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Pet Parents "Beware"

Dog in Bed
Dog in Bed
image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/

Pet day care and pet sitting services are big business. Ten years ago, a day care for pets was unheard of, but today it is a billion dollar business. These facilities are not regulated and they are very seldom a subject of government inspections.

The State of Colorado has a few requirements, such as requiring a dog care facility to have at least one human for every 15 dogs. These rules apparently aren't strictly enforced because a facility in Colorado was discovered as having only a surveillance camera watching the dogs. The Better Business Bureau reported that complaints on pet boarding facilities and pet sitting services has more than doubled in the past five years.

There are constant stories, from all over the Country, of dogs being killed or injured in a day care facility or by a negligent pet sitter. These facilities are started by people that love animals, so they start a business that allows them to care for animals and make a profit at the same time. The problem is that a large majority of these facilities are staffed by people that are not trained in first aid or CPR for animals and would not know what to do in an emergency.

It is up to you to research a facility or pet sitter to ensure the safety of your pet. Talk to your Veterinarian, local animal shelter or your neighbor to get references on a facility or pet sitter. Physically inspect a facility or sit down with a potential pet sitter to find out how they do business and how they would deal with an emergency situation. Some facilities have web cam capabilities that allow you to monitor your own pet.

If you have a small, delicate dog and you don't want that pet involved in a group play time, then inform the facility of your preference. Never assume that the day care center won't place your pet in a group play situation with larger dogs. Ask questions and read the contract thoroughly before you sign it.