There are so many pet businesses out there it can be a little overwhelming. One offers the same thing but cheaper, people boarding in their homes, or boarding in your home.

So how do you pick?

Personally I’m very picky on where my dogs go. There are places I recommend. But each person is different and some aren’t as picky as me.

At least weekly someone is posting about needing or offering dog sitting or walking.

Here are some things to consider when looking for a someone to walk your dog or a place for them to stay while you are gone.

  1. Insurance- What do you do if something happens to your furry friend? To me this is huge and the reason I always recommend a business. Most people on Kijiji or Facebook just want some extra money. Its those businesses  who have insurance that you may pay more for but its piece of mind. Businesses don’t plan or want things to happen but if it does, your dog is covered. If not are you willing to sue?
  2. Are they licensed? Any good business should have a business license.
  3. Do they have a waiver or form? most forms include vet info as well as someone else to contact in case of an emergency.
  4. For those dog sitting out of their house, do by-laws allow them to do that? And what is the by-law dog limit?
  5. How many dogs do they take at one time? & What sizes?
  6. Do they have any education on dog behavior, training and socialization? Do they have any certificates they can show you? Anyone can call themselves a trainer, behaviourist,  dog sitter, dog daycare attendant or dog walker. Can they prove it. Even many online courses send out certificates that they have some basic knowledge.
  7. How do they handle emergencies?
  8. Where does the dog sleep? I prefer crates in my house as all my dogs are crated.
  9. When dogs are taken out are they on or off leash?
  10. Do they have reference?
  11. Do they have first aid?
  12. Will they do evaluation or a meet and greet before taking your dog? Where do the dog walkers walk and for how long? Even how long will your dog be taken out for a walk while staying with someone and how often?
  13. Cancelation policy?
  14. Boarding facilities- are you able to take a tour? Is it quiet? How to they prevent stress for the dogs there? How do they clean? Do the dogs get outside for a walk or play, is it extra? Again what education if any do they have? What training do staff get to handle dogs?
  15. Are they in the business of making your dog and your life better? (this is another huge one for me)

There are so many options for people and it can be difficult to find a place even some boarding kennels aren’t the best but they are insured, and licensed and there are some new ones out there that I wouldn’t recommend. I don’t have a facility yet but its in the plans. My goal for all the dogs that will come to me is they went home better behaved then when they came to me. Why? Because of structure, basic manners, waiting for food, doors etc.  mean something. If you are doing that at home and the place you are sending your dogs to isn’t, why would you send them there?

Most businesses started out by loving dogs. However as Tina Turner says What’s Love Got Do With it?  Do your research and ask questions. If this was a child would you not look into all of this before sending them to a daycare? Why not do the same for our dogs.