Is a pet suite more than a personal sitter or a kennel? Is it a doggy day care? How do they differ from your average boarding facility? Read on to find out what exactly pet suites are, what you should look for in a pet suite, and how to know which suites to avoid.
What is a Pet Suite Anyway?
Put simply, pet suites are full-service hotels for your cat or dog. They’re luxury accommodations for your pet for while you’re out of town.
These facilities go above and beyond the average kennel in terms of accommodations for your pet, and the services they provide. Pet suites generally provide private “rooms” for your pet to stay in while you’re away. These suites come equipped with cat or dog beds, food and water stations, and sometimes a small play area. Some suites offer “views” as well: a park view for dogs, or fish tanks for cats.
In other words, these aren’t the crate and linoleum accommodations you may be used to at a kennel. In a pet suite your pet should be treated like Elouise at the Plaza. They’ll receive daily exercise and play, provided by trained employees, sometimes even above and beyond what they usually receive at home. They’ll also receive the other care you might imagine they would, including regular feedings and close monitoring of their well being.
Most pet suites will administer any medications your pet needs, and all should provide on or offsite medical care if required.
Finding the Right Pet Suite
With the growth in popularity of pet suites, most communities have several options. There are locally owned pet suite businesses, as well as national chains of pet hotels. As with any service, it can be helpful to ask friends and family for a recommendation. Also ask your veterinarian, groomer, or other pet professional.
Do a bit of comparison shopping. Check out pet suite websites, and visit in person before you book your pet’s stay. An in person visit is especially important, as seeing a place for yourself can tell you a lot about the accommodations provided, the level of professional services given, and how well a pet suite is run.
The key is to talk to the staff and look around.
Are staff friendly and good with animals?
What are their credentials?
Are the facilities clean and orderly?
A good pet suite will let you see the entire facility, from pet accommodations, to food preparation rooms, to play areas. Of course, there may be a wide range of prices for pet suites, so ask for rates up front. Make sure you’re paying for services your pet actually needs or what you actually want for them. Fancy extras like in-room TVs of animals at play may not really enhance your pet’s stay at all. Be sure you know where the fees are going and that you’re happy to pay for the services.
The WRONG Pet Suite
If you visit a pet suite and see any of the following, think twice about boarding your cat or dog there.
Dirty or poorly maintained facilities: You wouldn’t take your family to a hotel with dirty rooms, cracked parking lots, or a lobby that smells like old fish. When visiting a pet suite, if anything looks, feels, or smells bad, find another place for your pet.
Stressed or unhappy employees: Working with pets, and making sure they’re happy and healthy, requires a staff that loves pets and loves their job. Employees who are agitated, angry, or bored are warning signs of a bad pet suite.
Unhappy pets: Take a look at the guests of the pet suite, too. Do the dogs and cats seem comfortable and calm, or are they on edge, mopey, or afraid? Are they playing together in the common areas, or are they growling, hiding, or sulking?
Off limit areas: A pet suite should allow you to visit all areas of the facility. It’s important that you have confidence about the place’s cleanliness.
Poor emergency protocols: A pet suite should be prepared to handle emergencies with your pet, including injuries and illnesses.
Tips for Choosing a Pet Suite
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