The Province

Sunday, August 2, 2009
Five tips: How to make sure your pet’s stay won’t be a ‘woof’ one while you’re away
By: Dana Gee – Staff Reporter
So you’ve decided you are going to get away for a few days to Tofino or maybe even do that month-long tour of the south of France.

One problem: you have a pooch that needs a place to stay.

So with that in mind we enlisted Modern dog magazine Publisher and editor-in-chief Connie Wilson to offer some tips when it comes to picking a boarding facility for our favorite canine.

“For many of us, our dogs are family members, so when travel forces us to leave Rover behind we want to make sure he’s comfortable, happy and well taken care of in our absence,” say Wilson, who started the Vancouver-based Modern Dog in 2002.

“That’s why we’re seeing an increasing number of upscale dog ‘hotels’ where home-away-from-home comfort is provided for canine ‘kids.’”

One such upscale hotel that Wilson recommends is the posh, well appointed, Rex Hotel + Spa ( on Terminal St. But, as Wilson points out, whether you decide to go to an upscale dog hotel or a more budget-conscious facility, there are a number of key things –like booking well in advance– you should consider, before dropping of the dog. Here are five tips WIlson says will help you find the perfect canine home away from home.

1. Think about your dog’s needs before beginning your search. If your dog isn’t well socialized, he likely won’t enjoy his stay. If your dog is an activity freak, make sure the facility you choose has an adequate exercise regiment in place as well as space to run off that excess energy. Some boarding facilities provide lengthy nature walks, but expect to pay extra for this feature.

2. Don’t rush. Always visit the boarding facility well in advance of your trip, make sure you get a tour of the sleeping, exercise and feeding areas, as well as a chance to meet and chat with the staff. Doing this will give you ample time to choose an alternate facility should it look disorganized, unclean or otherwise poorly managed.

3. Ask for references or customer testimonials.

4. If you feel uncomfortable about any aspect of the boarding facility, trust your instincts and look elsewhere.

5. Once you’re satisfied with the facility you’ve chosen, be prepared to complete paperwork outlining your dog’s history, veterinarian, your contact info, emergency contact, as well as the policy to follow should your dog require immediate veterinary attention while in the facility’s care. Avoid Last-minute frustrations and get this done well in advance of your trip.