Need a place so your doggo can feel at home away from home but doesn't quite like the idea of pet hotels? Try home boarding (Check out home boarding vs pet hotels to help you decide on one!). For home boarding, here's 10 things to consider:
1. Trust. Not only are you entrusting your doggo's safety and health in the hands of your boarder, you are also going to be trusting your boarder's words when something happens as they are not likely to have surveillance camera coverage and would not be able to produce real time video evidence. Communicate, communicate, & communicate. If possible, it is recommended that you board your doggo for a short 1 night stay so you have more opportunity to know if you can trust the boarder.
2. Safety. Check that the boarder has taken efforts to ensure your pawkid's safety. A very important measure is to have proper separation of the strong heaveyweight doggos from the lightweight ones; or doggos with special needs(e.g. age, disability). Having big and small dogs playing together increase the chance of physical injury; especially to the small ones. You don't want to be responsible for any accidents that your doggo my cause. Other measures include proper fencing and gates that prevent your doggo from escaping the premise.
3. Hygiene. The best way to check on this is to visit the boarder's premise and make sure they keep their place clean. Once I visited a boarder who has too many dogs in her air-conditioned apartment...the place smelled so bad I had to get out immediately. I bet your doggo's sense of smell is much sharper than mine and you wouldn't want your poor doggo to be breathing that filthy air.
4. Space. Depending on the size of your pawkid or your expectations, you would naturally want more space so your doggo can roam around freely. Preferably, the boarder has an outdoor area that your furkid can go to for fresh air and sunshine! Well, assuming it is facing greenery and not a road or carpark!
5. Time. Home boarding has been on the rise during the pandemic as more people work from home and this gives them an opportunity to play with dogs and earn some extra income. If you do not expect the boarder to spend much time with your doggo, that works too! Just make sure their fees are lower too! Of course, there are other factors to consider when paying higher boarding fees...read on.
6. Health. Every boarder should ask you to declare your pawkid's health and vaccination records prior to boarding. This shows that the boarder is proactive in preventive spread of diseases at their premise. It is also your responsibility as a pawrent to ensure your pawkid is not sick and is fully vaccinated. Kennel cough, as the name suggests, is spread at kennels, so make sure you get your doggo vaccinated too. Another plus factor is boarders who offer home cooked meals and treats, it is a sign that the boarder is health conscious with their own pawkid.
7. Dog Loving. Preferably the boarder has a doggo too. During your meet and greet, you should be able to see if the resident doggo is well cared for. You can tell from the boarder's engagement with your doggo if they are dog loving. Great if the rest of family is also around and engages with your doggo. You should know more from the photo and video updates during the trial stay.
8. Reviews. Try to find verified reviewers of their service. If your boarder is listed on a platform like Petbacker, you can read the reviews from pawrents who have used their service. Don't just rely on the star ratings....more importantly look out for detailed comments about the service that give you insights on their service excellence.
9. Insurance. Not likely that a home boarder provide insurance coverage for your doggo as such products are not available. If possible, get one for your doggo! Like car accidents, you can never be sure of other drivers' actions. Accidents can happen that's why they are called accidents.
10. Service Agreement. Yes service agreement! It is used by commercial boarding establishments to ensure that all parties understand their responsibilities. It is no different for home boarding. In the event your pawkid is bitten by another doggo, the other doggo's pawrent should be responsible for your doggo's medical bills; and vice versa. If your doggo falls ill, what is the boarder's responsibility and how much would you authorise them to pay on your behalf?