August 20, 2012
When we think of staying at a nice hotel, it conjures up thoughts of a luxurious room with amenities, personal services and perhaps even delicious meals. Pet hotels, boarding and even kennel facilities know this and often connote these emotions in their consumer marketing to you – and many of us play right into it.
We have come to believe that private rooms for our dogs complete with TV’s at a pet hotel, or open running spaces with pools at a boarding facility, or companionship with other dogs at a kennel will be true paradise for them – ensuring Fido will be happy and blissful while we’re away from them. However, pets have very different senses and behavior characteristics than humans, and nothing could be further from the truth when they stay at these facilities.
Dog boarding, compared to at-home pet care, can actually be quite harmful to your pet. Dog boarding takes your pet out of their natural environment and places them into an unfamiliar environment that they have little to no time to get used to before you drop them off and leave them behind.
Also, by the very fact that you feed and walk your dog, you are most likely your pet’s pack leader. When your pet is left at a boarding facility they may feel displaced, confused and lonely. Many dogs experience stress when their normal routine is changed. Now consider the added stress when you change their environment and take away their trusted pack leader (you).
In these boarding facilities, hundreds of dogs before them have marked their spots, and this makes many of the newly checked in dogs feel unwelcome and uncomfortable in this environment. It’s also a common occurrence that some dogs will take the alpha role in boarding facilities and bully or cause physical harm to other dogs to show their dominance.
When dogs feel separation anxiety from their home and owner they often bark, and when so many dogs are barking at once your pooch can get even more stressed out. This anxiety can also lead to unwarranted aggression, housetraining regression, and social hyper-arousal. In many facilities, lack of exercise, unfamiliar smells, and a general lack of human contact can lead to a damaging experience for your pet.
Not only can your dog be emotionally harmed, they can also be physically affected. With so many dogs packed into one environment, ticks, fleas, as well as airborne diseases such as kennel cough and the rare canine influenza strain can afflict your canine companion.
With so many problems stemming from boarding your dog, an already expensive experience can lead to even more costly bills from your vet in treating your dog for physical afflictions sustained, stress related illnesses, as well as additional training to address any positive behaviors that may have been forgotten in their stressful boarding experience.
We started Fetch! Pet Care because we believe that pets should be able to maintain their normal routine in the safety and comfort of their own home environment through at-home dog walks and pet-sitting while their owners are away. We believe that dogs should receive two or three walks a day while their owners are away to keep them healthy, burn off excess energy, maintain socialization with other dogs and their surrounding environment, and to get one-on-one focused attention and loving care from a professional care giver. At home care promotes healthy, happy, and balanced pets. It also enables owners to know that their dogs will feel safe and comfortable while staying in their own home and maintaining their own routine. So, the next time you see some great marketing for a local boarding facility, think twice before jumping quickly to believe your pet will have the same great experience as you. Ask yourself what your pet would really like, not what you want, and you will likely make a pet care decision that will lead to greater happiness and well-being for them and true peace of mind for you.