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, much like child day care, and can include activities such as pool time, group play and snacks. Not all dog day cares are equal, so proper research should be done to choose the best facility.
ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS: Peer reviews and word of mouth can be a great way to narrow down the search for a good dog day care.
TOUR THE FACILITY: See how the dogs there are being treated. Are the kennels spacious? Is the staff interacting with the animals? Ask for references.
CHECK THE PAPERWORK: Is the facility properly licensed and insured? Make sure the company is fully covered in the unlikely event that something should happen while a dog is in their care.
SOCIALIZATION ISSUES: Many day cares have “big dog” rooms and “small dog” rooms, where animals of the same size are allowed to interact. It is important to ask how the dogs are “tested” to make sure this group play time is safe and fun for all pets.
HOUSING: The size of dog enclosures at the boarding facility is important. The animal should have enough space to move around comfortably and not be cramped in a small cage for long periods of time.
FOOD: This is especially important if a dog has special dietary needs.
PEOPLE TIME: Positive human interaction will result in an overall positive experience and will make day care a treat for pets.
EXERCISE: Make sure that the outdoor area of the day care is safe and secure. If the dogs are walked, ask where they are walked and whether secure leashing protocols are in place.
STAFF: Ask about screening for employees and how the business finds the best dog handlers for the facility. When a group of dogs gets together, anything is possible. Make sure the staff has the skills and expertise to deal with any situation that may arise. Compassion of staff members is equally important.
SECURITY: A good day care should be able to provide information on how dogs are protected from the general public and how they ensure that a dog will not get loose or run away. Pet safety is of the utmost importance. Some facilities have webcams that allow remote monitoring.
Asking the right questions can help find the perfect home away from home for your pets.
VEHICLE DONATIONS: The Humane Society of Louisiana is accepting used vehicles, SUVs and boats for resale. Proceeds will benefit the group’s local and statewide humane programs and services. All donations are tax-deductible. For information, contact the society at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 6-HUMANE.
BARK WEEK: Registration is open for Jack Russell racing on Sunday, Feb. 22, and wiener dog racing on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Fair Grounds Race Course, 1751 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans. Registration is $30; top finishers will receive cash prizes and goodie baskets, with the overall winner taking home $500 cash. To register, go to www.fgno.com or Double M Feed, 3212 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie.
PET FIRST AID: A pet first aid and CPR course will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., New Orleans. The course fee is $65. To register, visit la-spca.org.
CHEERS FOR CHARITY: A happy hour benefiting Louisiana SPCA will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Rusty Nail, 1100 Constance St., New Orleans. During the event, 20 percent of sales will be donated to the Louisiana SPCA. Friendly, leashed pets are welcome inside and outside on the patio. For information, visit therustynail.biz.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to email@example.com. In Jefferson Parish, email firstname.lastname@example.org and bbourgeois @jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, email email@example.com.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@ gmail.com, www.animal rescueneworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.