Animal Rescue New Orleans: Where to board Fido while you’re out of town

By TracI D. Howerton

Special to The Advocate

Photo provided by ARNO -- Sierra Mist  is a combination of a classic marble tabby and white. Her coat is just as sweet as her personality. For more info, contact adoptfromarno@yahoo.com. The adoption fee is $100 and includes spay, shots, a chip and a combo test.
Photo provided by ARNO -- Sierra Mist is a combination of a classic marble tabby and white. Her coat is just as sweet as her personality. For more info, contact adoptfromarno@yahoo.com. The adoption fee is $100 and includes spay, shots, a chip and a combo test.

It’s summertime in New Orleans, and many of you are taking your family vacations. While you may have a pet-sitter or even take your dogs with you on the family road trip, there may be times when you need to find care for your animals.

A growing trend in New Orleans and other cities across the country is the doggy day care. These are more than just traditional boarding facilities. They tend to offer daily day care services with activities such as pool time, group play and snacks. They are also an option for extended stay boarding.

While this may seem like a nice vacation for your pet, not all doggy day cares are equal, and there are questions should ask to choose the best facility for your pooch.

 Ask friends and family for recommendations. A company will claim they offer the best of everything, but peer reviews are the way to go when deciding who will care for your pet while you are away.

 Tour the facility and ask for references. Take a tour and see how the dogs there are being treated. Are the kennels spacious? Is the staff interacting with the animals?

 Are they properly licensed and insured? You want to make sure the company is fully covered in the unlikely event that something should happen while you are away.

 Ask how dog socialization is handled. Many day cares have “big dog” rooms and “small dog” rooms. It’s important to ask how the dogs are “tested” to make sure this group play time is safe and fun.

 How are the dogs housed? The size of dog enclosures at the boarding facility is important. You want your animal to have enough space to move around comfortably, and not be cramped in a small cage 24/7.

 What are the dogs fed? This is especially important if your dog has a special dietary needs.

 Will my dog have human interaction?

 Will my dog be walked or exercised? Make sure the outdoor area of the day care is safe and secure for your pet. If the dogs are walked, ask where they are walked and if secure leashing protocols are in place.

 What is your staff’s experience level? Ask about screening for employees and how the business finds the best dog handlers. When a group of dogs get together, anything is possible. Compassion of staff members is equally important.

 What is security like at the facility? How is your dog protected from the general public? How does the facility ensure that dogs will not get loose or run away? Some day cares have webcams that allow you to monitor your pet from your computer or phone.

Whether you are looking for a fun outing for your dog while you are at work during the day, or you need a place for your pooch to stay while you go out of town, a little research and asking the right questions can help you find the perfect home away from home for your pets.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a 501c3 nonprofit. ARNO operates a volunteer-based, no-kill shelter in the Elmwood Industrial section of Jefferson Parish and depends on generous people who have followed them since Katrina. Contact ARNO at arno.advocate@gmail.com, http://www.animalrescueneworleans.org or (504) 571-1900.