Is that pet care facility really as clean as it appears?
Leaving your pet in the care of a business doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. Regardless of where your pet will be spending their “stay-cations”, there are important health and safety questions you should be asking before you making that reservation. Despite stringent health and vaccination requirements, there is still a potential for your dog to become ill during a boarding stay.
For example, the bordetella vaccination is almost universally required at boarding and daycare facilities at this point. But really, bordetella (AKA “canine cough” or “kennel cough”) is a bacteria and unlike vaccines made for viruses, vaccines for bacteria have a higher failure rate. This means that despite being vaccinated, your dog can still be susceptible to contracting the illness.
So, how do you prevent this? How do you weed out the safe places from the sketchy ones? Consider this:
- What does it smell like when you first walk inside?
a. Smelling like dog: You know the smell. Some pet stores or vets just have that “dog smell” that hits your nose when you first enter. A properly sanitized surface will be free of lingering smells. If the surfaces are clean but there is still an odor, this begs the question of how frequently upholstered surfaces are sanitized fully. These can be breeding grounds for some funky bacteria! Smells can also remain in the air duct system. The HVAC system should be properly filtered to trap harmful airborne contaminants.
b. Overwhelming chemical smells: Some places may try to cover unpleasant smells by using fragrant chemicals or cleaners that have a strong scent. This simply masks the problem but doesn’t address it. Heavy cleaning smells also raise the concern of whether chemicals are being mixed and used appropriately. Are they measuring the cleaning agents, or is it more of an “eye balling” measurement?
2. Do they pay attention to dog-level surfaces?
a. Nose art: Look at the walls and windows at your dog’s eye level. Can you notice the last weeks’ worth of “nose art” on the walls and counter faces? While nose art on your car window can be endearing, it’s absolutely not something you want to see at your pet’s boarding facility. Mucus and saliva are perfect vehicles for transmitting disease. If the cleaning processes are missing these easy-to-reach areas, where else are they falling short?
3. More Things to Consider:
a. Common Area Sanitization: Daycare areas should be sanitized at the end of each play day, including walls, floors, and play equipment. Boarding accommodations should be cleaned between each pet at a minimum. Even if your pet isn’t doing a group activity, the staff caring for your pet are likely coming into contact with those areas in between interacting with your pet. Ask the staff about their cleaning process in detail.
b. Human vs Animal contagions: While Lysol boasts that it kills “99.9% of household viruses and bacteria”, that claim really is a human application. Your pet care facility should be using a veterinary grade disinfectant and cleaner that kills pathogens harmful to pets. Cleaning agents used should have the ability to kill parvovirus, giardia, and the like to ensure your pet is safe from these diseases. Don’t be afraid to ask what specific kennel cleaning agent is used, and research the product’s applications.
c. Pet Bowl Cleaning: You want to ensure your dog is receiving fresh food and water bowls regularly during their stay. Food bowls should be changed out at least once per day. Water bowls can be changed or cleaned every other day. Eating and drinking from the same container without cleaning is harmful to us and to our dogs. Especially if bowls are shared in common areas (such as water bowls out in play yards), you want to ensure your pet’s chance of contracting an illness this way is minimized.
At Bayside Pet Resort, proper cleaning is at the top of our priorities.
In addition to tracking regular cleaning activities, we also perform monthly environmental rounds with the President and the Director of Operations. These checks ensure that all amenities are up to our strict cleanliness standards, right down to the tile grout! We use an eco-friendly veterinary cleaning agent called KennelSol, which is a broad spectrum germicidal cleaner. We use this product in a closed system specialized vacuum that removes the dirty water rather than just rinsing it away. It’s all part of how we provide the safest experience possible for our guests.