With summer being a time to vacation and travel, many pet owners must find the boarding services which best suit their dog or cat’s needs and give them peace of mind as pet parents.
Suzen Dennis, president and owner of Tailwaggers Country Inn in Van Alstyne, says rates throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex generally vary from $30 to $150 per night, and the industry is largely geared toward dogs and dog owners. And the process of lining up accommodations for pets, Dennis said, is not all that different than the one people follow.
“A standard practice is, just like a hotel, you have to reserve, put down your credit card,” Dennis says. “If you cancel, you have to pay for at least one or two nights.”
Dennis says boarding facilities generally take one of two routes when it comes to setting rates. Some begin with flat, nightly fees for kennel use and then offer owners the option to choose from a variety of extra, paid services. Others lump all services together under a nightly rate.
“It can almost be like filling out a sushi menu, when you go in to drop your dog off. If you want playtime, it’s extra. If you’re administering meds, it’s extra,” Dennis says. “Now for all inclusive, if your dog is there spending the night, they go into the daycare program and the group play and all of that. There’s no extra charge for that. Granted, it may be more expensive per night on paper, but that includes other services."
Owners may also choose from a variety of rooms and scaling rates, Dennis Says, with the more basic accommodations offering private beds and outdoor access and the more upscale offering the same but with added features like televisions, chandeliers, one-on-one play sessions, grooming, owner-accessible web cams and even shuttle services.
“Over the years, it has really changed and people expect more interaction with their pets,” Dennis says. “It’s like this is their pet’s vacation, as well. Pet parents don’t want to go away feeling guilty putting their dog in a cage and leaving it there.”
Though Dennis says most boarding facilities don’t offer discounts for advanced booking, it’s a good idea to get something on the books ahead of time, as rooms often fill up as much as two to three months ahead of major travel holidays.
“If you think you might be traveling over Christmas, block out the busiest days, so you have the option,” Dennis says.
No matter what level of accommodation owners want for their pets, Dennis says the best thing they can do to make sure there pet is comfortable, happy and safe when boarded is to explore all the options available and select a reputable pet care provider.
“I tell them to tour as many facilities as they can and make sure they let you see every crack, crevice and corner,” Dennis says. “This is a lifelong commitment. There’s going to be babies and weddings and trips and reunions and whatnot and you’re going to need to board. So, do your due diligence, upfront.”