Dogs are members of the family, and we wish we could take them everywhere with us! However, there are times when hoomans have to leave Fido behind with a dog sitter or at a boarding facility. If you’re looking into boarding your dog, remember that not all kennels are created equal. You definitely need to do some research before leaving your pooch anywhere – whether it’s for five minutes or five days.

Sleepy pup in suite

To help you find a home away from home for Fido, the Hounds Lounge pack has listed ten red flags to look out for when searching for a place to board your dog

red flagRed Flag #1: Lack of Transparency

Furrst things furrst, it’s very impawtant that you book a tour of a boarding facility before actually boarding your dog there! If you never visit, you will miss several of the red flags we cover in this blog. 

If you are denied a tour of a boarding facility, that’s an immediate sign that the facility might have something to hide. You need to know all that goes into boarding your dog, including your pooch’s sleeping arrangements, feeding times, play schedule, hooman supervision and more. If a facility is unwilling to show off their space and share information, they are not the place for you.

green flagGreen Flag:

You can stop by Hounds Lounge for a facility tour Monday through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. or after 6:30 p.m.; Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.; and Sundays between 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. 

Along with offering tours, Hounds Lounge is happy to answer any questions you have about your dog’s stay. We are a family-owned business that started in Central Arkansas, and our customers are near and dear to our hearts. We want pet pawrents to feel 100% comfurrtable leaving their fur babies with us!

red flag

Red Flag #2: Unsanitary Conditions

When you’re touring a facility to potentially board your dog, keep an eye out for any unsanitary conditions, such as bad odors; dirt, poo and fur messes; murky drinking water; uncleaned kennels, etc. A dirty facility is unacceptable for your fur baby.

Boarding suites at Hounds Lounge

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Green Flag:

At Hounds Lounge, the health and safety of our guests are a top priority, therefurr our cleaning regimens are top-notch! We use hospital-grade cleaning products that are safe for both humans and animals and have FDA approval to kill all diseases. We utilize a chemical mixing station to ensure our chemicals are diluted at the absolute safest ratio to meet our cleaning objectives. You can board your dog with ease knowing we clean each private grooming suite daily, wipe all walls and doors in the facility and mop all floors. 

Additionally, we power wash with dog-safe chemicals all of our indoor and outdoor play yards nightly. All of our tubs and grooming stations are also cleaned in between each use. At the end of each day, we rigorously fog the facility to sanitize any dust or dirt that may be floating in the air and we sanitize all of our stainless steel bowls. To take it to the next level, we also change our air filters weekly to ensure clean air flow throughout the facility to combat any airborne yuckies. 

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Red Flag #3: Overcrowding

Some boarding facilities will exceed their maximum capacity of dogs, just to make more money. This is unacceptable, as overcrowding can be detrimental to your dog’s health. More dogs means your dog will be exposed to more germs and experience more stress. 

When you tour a facility to potentially board your dog, pay attention to the kennel area where dogs sleep and/or stay, depending on the facility. (Some facilities keep dogs in kennels for most of their stay, only taking them out for short walks and to go potty.) If the kennels are organized and lined up nicely, that’s a good sign. However, if you notice lots of extra kennels stuck in random places, this might be a sign of overcrowding. 

Pay attention to how many dogs you see and how much personal space they have, both in the kennel area and in the open play area (if there is one). Dogs need room to breathe and plenty of fresh air. Overcrowding can reduce air quality.

green flag

Green Flag:

At Hounds Lounge, our overnight guests enjoy complimentary all-day play in our 5,000+ sq ft indoor/outdoor play yards. At night, each guest sleeps in a spacious, private luxury suite with a raised Kuranda dog bed.

Dog siblings share suite at Hounds Lounge

If you have more than one dog in your fur family, our suites are large enough for siblings to room together at a discounted rate.

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Red Flag #4: Inadequate Staffing

The staff should be one of the most important factors you consider when boarding your dog. If the staff seems uninterested in you and your dog and/or dismissive toward the dogs currently under their care, that’s a red flag. A kennel should be staffed by dog lovers! 

When touring a facility, you should ask about the staff-to-dog ratio to ensure there are enough hoomans to care for the dogs. It’s also important to ask about 24/7 on-site staff. Many boarding facilities leave dogs unattended overnight.

Hounds Lounge staff and dog bonding

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Green Flag:

The Hounds Lounge staff is made up of self-proclaimed dog-a-holics. We love dogs and are truly passionate about caring for them. We typically have 6-8 staff members supervising play, and they are trained to recognize dog body language, ensuring our guests are playing appropriately and safely with one another. 

Hounds Lounge is staffed 24/7, meaning we always have a team member sleep onsite when boarding your dog.

