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. Doggie hotels, pet boarding and even kennel facilities know this and often connote these emotions in their marketing – and many 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 pet 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. Some dogs thrive in these environments, however many do not.
Boarding when compared to at-home pet care, can actually be harmful to your pet. It takes your pet out of known, comfortable surroundings and places them into an unfamiliar environment. They have little time to get used to where they are before you leave.
Hundreds of dogs have marked their spots in the boarding facility which makes new dogs feel unwelcome and uncomfortable. It’s also a common that some dogs take the alpha role in boarding facilities. They often bully or cause physical harm to other dogs to show their dominance.
Since you feed and walk your dog, you are your dog’s pack leader. When your dog 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.
When dogs are anxious, they bark. The sound of many dogs barking at once increases stress and anxiety. This can lead to unwarranted aggression, house training regression, and social hyper-arousal. When you return home, you may need step back and retrain to address behaviors that were developed (or forgotten) during the boarding experience.
In many facilities, the lack of exercise, the number of unfamiliar smells, and limited human contact can cause emotional stress. In addition to this stress, your dog 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 pooch. These illnesses can lead to increased vet expenses.
Fetch! Pet Care was started out of the belief 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 Pet Care Provider.
While many dogs love the socialization aspect and have no issues with being boarded, we believe at-home pet care is the best option for healthy and happy pets. Some Fetch! Pet Care franchise locations do offer pet boarding services and they do a great job at offering the best experience possible for a dog who is away from home. Either way, pet owners deserve having peace of mind knowing their dog is safe and comfortable. So, the next time you see some great marketing for fancy pet hotel, don’t assume your dog will have the same relaxing experience that you have at a Marriott resort. Consider all aspects and take time to make an informed decision.
Updated from original blog post made on 8/20/12