Dog hotels are convenient boarding facilities for those times when you can’t take care of your dog. Plus, most dogs love their stay at dog hotels. The many play opportunities, the spa treatment, and socializing makes dog hotels a heavenly vacation for your dog. However, is it okay to leave your dog at a dog hotel for prolonged periods?
Most people leave their dogs at a dog hotel for two to five weeks while on vacation. It is perfectly alright to leave your dog for longer periods such as three months over summer or even a year or two when traveling overseas or recovering from a serious illness.
Dogs can sometimes suffer from separation anxiety. However, with proper care, this is rarely the case. As long as your dog gets treated well and is properly introduced to other dogs and humans, dog hotel stays can be great and free of harm. Let’s take a look at a few factors for prolonged stays at dog hotels.
Is It Good to Leave Your Dog at A Dog Hotel?
Most dog owners choose a dog hotel because for a limited period the owners can’t take full-time care of their pet. Maybe one has to leave town for work, go for a vacation, or take on more hours at work. Thus, sometimes dog owners feel some guilt for leaving their dog at a dog hotel. This kind of guilt is unnecessary and misplaced.
If you choose your dog hotel well, you will likely book facilities run by professionals. The staff will know how to welcome your dog, engage them in exciting play, stimulate them physically and mentally, and introduce them to the other hotel residents.
To ensure that you’ve picked the right dog hotel:
- Take a tour of the facility, from the kennels to the spa and outdoor facilities.
- Pay attention to temperature and ventilation. With poor ventilation, you’ll smell strong odors.
- Book early if you’ll be leaving your dog over the holidays. Popular dog hotels tend to fill up fast and early.
- Ask as many questions as possible. This will ease your fears and help you enjoy your time away from your dog more. The responses could also help you in knowing whether the dog hotel is professionally run.
- Include all your contacts and if possible, a nearby emergency contact. Indicate whether you want regular updates about your dog and how often you’d like them to report.
Some of the benefits of leaving your dog at a dog hotel include:
- Your dog will enjoy human affection and almost constant attention.
- Your dog will be safe. They will be monitored all the time and get instant treatment for injuries or illnesses.
- Your dog will have a daily routine. A well-established pattern reduces anxiety and builds discipline.
- Your dog receives regular meals, treats, and medical intervention e.g., deworming and vaccinations.
How Long Can You Leave a Dog at A Dog Hotel?
It is common for dog owners to leave their dogs at a dog hotel for three weeks of work vacation or three months of summer vacation. Nonetheless, there are some common instances where people leave their dogs for even two years without negative effects on the dog. A common occurrence is when a military dog owner is deployed abroad or when a dog owner is recovering from a debilitating illness.
Dog hotels are most commonly staffed with people who love and deeply care about animals in general and dogs in particular. The staff and management are well-versed in dog care, training, and veterinary care. The staff understand special care for dogs with special needs. Even though the staff can’t replace the owners, the staff approach your dogs with kindness, patience, and earn the dogs’ trust.
Thus, it is safe to leave your dog at a dog hotel for as long as you need to. Even if you have been the only companion to your dog all their life, dogs adjust well to new environments if treated well. Nonetheless, there can be some drawbacks to leaving your dog in a dog hotel for longer than a couple of months.
Some dogs find it harder to adjust to strangers and new environments than others. It might be difficult identifying the particular stressor your dog is reacting to. For best results, start with a few trial runs lasting a day or two before booking your dog for prolonged stays. If you spend time with your dog at the hotel, the dog learns that this is part of your roaming grounds together.
Most dogs don’t really care if you leave them, especially if they’re used to you coming and going. If they’re under proper care and management, the dog will hardly notice you left even though they get excited when you return.
However, in some cases, a dog will notice the owner’s absence and may spend their whole time there barking, baying, and yelping in distress. You’re the most important human in their life and they can be sad living without you in strange surroundings.
The best cure for this kind of separation anxiety is trial runs before the main booking. You should also take the dog in only when they’re fully exercised. They will adjust better when they come in needing food and rest. Also, watch your own behavior when you’re saying goodbye. Don’t make a fuss and don’t show nervousness. In fact, leave quietly when the dog is deeply engaged in other activities.
Many different dogs from different backgrounds are hosted at dog hotels. If your dog stays there for long, they will be exposed to many different viruses, bacteria, fleas, ticks, and other illness-causing factors. Kennel cough is an especially common respiratory disease though it’s rarely fatal.
Fortunately, such exposure also builds up your dog’s immunity. Your dog’s resistance to disease is likely to become stronger the longer they stay with other dogs.
Dog hotels are in many cases luxury facilities. Your dog will receive extra attention, high end grooming, and costly medical care at a dog hotel more than what most people offer at home. Therefore, for most people, a dog hotel is a last resort. Hiring a dog sitter, rehoming the dog with family, or fostering the dog while you’re on a prolonged journey can be a more cost-effective option.
How Much Does It Cost to Leave Your Dog at A Dog Hotel?
Dog hotel costs range depending on the services included, your location, and the length of booking. Some optional services like grooming, training, swimming in the dog pool, watching the dog TV, and video monitoring can drive up costs significantly.
According to Carsten Rustenbeck, the CEO of International Boarding and Pet Services Association (IBPSA), basic services which typically include boarding, feeding, regular walks, playtime, and basic medical care can cost between $25 and $60 per day. Special treatments in high-end facilities in busy cities might cost more. The basic fee caters for:
- Cleaning of enclosures and grounds.
- Feeding and provision of fresh drinking water.
- Walking dogs and letting them out for potty breaks.
- Giving prescribed medication.
- Providing reports to the owner.
- Monitored playtime with other dogs.