BEFORE I BOARD MY PET…
Q: What should I bring when I board my pet?
A: We strongly suggest that you bring your pet’s own food. Doing so avoids additional stress on the pet’s digestive system. Please pack the food in a sealed container (like Tupperware) to keep it fresh and protected from hungry, canine passers-by. It is not necessary to bring anything else, unless of course, your pet takes medicine. You would certainly want to bring any prescription drugs, over-the-counter supplements, and emergency medications for seizures, bee stings, etc.
In the past, we permitted owners to bring bedding from home, as well as favorite toys to place in the pet’s room. We can no longer permit this because of the risk of contamination. Dangerous germs, to which your pet may have developed immunity, may threaten other guests who do not have immunity to a particular illness. Moreover, some bedding and toys can be overnight choke hazards. Keep in mind that we provide comfy, famous Kuranda bedding, fleece blankets and steel bowls in each suite. So for safety reasons, we will not put these items in your pet’s room even if you pack them. Rest assured that pets are too exhausted to play with toys when they’re in their room anyway. Since Boxers Bed & Biscuits will not be responsible for lost items, please reconsider packing lightly for your pet -- just the essentials: food and medicine. We’ll provide the rest!
Q: My dog is not used to wearing a collar at home. Does he have to wear one at your facility?
A: He does. At times, we have to direct a pet to a play yard or to his room by holding onto his collar since pets are not leashed at Boxers Bed & Biscuits. There is also the rare chance that a “disagreement” could escalate into a fight. In this case, we have to be able to pull off the aggressor by his collar. Please do not send choker-style collars since these can be dangerous in the play setting.
Q: Are dog fights common at Boxers Bed & Biscuits?
A: No, they are not common. We take our screening process very seriously. This is why we require all dogs to undergo the mandatory temperament test to determine if a dog is a good fit for a group-play environment like ours. We also separate our guests into play groups based on their size, age and energy levels, which minimizes stress and irritation. And finally, we make our guests take a 2-hour nap from noon to 2 p.m. to prevent fatigue-related crankiness. Nevertheless, dog fights are always a distinct possibility so our staff is trained to react quickly and decisively to prevent serious injury. It is worth noting, however, that dogs play with their mouths and their feet: both of which have sharp projectiles that can accidentally cause minor boo-boos to their playmates. These, too, are very rare, but always possible.
Q: If my dog fails the temperament test, is he banned from your facility for life?
A: Of course, not. In time, additional training or gradual exposure to doggie social settings may help your pet to react differently in the future. In many cases, however, dogs that do not pass the temperament screening the first time will not behave differently over time. This does not mean that you have a “bad dog.” This simply means that you have a dog who prefers the company of humans to that of other canines. Embrace this quality, and seek boarding arrangements such as a trusted pet sitter or a close friend where your dog will thrive in your absence.
Q: Why do you only conduct temperament tests Monday thru Thursday?
A: Weekends are very busy at our facility, and we are often running at full capacity. On most weekdays, however, we are able to devote more time and attention to our new visitors to determine whether or not they will be ideal guests.
Q: I had my dog at the park a few days ago, and he seems to have caught a cold. He has a runny nose, and he’s sneezing. I’m scheduled to board him this weekend. Is it still okay to bring him?
A: This is a tough one! While dog parks are wonderful places to exercise our pets, they are also venues for unvaccinated dogs to mingle with vaccinated ones. This poses serious issues for facilities like ours that work very hard to keep disease at bay since socialized pets tend to frequent both dog parks and group-play boarding facilities like Boxers Bed & Biscuits. In an effort to keep our environment safe, we request that our guests avoid dog parks for the week prior to scheduled boarding as a courtesy to us and the pets we serve. We also respectfully request that pet owners do not bring their “babies” to our facility when they have coughs, runny noses, or ear/eye infections, as these illnesses may be contagious. It would be more ideal to board a sick pet with your veterinarian where his symptoms may be treated and contained. We do understand that some senior pets have chronic coughs related to health issues which are not contagious, and we certainly welcome those pets. Please notify us upon arrival if your pet has a chronic health condition so we do not treat it as a contagious illness and quarantine your pet.
Q: My dog has not had the canine cough vaccine. We heard that you can administer it at your facility. Is this true?
A: It is true, but ONLY as a 6-month booster for Pet Parents who want to increase their Pets' immunity to the illness! If at all possible, have your veterinarian administer the vaccine at least five days prior to boarding so that the vaccine can build up in your dog’s system before he is placed in a communal environment. We will not admit a Pet that has not had the Vaccine at least 3 days prior to boarding or attending Daycare.
Q: I only use natural flea preventatives and Hartz Flea Collars on my dog because I don’t believe in using the prescription treatments. Is this okay?
A: While we certainly respect your decision to do what you feel is best for your pet, we cannot accept her as a boarding guest or a grooming client at Boxers Bed & Biscuits unless she is completely flea free and adequately protected by a vet-recommended treatment such as Frontline, K9 Advantix, Comfortis, Nexguard, Trifexis, etc. It is vital that we protect all of our guests, as well as our grooming clients, which is why we do not even offer flea dips or similar treatments at our pet salon.
Q: I plan to breed my 1-year-old Great Dane so I don’t want to have him neutered yet. Can he still come to your facility?
A: Dogs that are not spayed or neutered typically display behaviors such as excessive mounting that can lead to fights. We have also noted that the pack is extremely uneasy around unneutered males, in particular, causing them to be less tolerant of persistent “bully-like” behavior. Having said this, we strongly prefer that our guests are spayed/neutered, but we have made a few exceptions (canine police officers, senior pets, etc.).
WHILE I BOARD MY PET…
Q: If my pet gets sick while she is staying at your facility, will you take her to my vet or yours?