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Red Flag #5: Lack of Safety Measures

Safety should be an absolute top priority at every boarding facility. However, as you will learn, some kennels try to cut corners. When you visit a facility, look for any safety issues, including chemicals dogs could reach, holes in fences, aggressive dogs and a lack of supervision.

Reputable dog boarding kennels will require vaccination records to protect your dog and the rest of their furry guests. If a kennel does not request your dog’s vaccination records, you should eliminate them from consideration!

Ask about the staff’s safety certifications and emergency procedures. You want to know that the boarding facility is prepared for anything, including worst case scenarios.

green flag

Green Flag:

Hounds Lounge is a safe space to board your dog, both physically and mentally. Check out our required and recommended vaccines. We require that our overnight guests be spayed or neutered. Our staff is CPR and Pet First Aid certified and, in the event of an emergency where we can’t reach you or your emergency contact, we will seek veterinary attention. We also have plans in place for natural disasters, like Arkansas tornadoes.

Happy Golden Retriever

Additionally, Hounds Lounge divides our guests into play groups based on size and play style, so everyone gets along! We have limited private retreat suites available for dogs who do not do well in social settings.

red flag

Red Flag #6: Poor Communication

Nothing is worse than reaching out to your dog boarding facility to check on Fido and never hearing back. As a pet pawrent, you want proof that your dog is happy and healthy! Before boarding your dog, ask a facility about their communication system. Do they send out emails, make phone calls or post updates? Before you ever choose to board your dog at a facility, are they responsive to you?

Dog on phone

green flag

Green Flag:

Hounds Lounge is all about keeping you in the loop when boarding your dog. We will send reminders about your upcoming reservation via email, and we will contact you if we have questions, concerns or pupdates during your pooch’s stay. When it’s time for pick-up, we look furrward to giving you the low-down on all your woof’s Hounds Lounge adventures.

On the other paw, you can always drop us an email or DM us on our social media channels to get the scoop on how your woof’s stay is going. We also post several photos a day – many pet pawrents like to check in and see if they can spot their pooch having a grreat time with furriends!

red flag

Red Flag #7: Negative Reviews and Reputation

Before you tour a facility, do a quick Google search and read their reviews – if they are overwhelmingly bad, it just might save you a trip. If there’s one type of person you can trust about boarding your dog, it’s fellow loving pet pawrents. You should seriously consider the reviews they took the time to write! 

You can also ask friends, co-workers and even acquaintances about their experiences with dog boarding facilities. While no two experiences are identical, it still helps to know what others have gone through!

green flag

Green Flag:

In the spirit of transparency, we invite you to Google us!

red flag

Red Flag #8: Hidden Fees

Did you know that some dog boarding facilities will charge extra to administer medicine? It’s appawlling. When you’re searching for a boarding facility, look into pricing and ask about additional fees. Inquire about “perks” and extra costs that might come up. A good boarding facility will provide you with a menu or online landing page that breaks down pricing.

Bath at Hounds Lounge

green flag

Green Flag:

You can view all of Hounds Lounge’s pricing online! When boarding your dog, we offer several amenities for an added fee, but many of them are free. Furr example, our overnight guests enjoy free doggy daycare, we happily administer medicine at no additional charge and stays longer than 7 nights earn a complimentary exit bath.

red flag

Red Flag #9: Lack of Proper Amenities 

If you’re paying a good chunk of change for your pooch to stay in a nice place, there better be some benefits! When visiting a facility, look around and ask questions. Is there fresh water? Are the kennels spacious with comfortable bedding? Is the boarding space temperature-controlled? Is there play time? Do dogs receive plenty of cuddles if they need them? 

If you’re not getting the most bark for your buck, you need to find a different kennel.

Dog cuddles with staff

green flag

Green Flag:

Hounds Lounge offers all the benefits listed above for boarding your dog! Additionally, we offer complimentary turn-down service and personal attention at night. We’ll sit with your pooch and make them feel loved before it’s sleepy time! 

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Red Flag #10: It’s Not Hounds Lounge

Not to toot our own squeaky toy, but Hounds Lounge is clearly the top choice for boarding your dog! From our clean facility to our loving staff to our paw-some amenities, we are a grreat place to leave your pooch overnight. If you’ve never met our pack, please swing by for a visit and a tour!

Dogs hanging out

If you’d like for your pooch to give Hounds Lounge a test run before sleeping over, we welcome them to doggy daycare! They will get to experience what day time is like for our boarding guests. Plus, the first day of doggy daycare is FREE! Make a reservation now.

Boarding your dog – especially for the first time – is never easy. However, once you’ve found a dog boarding facility you can trust, you’ll feel peace of mind knowing your fur baby is safe, happy and healthy there. Look into one of our five Hounds Lounge locations today!

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