowsiness. Most parts of their irregular sleep are spending in the REM (Rapid eye movement) rest. Dogs need REM sleep to help retain learned skills and to awake quickly.

This isn’t unusual because they have an irregular sleep regime and need much more rest-time than we do. Dogs do need their downtime; otherwise, they can become cranky. Young pups would need at least 18-20 hours of sleep in a day to ensure healthy mental and physical growth and a robust immune system. Senior dogs often require more sleep than adult dogs because aging slows the body down, and doing activities require more energy than they used to.

Many pet owners often ask their vets why to do sleep so much in a day. It’s usually because a dog can burn much energy. They eat significantly less than us humans, but they burn almost all the calories they consume. A dog weighing 25lb will need 557 calories worth of food each day. With all the activities it does throughout the day, it will spend about 557 calories each day. A one-hour long walk can quickly burn over 60 calories.

Working dogs, such as guide dogs, police dogs, or farm dogs, will often sleepless because of their active lifestyles. They’ll likely sleep more during their retirement years.

Tips for helping a dog get enough sleep

To ensure that you provide comfortable nap time to your dog,

  • Leave them unattended or provide a private time. This will offer them enough time to take a powerful nap. Puppies need more personal time so they can sleep more often.
  • Prepare a sleeping crate or bed where your dog can go and sleep peacefully. This will be their quiet zone in the house.
  • Follow a schedule to ensure that they get enough rest and sleep time after playtime, physical exercises, and meals.

Lounging

What does lounging means for a dog? It represents an idle time for dogs. If you’re wondering, watching outside the window, enjoying television shows, and or slouching on the couch with you are parts of a dog lounging. Dogs will spend 30% of their time lounging around.

Generally, puppies work their way up from being under constant care and supervision to being trusted and comfortable being on their own over the course of a day.

How much alone time is "Too Much"?

It would be best if you were wary about giving too much alone time to your dogs. For a dog to spend all of its day alone is too much. They're social animals; hence they enjoy being around people and other animals.

Avoid leaving them inside the room or a basement for a longer duration of time. If you're unable to give them enough time, you can take them to the doggy daycare, where they'll get enough socialization and rest time.

Active Time

An active time doesn’t only mean playing, walking, or eating. Spending time for mental stimulation is also considered busy dog time. Depending on the breed and age, dogs need 3 to 5 hours of activity every day, where 1 to 1.5 hours of activity should be high-intensity in nature, and the rest can be moderate intensity.

The high-intensity activity includes running, jogging, and fetching while walking, engaging in play, and socializing accounts for the moderate-intensity activity.

Eating

Depending on their age, you can feed a dog twice or thrice a day. Adult dogs will only require two meals a day, while a young pup will require more than two.

Eating includes regular meals and snacking or treats. A dog can burn almost all the calories it eats in a day; hence you should ensure that they get the required amount of calories from food and snacks each day.

To ensure that you don't overfeed your dog, adopt the portion control method. Regular exercising and high-intensity activity is essential to ensure that they burn all the calories effectively.

Playing

The average dog gets by with an hour to two of playtime each day. The playtime should come in the form of running, walking, jogging, engaging with interactive toys, and other enrichment activities.

Enough playtimes ensure that young pups grow up to become an active and highly responsive pet. Adult dogs would need a regular amount of walking, running, and playing each day, while senior dogs would only need a minimal amount of exercise.

Playtime also ensures to work on core muscle and joint strengths. Pet obesity is a severe problem that can cause heart and joint problems. With proper playtime, you can ensure that your dog remains fit and active.

Socializing

Dogs should get a minimum of two hours of dedicated social time with humans and other dogs daily.

You need not provide 2 hours of socialization in one-go; instead, you can break it into a chunk of times over the day.

Socialization helps young pups and adult dogs to imbibe new skills, make friends, listen to the owner, and stay happy!

Daily Schedule for Dogs

This is a sample schedule to help establish a good routine for your dogs.

Morning Puppy Schedule

  • The day should begin with a loo-time. Quickly take them outside to relieve.
  • Feed them a highly nutritious and full breakfast.
  • Puppies usually need to relieve themselves after eating, so give another potty break.
  • Spend 30-60 minutes of playing and socializing with them, and taking a walk.
  • Nap time. Provide 30 minutes to two hours of sleep.
  • Give another potty break immediately after they wake up.
  • Feed lunch.

Afternoon Puppy Schedule

  • After lunch, give another potty break.
  • For up to one hour, play with them.
  • Give another nap time.
  • Take them outside for a loo break.
  • And then it’s playtime again.
  • Nap time.
  • Potty break.

Evening Puppy Schedule

  • Feed your dog dinner before you sit down.
  • After dinner, take a short walk.
  • If time permits, let them spend time playing and interacting with family members.
  • Give a quick bathroom trip before bed.

