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Couple with a French Bulldog )Image by Shutterstock.)

What to look out for when choosing a pet boarding facility?

If you’re a pet owner – or just a news reader – you would have heard about the recent troubling incident about a raid of a pet boarding facility that was allegedly mistreating animals. In the snafu, two dogs that were boarded there went missing. The woman who was in charge of the facility told one of the owners of one of the missing dogs that it had run out during the commotion.

However, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said there was no evidence that the dog had even been there in the first place. The dog in question, a purebred Shetland sheepdog named Prince, was apparently never fed during the two weeks he was there and is still currently missing.

Any pet owner would know the terrible feeling that the Prince’s owner is feeling after having essentially lost her dog. And the owners of the other pets in the facility that were found to be dead or ill-treated would be feeling just as awful as well.

Choosing a pet boarding facility is an important process that should be done carefully. So we’ve reached out to a couple of people from different pet boarding facilities to ask then what owners should look out for when choosing a place for their pet to stay to avoid the same unfortunate incident last week from happening to any other pet owners.

Mr Kevin from Catopia Staycation noted that owners should make sure to visit the facility. See for yourself that the facility is clean and well maintained – rooms/gardens are clean, litter boxes are tidy, water bowls are full. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the animals already in there – make sure they look healthy, happy, and active. Some warning signs you should look out for in the animals are if they are skinny, dirty, they seem hungry, and/or injured.

Kevin as well as Benjamin from Straits Dog also emphasised the importance of checking out the management of the facility itself. Ask how long they’ve been open and how long they have been operating in the area. Benjamin also notes that it’s important to ensure that the boarding facility is set up in a commercial property, not a residential one.

Apart from that, you’ll want to pay attention to the staff and how they are with the animals. Obviously, you’re looking for patience and a love for animals. And it’ll be good to check out the facility’s online presence as well – Facebook posts, Instagram photos, any media coverage. That will give you an idea of how they treat their animals.

Here’s a list of some questions you should ask the manager of the facility:

  1. What kind of facilities and activities do they provide?
  2. Do they walk the animals daily?
  3. Do they let the animals roam around and mingle all day?
  4. Do they have individual suites to rest in at night?
  5. How long has the facility been operating in the area?
  6. How often will they update you when your pet is in there – photos, videos?

Once you’ve checked out the facility and you think it’s okay, Benjamin recommends you try out their day care service first to see if your pet can adapt to the environment. Different boarding facilities will have different energies and all pets will feel comfortable in every facility.

Now, if you’re going for full boarding over a few days, Kevin notes that you should make sure there is a proper agreement signed by both parties (i.e you and the boarding facility). The agreement should cover payment clauses, liabilities, and so forth. Ensure that you read the fine print before signing. Having an agreement is vital, so make sure there is one before you send your pet there.

In terms of price, Benjamin says that proper boarding facilities should range from about $70 onward. If a facility is charging a super low rate, you should walk away.

The bare minimum that any pet boarding facility should offer is a clean and vibrant environment with enough space for animals to eat, sleep, and play. Pets are family take as much care in choosing a facility for then as you would when choosing a hotel for yourself.