Welcome Campers! How to Succeed at Boarding and Day Care

Work. Travel. Life. Pet parents are busy people. While it’s never easy to leave your four-legged friends behind, day-to-day responsibilities sometimes dictate being away from them, requiring short or long-term supervision at doggie day care or a boarding facility. For pet owners unfamiliar with these services, navigating camp for canines can be a stressful task.

With a little knowledge and some up-front work, canine camp can be a great experience for both campers and their parents. Here are a few tips to help you put the best foot—and paw—forward.

For starters, forging a relationship with the owners of your doggie day care or boarding facility can help make a new camp experience easier on you and your pet. The husband and wife team of Isel and Dominic Tiziano at Camp Bow Wow in Naples, Florida say relationships are crucial to raising the comfort level of campers and owners.

“When we know the customers, it is easier for us to determine if something is normal or not,” says Isel Tiziano. “Dogs are emotional, like we are, so if something is happening in the household, dogs may exhibit signs and if we know the customer well, we can decipher what’s going on.”

Getting to know your boarding facility managers also helps acquaint them with your dog’s feeding habits and play requirements and allows them to mimic that at camp.

“All of that lends to making your camper’s experience less stressful,” says Tiziano. “We know our customers so well because they put their trust in our hands and this is priceless.” Maintaining relationships with day care or boarding facility owners is one of the best ways to keep close tabs on your special “camper”.

The Big Day is Here

  • Think about something else when you drop off your pet. Your pet will pick up on your separation anxiety if you don’t keep it in check.
  • Allow your pet to use the bathroom before you arrive at the facility. While most dogs will relieve themselves when they arrive, some will not.
  • Leave at least two extra meals for your pet with the facility when you leave town in case your return is delayed.
  • Bring a bag of your pet’s favorite toys and blanket or bed – the more comfortable he is, the better his experience away from you will be.
  • Opt for the bath – all of the frolicking that goes on at day care and while boarding can leave your pet smelling anything but fresh.
  • Boarding and day care can get pricey, but there are ways to save. Bundling services and buying in bulk is where owners can save a few bucks. Customers can save an average of 10 to 25 percent by pre-paying for day camp and overnights.
  • And finally, one of the most frequently asked questions the Tizianos receive is whether or not to tip camp staff. They allow their staff to accept tips, particularly after clients have been out of town. At Camp Bow Wow, staffers pool tips. As Isel explains, “Your dog may smell great after a bath, but someone else may have played with that dog in the yard, cleaned its cabin or soiled bedding, and another counselor may have noticed a bump, or that the dog was not feeling well, or given the dog medication.” Ask your local camp about their individual tipping policies.

Having a little backup is important for any pet parent from time to time. It takes a village to raise a pup.

Has your dog had a fun camp experience? Feel free to share!