I believe that dog care professionals need to raise the bar. I believe that pet parents are demanding it. Unfortunately, some facilities get away with more than they should because pet parents don't always know what to ask or what to look for when checking out different facilities.
While I would *love* for everyone to pick Arch City Dog Boarding as their boarding and daycare option, if you *are* looking around, the International Boarding and Pet Services Association created a list of questions that you can take with you. https://www.ibpsa.com/for-consumers/
There are a few things that I'd like to add though, so let's a take a look at (part of) their list.
Is the pet care services provider a member of a professional association like IBPSA?
Many professional organizations offer their members continuing education and have a code of conduct that they expect their members to abide by.
Do they hold any pet care certifications such as in pet first aid?
What is the plan if there is an injury or emergency?
If the provider is “away care”, that is a service not in your home such as a pet boarding or day care facility, pet salon, or a pet sitter’s own home, have you toured the premises to see if it is clean, sanitary, and secure?
How do they clean? How do they disinfect? ***Bleach is not a cleaner. Please don't let anyone tell you that they clean with bleach. I know people will disagree with this, it deserves its own blog***
What types of cleaning products does the provider use and are they pet safe?
Do they clean AND THEN disinfect? With what? What is the contact time for their disinfectant? Where are the dogs during cleaning? Are the hallways cleaned? The yards? The door knob?
Does the provider have an evacuation plan for both on-site and off-site evacuations?
Is there a safety plan for fire? Earthquake? Snow days?
What type of animal care education and training does the provider and, if applicable, the provider’s staff receive?
Seriously..... the people who are working with your pup.... what training do they receive? Who oversees it? What happens if they don't pass? Do they have to prove a certain level of knowledge before working with your pup, or is it all hands on learning?
What is the provider-to-pet ratio. For example, how many pets will a pet sitter be caring for at one time or how many pets per employee does a boarding or daycare facility staff for?
IBPSA pet care management standards suggest one person per every 10-15 dogs.
If dogs will be with other dogs, does your provider temperament test the dogs being put together?
How are they temperament tested? Who makes the decision? How are the dogs introduced to each other?
I love the pups. Their safety is my #1 priority. Will your pup get breaks throughout the day? Where? Do they get alone time to relax and rest? How is a barking dog handled? What happens if there's a scuffle? Are the dogs covered by insurance? What happens if there is an injury? What if *your dog* is the instigator? (are you going to have to make other arrangements for your dog while you're on vacation? Can the facility handle it until you get back?) What type of discipline is used? Ask for detailed answers. Your pup deserves it.