When boarding your pet for any period of time, make sure to do your homework on what kennel would best suit your furry friend

Sometimes it’s impossible to take your four-legged kids along on business trips, family visits or vacations, so a safe, clean, comfortable, properly managed pet hospitality solution with either a pet hotel or kennel boarding service provider is required. Pet hospitality service lengths can be defined as short-term stays (two to five overnight stays) to a longer term boarding, which might be weeks.

Pet hotels are indoor boarding facilities consisting of areas, rooms or suites mimicking the home environment provided as specialty services by pet stores and veterinarian clinics, or by a stand-alone business. The other type of service is kennel boarding, with an off-leash, large outdoor setting where socialization and interaction of dogs is maximized. The outdoor kennels are usually made of wire mesh, built with partial walls and sheltered from the sun and elements. This creates an open environment where dogs can see, smell and hear everything, reducing stress and barking. In Vietnam, outdoor kennels should have a few air conditioned spaces available or small bodies of water for cooling down dogs from playing and running in the intense heat and humidity.

Although pet hospitality providers and their boarding services are quite new In Vietnam and still maturing in service development, pet lover and author Nguyen Bao Sinh pioneered the first pet hotel in Vietnam. The Bao Sinh Cat Dog Resort, opened in Hanoi in 2000, is considered a five-star boarding service where, some say, set the standard for the pet hospitality industry in Vietnam.

It would be misleading to say that there is a properly functioning, regulated pet hospitality industry in Vietnam, compared to other countries. In some developed countries there is a rigorous process of obtaining a boarding license from a local authority. There is the screening of individuals (prospective owners and personnel) of their knowledge and experience with dogs or cats and business intent before a business license is approved. Some countries have governing associations setting standards with strict policies, rules and regulations, including periodic random on-site inspections for cleanliness, hygiene, orderliness and acceptable behavior and handling of bordered pets. Not so, in Vietnam.

Cat and Christmas lights. Cute ginger cat lying near the window and play with lights.

Read The Fine Print Of A Service Contract! But Is There One?

To protect pet-owners and their pets, and boarding service providers in Vietnam, a detailed application process should be expected with an application form completed and signedoff by both parties. Essentially, this form should resemble a service contract with terms and conditions. This form will also allow a service provider to build a get-to-know profile of your dog/cat, including name, known health issues, special diets, vaccinations, age, sex, breed and behavior, especially aggressiveness, socialization level or anxiety. The form should include all vital contact information from both parties, especially in case of an emergency. This application and screening process will also allow the pet-owner to understand the service provider and if their pets are suitable at their boarding and then help them in deciding what type of boarding service solution is best.

278792-P5U7DM-562

For Dogs Only

Both parties must acknowledge and agree, in writing, that there are potential risks and liabilities involved. Not all dogs are properly trained and socialized entering a boarding service. Dogs are also unpredictable in their behavior; rough play will always be present, especially interacting with other unknown dogs. Dogs may get hurt or damage property. They can be cut, scraped and obtain punctures. Dogs can develop sore or injured joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. They might ingest foreign bodies or even catch airborne viruses and various strains of kennel cough (that is why it is a must that a dog be properly vaccinated). Therefore, it is in the best interests of the service provider and the dog-owner to have all terms and conditions noted in a release waiver of liability and possibly detailing extra costs, paid by either the dog owner or service provider, caused by incidents involving their dog on the boarding premises, including but not exclusive of damage of property, medical treatment and other associated pet care costs.

For dog-owners, always present an up-to-date health passport in the application process. All dogs must have vaccinations for contagious diseases like Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus, Bordetella, Rabies, Canine Influenza and Kennel Cough. All dogs seven months or older must be spayed or neutered. Pets entering boarding premises must be free of fleas and ticks—this is the responsibility of the dog-owner.

All pet hospitality service providers should insist that all dogs allowed in their boarding be in good health. Dogowners should be able to certify that their dogs are in good health and have not been ill with a contagious ailment, including the diseases mentioned above, and Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Ringworm, Canine Hepatitis, Fungal Infections and Heartworm. Dogs must be free from any contagious conditions, which could potentially jeopardize the health of other dogs in the boarding facility. Dogs that have been ill with a contagious condition in the last 30 days should require a veterinarian certification of good health.

What About Boarding Cats?

If you decide to border your cat they should have vaccination for Rabies, Feline Panleukopenia, Calicivirus and Rhinotracheitis. If the cats are allowed to socialize with other cats then they must have vaccinations for Feline Leukemia and AIDS. Depending on the lifestyle of your cat (Is it an indoor cat? A solitary cat? Or live with a group of cats?) a cat should be brought in a carrier it is familiar with and possibly be ace or used as their kennel. Also, the environment of the boarding facility should be somewhat quiet, clean, especially around litter boxes and a suitable separation between cats and dogs.

Separation Anxiety

Dogs and cats do suffer from separation anxiety from their owners over extended periods of time and a pet hotel or a boarding solution may not be a good idea. If you still need pet accommodations there are a few relaxing Pheromone products on the market such as DAP (dogs) and Feliway (cats) that can help ease anxiety. As an alternative to medicine, a good idea is to leave an item, or two, of your clothing that has your scent and place them in the kennel or room where the pet will stay and sleep; this may help ease the separation anxiety.

Finally, a few more questions you should ask management and other observations that you should take note of are:

• If possible, tour or inspect the boarding facility beforehand. It should be somewhat odor free and quiet, very hard to do with dogs, but required for cats. Take note on how the staff handle dogs or cats in their care? Are they sensitive and caring or rough? Ask how many times a day are the boarding areas cleaned? How are they cleaned, with disinfecting, anti-bacteria cleaning solutions? Is the kennel kept at a comfortable temperature, with adequate ventilation, air conditioning and well lit?

• How many times a day is the dogs exercised? Are there structured daily activities or are they kept in a kennel or carrier for the duration of the boarding? Are dogs exercised in groups or individually?

• Are you allowed to bring your pet’s favorite piece of bedding, clothing, toys and food? If they do not allow you to bring your own food and treats, ask what type of food is provided? How many feeding times a day? Look for clean bowls of water around the facility.

• Are you able to install a video camera so you can interact with your dog/cat and monitor their stay? Or maybe they have their own system, ask if you are allowed to access the video feed online? A web cam interaction can also calm separation anxiety.

• If your dog has special needs, a physical disability or other medical issues ask if staff can manage these responsibly, if there is an incident. Note: these issues should be discussed in the application process and documented in the contract, as a reminder to staff members.

• How secure is the pet hotel/boarding facility to prevent pets from escaping? Is it locked overnight and guarded against pet thieves 24/7? Are there staff available 24 hours a day to check and monitor dogs/cats during the night?

• Does the boarding facility offer other pet services like grooming or medical care? What is the policy of the facility when a dog/cat gets sick or hurt? Does the facility have a working relationship with a local veterinarian or have an in-house veterinarian present during the day or on-call at night?

Bed & Pet-first Dog Villa is the first pet villa brand in Vietnam offering the best care and amenities for your pets. Their 11,000 sq ft villa was designed with the best comfort in mind and every little detail is considered so that your pet can relax and enjoy their stay. Services include: Boarding, Dog daycare, Bathing, Grooming, Dog Walking, Pet shop and more. 

14A6 Thao Dien, D2;

(028)3744 4178/093 4080 186

www.bedandpetfirst.comFacebook.com/bedandpetfirst