 Check this infgo graphics for more information. 

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is the best doggy daycare in Urbandale. We provide 24/7 doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, and veterinarian care to pet dogs and cats. Please consult with our veterinarian in Urbandale to design a custom daily schedule for your dog.

 

 

Does your Pet need a Regular Fecal Exam

Yes, your pet needs fecal testing every year or 6-months. Fecal flotation or fecal testing is one of the best ways to check if your pet has intestinal parasites or worms.

You can squeeze the fecal exam into your pet's regular wellness check, so you need not take them to the vet often. Along with wellness monitoring, the veterinarian will also inspect if your pet has any worms and if it needs deworming drugs.

According to the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, over 38% of dogs attending outdoor parks have intestinal parasites.

What is Parasitic Infection in Pets?

Some of the parasites tested for include roundworms, coccidia, giardia, hookworms, and whipworms. These parasites can infect both humans and animals. Unlike humans, dogs and cats can easily pick up parasites from infected food, soil, water, and animal feces.

In roundworm infection, the parasite undergoes a complicated life cycle before mature roundworms are found in the intestinal tract. This involves several stages and includes migration through various bodily tissues. Roundworm larvae (immature worms) can migrate and become enclosed in a cyst in the host's body's tissue.

You can’t immediately tell if your pet has been infected with a parasite unless they start showing signs of infection, including refraining from eating, vomiting, unusual behavior, chewing on grass, etc. However, as the number of parasites increases, your pet may start showing tell-tale signs;

  • Vomiting
  • Losing weight
  • Diarrhea, with or without blood or mucus.
  • Scooting
  • Distended abdomen (belly)
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased activity
  • Dull coat

Because intestinal parasites can go undetected for months and even years, it is a perfect reason to get fecal testing on your pet carried out every 6 months. A bi-yearly fecal test can help to catch parasites early and mean that they are easier to treat. Most vets recommend that all dogs and cats be tested for parasites at least once a year.

What is fecal flotation?

Fecal flotation is a veterinary exam used in diagnosing internal parasites. The test detects the eggs of mature parasites that live inside the body and pass their eggs to the outside by shedding them into the host's stool. Some of these parasites are worm-like, while others are tiny single-celled organisms called protozoa. The worms, eggs, larvae, and even smaller protozoan cysts cannot be seen with the naked eye, even after retrieving a fecal sample; hence it needs further microscopic probing to determine the infection.

The veterinarian will test your pet's stool sample mixed with a special liquid that causes the parasite's eggs to float to the surface. The eggs are collected and examined under a microscope to identify the type of adult parasite present inside the intestine.

Your vet will require you to bring a fresh sample for the test. The closer you can collect the sample before the appointment, the better. It becomes difficult to identify the condition and properly prescribe the right intestinal parasite treatments if the stool sample isn’t in an appropriate condition.

Does the test work every time?

  • No, fecal flotation is only a basic screening test and may fail in some situations.
  • When the parasites present in the intestine are too young to produce eggs. If no eggs are being shed, then the infection cannot be detected.
  • The infection isn't severe, and there are only a few adult parasites present. In this case, the number of eggs in the stool may be too low to be detected.
  • Some parasites only produce small numbers of eggs, and infection may be missed on a single test. You'd have to take other tests as well, such as smear test or centrifugation.

Can humans become infected with parasites from pets?

Parasites in pets are zoonotic, i.e., they easily spread from animals to humans and vice versa.

According to a recent study, approximately 34 percent of the dogs that live in America have some intestinal parasite. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that as many as 14 percent of the human population has been infected with roundworm. Roundworm Toxocara infections cause an average of 700 Americans to lose their eyesight each year.

Humans can get infected with parasitic infections when they walk around barefoot in the garden, present as dog poop by eating infected food items, contaminated water, and not washing hands after playing with pets.

How to prevent parasite infections?

Although you can’t completely protect your pet or yourself from a parasitic infection, you can take measures to control the infection. These easy steps will reduce the chance of you and your pet becoming infected with a parasite.

  • Use flea and tick preventative measures to keep your pets flea-free.
  • Arrange for fecal testing once or twice a year. If your pet is under 12 months old, arrange for fecal testing every 3 or 4 months.
  • Every pregnant pet, including dogs and cats, requires worming. The newborn pets will require worming.
  • Speak to your vet about heartworm treatments that include protection against hookworms and roundworms.
  • Don’t allow your pet to eat raw meat.
  • Always wash your hands after touching or handling animal feces.
  • Don’t walk in public parks barefoot and use gloves when gardening.

Check this infographics for more information. 

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the reliable pet hospital in Urbandale, to get your pet tested for parasitic infections. Our certified veterinarians will ensure that your pet is diagnosed and treated for all kinds of parasitic infection.