A: If our staff determines that veterinary care is necessary, we will first have your pet checked on site by one of our vets. If you'd prefer, we can certainly make every effort to contact your veterinarian. In most cases, we will contact the owner(s) prior to seeking professional care.
Q: What form of discipline do you use to control bad behavior?
A: Our staff is trained to first, use very firm, very short voice commands (Ahhht! Stop! No! Down!) to thwart unwanted behaviors such as mounting or excessive barking. If words are ineffective, the staff uses mini squirt bottles to spray water toward the unruly pet. And if that doesn’t work, we will put the pet on “time out” by separating him from the play group for 15-30 minutes, which is usually a sufficient amount of time for that pet to refocus his attention. All pet discipline is simply designed to break the pet’s focus on the unwanted behavior. In rare, extreme cases, we use blow horns to redirect an aggressor from the pack.
AFTER I BOARD MY PET…
Q: My dog hasn’t gotten out of the recliner for two days since he came home from Boxers Bed & Biscuits. Is something wrong with him?
A: Probably not! Enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts! We would be more concerned if he were not exhausted from his vacation. Remember: your pet is probably used to sleeping several hours per day when he is at home. Since he has been with us, he has had non-stop stimulation, with the exception of a 2-hour, afternoon nap and his overnight rest. We play all day! That can be pretty taxing on even the most energetic breeds. In fact, some of our “parents” bring their pets regularly just for this desired, worn-out effect! If he does not seem like himself after 2-3 days of rest, however, you may wish to contact your veterinarian for a wellness check.
Q: Every time I board my dog, he gets diarrhea. Is this serious?
A: Not usually. Since this happens frequently with your pet, it is most likely stress-induced colitis, which is an inflammation of the colon, oftentimes associated with travel-related stress. The signs of colitis include painful defecation that resembles constipation, flatulence and small stools mixed with blood and mucus. Most pets will recover from this illness within a day or two when their routine is re-established and stress levels decrease. Again, please consult your veterinarian if symptoms persist or if diarrhea is accompanied by a loss of appetite and/or vomiting. If you haven’t done so in the past, you may also minimize this problem by bringing your pet’s own food when he boards. We strongly recommend this practice to maintain dietary stability and reduce intestinal stress.
Q: My dog has had a persistent cough for three days. Can this be canine cough even though she was vaccinated?
A: Unfortunately, it can be. While we take every precaution to ensure that pets go home happy and healthy, it is a communal environment, much like that of a child daycare where occupants are happy to share anything and everything from the pool to the drool! Canine cough in dogs is similar to the common cold in people. It is extremely contagious, not usually dangerous, and there are many strains. The bordetella vaccine, much like the human flu vaccine, may not protect against each and every strain. The vaccine should, however, shorten the duration of the illness and/or minimize the symptoms of canine cough should your pet contract it. According to WebMD, “although most cases of canine cough will resolve without treatment, medications may speed recovery or minimize symptoms during the course of infection.” It is important to keep your pet away from other pets while symptoms persist to prevent the spread of the illness.
Having said that, it is also important to recognize that your pet may simply be suffering from seasonal allergies that produce similar symptoms in dogs. Remember, we spend a lot more time outside with our guests, exposing them to grasses and pollens for extended time periods that can produce upper respiratory complications. In either case, that of canine cough or upper respiratory illness caused by allergies, symptoms should lessen as your pet readjusts to her home environment and catches up on rest. If your pet is not recovering on her own, please consult your veterinarian who will likely prescribe an antibiotic and a cough tab.
Q: What safety precautions do you take to prevent the spread of illness at your facility?
A: First of all, we require that all of our guests are properly vaccinated. If a guest does appear symptomatic for any respiratory illness while he is in our care, we immediately have that pet treated by a veterinarian, as if it is canine cough because we are not willing to risk the spread of this illness among our guests. We also quarantine the pet. Unfortunately, a pet can be infected with canine cough for several days before he displays symptoms so it’s not always possible to identify canine cough among incoming guests.
Another precaution we take is unparalleled cleanliness and disinfecting habits. Those of you who have toured our facility know that we maintain a very clean facility, which is why the majority of our guests are returned to their owners in the same healthful condition in which they arrived. We are not a traditional kennel where stalls are hosed down into open drains, and dampness prevails, assisting the spread of illnesses such as canine cough. Both floors of our facility are very dry and very sanitary. We also have Guardian Air, advanced environmental air treatment systems, in place on both of our HVAC units. These PHI CELL units are designed to “help eliminate sick building syndrome risks by reducing odors, air pollutants, and cold and virus causing germs through a patent pending Photohydroionization (PHI) process.”
In a perfect world, these measures would be enough to prevent canine cough from ever being an issue at our facility. But because we live in the real world, we also have to rely on our customers to keep sick pets at home or make boarding arrangements at veterinary clinics where they can be treated rather than bringing them to Boxers Bed & Biscuits where other pets may be exposed to the illness.
Q: My friend brings her dog there for daycare 5 days a week, and her dog has never gotten sick. My dog has been boarded twice in three years and caught an illness both times. How can this be?
A: Just like people, some pets have stronger immune systems than others. Dogs who are around other dogs regularly, develop immunity to many common illnesses. Dogs who rarely leave the home (perhaps once or twice a year), aren’t exposed to many germs; therefore, they have not had that advantage. Some veterinarians suggest that pet “parents” add probiotics to their pet’s diet a week before a scheduled boarding, during, and a week after to boost immunity. You may choose to add plain yogurt to your pet’s food, or you may choose to administer a daily probiotic supplement. While much information on this topic is available online, you may wish to consult your veterinarian about the best precautionary treatment for your pet. Keep in mind that senior pets, young pups, and pets with underlying health issues are always more vulnerable to contracting illnesses because their immune systems are usually compromised to some degree.