Daytime Care Options For Dog Owners
Mar 02, 2015 01:18AM
● By Mary Oquendo
Fairfield County can be an expensive place to live, driving the adults in many households to work full-time jobs. Add in long commutes and eventually it is the dogs that bear the loneliness of being apart from their people for extended periods of time.
This prolonged time alone can lead to behavioral or physical concerns. Behavioral problems can include destructive behavior due to boredom, as well as over excitability when you come home at night because of the lack of exercise throughout the day. Health problems can become exacerbated if a dog with chronic medical conditions does not receive their timed dose of medications. In addition, dogs holding their urine for prolonged intervals of time on a regular basis has been linked to urinary tract infections and bladder stones.
As a pet owner in Fairfield County, there are many choices available for daily pet care while you are at work.
In your home: You can schedule a specific or range of time for a dog walker to come to your home. A dog walker will walk and spend one on one time with your dog. This is a good solution for those dogs that would not do well around other dogs or people.
Outside of your home: For an additional charge, some dog walkers offer hikes and visits to dog parks. They will spend more one-on-one time as well as provide socialization opportunities with other dogs.
Doggie Day Care Facilities: Some facilities offer a pick-up and drop-off service; the bulk of them do not, so you are responsible for bringing your dog to the facility and picking them up within specified operating hours. A facility may or may not offer interactions with other dogs. Many facilities offer extra services including training, grooming and agility.
Choosing the Best Option for You and Your Dog
There are several factors that may influence your decision.
Cost: The more services and number of visits you require will determine the price for most of these options. Many facilities or dog walkers offer services ranging from a quick home visit to training, hiking, exercise equipment, water sports and more. The least expensive option will be one visit per day from a dog walker at the time they decide on.
Your dog’s personality: Is he good with other animals and people? Does he enjoy being away from home? Will the environment at the facility be stressful or comforting to him?
Your schedule: Can the facility or dog walker accommodate your time constraints?
Considerations When Choosing a Facility or Dog Walker
Personal recommendations: Online reviews do not guarantee that the reviewer is honest. There are instances in which a competitor or someone who did not get the service for free may post a bad review. On the flip side, friends can pepper the reviews as well. A personal recommendation from someone you know is best.
Professionalism: Since the pet industry is not regulated, anyone can open a pet-related business. Find out if they are insured. Do they have forms detailing services, as well as policies and procedures ready for you to sign? What are their health policies? Are they neatly dressed in either a uniform or in logoed attire? Do they have a screening process? How do they interact with your dog? How do they make you feel about leaving your companion in their care?
Safety: Are they certified in pet first aid and is the training less than 2 years old? Protocols change frequently within the veterinary community. Can they recognize a health issue that needs immediate intervention? Do they have training for emergencies and disasters? Do they know what to do in the event of an evacuation? Are they trained in canine body language? Are any employees fully trained as well? Is the facility clean and in good repair, especially the fences?
Commitment to continuing education: Do they attend pet industry educational conferences or are they a member of a professional association such as Pet Sitters International.
Compassion: Working with animals is a labor of love. If training is offered, do they use positive reinforcement?
When it comes to the care of your pets, you want the correct fit, especially if you won’t be present to supervise. While services, cost and accommodating your schedule is important, what makes one choice better than the others is the way your dog will be treated and how happy they will be when you see them at the end of the day.
Mary Oquendo is a Reiki master, advanced crystal master and certified master pet tech pet first aid instructor. She is the co-owner of Hands and Paws-Reiki for All in New Milford. She can be reached at HandsAndPawsReiki.com. See ad, page 39.