The Benefits of Boarding


We all like for our dogs to travel with us as much as possible…but that’s not always possible. Even the most dedicated dog travelers know that, sooner or later, a situation very well might arise when they need to travel without their dog, such as a business trip or a family emergency. For us, we’re very fortunate to have Paris’ father dog-sit for us. Others opt for professional pet sitters or the ever-growing number of luxury boarding facilities.

We recently received this list of benefits that dogs receive staying at a boarding and daycare facility. Jason Michal,Vice President of Pet Services and Hospitality for Pooch Hotel, Petco’s luxury boarding and daycare facility, notes these benefits to your dog at a boarding facility:

  1. Physically Fit: An estimated 55.6 percent of dogs are considered overweight or obese in the United States according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention and one of the best ways to prevent obesity is regular exercise. “Sending a dog to daycare ensures they are active much of the day while the pet parent is at work,” says Michal. Running around and playing with other four-legged pals helps maintain cardiovascular fitness and a healthy weight. “I always like to tell pet parents that a tired dog is a happy dog,” adds Michal.
  2. Mental Stimulation: Sitting around the house all day and playing with the same old toys can lead to destructive behavior that can demolish a couch or even that pair of shoes that were left lying around. “Dogs can actually get bored,” states Michal. “Pets who attend daycare at Pooch Hotel or our Pooch Play locations are kept occupied with various games and activities supervised by our staff, leaving them mentally stimulated and less likely to destroy the house for attention.” Canines are happy to be kept in a rousing environment where they can play with other dogs and people.
  3. Proper Socialization: Dogs enjoy the socialization aspect of interacting with others. In addition to making friends, pets that attend daycare learn the social skills they need. Dogs are pack animals by nature, but rarely get to be around a pack. This means some dogs can become aggressive or overly fearful of other dogs. “At Pooch Hotel and Pooch Play daycare locations, attendees are divided into play groups by size and/or activity level to ensure their safety,” says Michal. In these groups, pets learn how to play well with others, which often helps dogs work through any anxiety or fearfulness. “Plus, a well-socialized dog is always the most popular pooch at the dog park,” says Michal.
  4. Emotional Health: Hanging out with other dogs during the day can also greatly benefit a dog’s emotional health. Being in a pack environment can help build confidence and their role as a dog. “Our team often plays a pack leader game with the dogs,” says Michal. “The staff acts as pack leader and begins to circle while all the dogs automatically follow along. It may seem simple, but activities like this help dogs do what they were instinctively born to do.”

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About Pooch Hotel

Owned by Petcoâ„¢, Pooch Hotel is a luxury, best-in-class hotel and daycare, exclusively for dogs, that has redefined pet boarding options across the country. The hotels place a premium on convenience, extraordinary customer care, superior facilities and outstanding services. Amenities include Palace and Presidential suites with DogTV (not available at all locations at this time); The Club @ Pooch Hotel featuring a fitness center complete with dog-specific treadmills; spa offering paw-dicures and facials; and supervised daycare. Some hotels also offer custom swimming pools. 24-hour webcam access is available and pet parents can drop off and pick up pets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Locations include West Los Angeles, CA, Dallas TX, Chicago, IL, Hollywood, CA, Sunnyvale, CA, Boston, MA and San Diego, CA.

PRNewsFoto/Pooch Hotel

Winter Safety Tips from Petco


This weekend’s record winter storm in the Northeast means many travelers and their dogs will be facing extreme weather conditions that may impact their travel plans…and residents may find themselves suddenly becoming travelers due to evacuation orders. Petco and pet lifestyle expert Sandy Robins have teamed up to help pet parents be proactive in ensuring their pets’ physical, mental, social and emotional needs are met as the chill sets in.

Physical Safety

  • Keep pets inside. A pet left outside in the elements can be injured or die. In addition, pets who are left outside can become easily lost. Never let a dog off leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, as they can lose their sense of smell and become easily lost.
  • Outdoor cats will often sleep under the hood of the car to stay warm and can be injured when the motor is started. Be sure to bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
  • Before taking a dog outside, make sure to keep hair around its paws trimmed so they gather less snow or water, which can freeze in cold weather making it difficult for animals to walk. Their paws may also bleed from snow or ice so wearing booties while outside is another preventative measure.
  • Wipe off a dog’s legs and stomach when they come back inside, as they can accidentally ingest salt, anti-freeze or other chemicals picked up from the ground outside when grooming themselves.
  • If pets are staying in the garage, make sure chemicals such as antifreeze are out of reach. This sweet liquid is deadly for animals if ingested.
  • Rather than using rock salt, look for pet safe ice melt if needed. Rock salt can be irritating to paws, mouths and stomachs.
  • Never leave a dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a freezer, putting the pet in danger.
  • Smaller, light-weight dog breeds, toy breeds and breeds that have naturally short or thin hair can benefit from a warm dog sweater or coat when they need to go outside. Dogs that tend to have short-cropped hair should also be given a sweater to protect them from low temperatures. Also, older dogs with weaker immune systems and dogs with diseases that impair hair growth typically need an extra source for warmth. For added safety, Petco LuvGear ColdAlert jackets utilize technology that warns pet parents when it’s too cold for dogs to be outside.

Avoid Losing Pets

  • Keep current photographs of pets with important documents. If a pet is lost during a disaster, a sharp, recent photo can be used to make flyers.
  • Keep an up-to-date identification tag securely fastened on pets. If a pet gets out or flees from a scary scene, this will greatly increase the chance they will be returned. Take this measure even for indoor cats. Use breakaway collars, and make sure cats can slip their head out if the collar gets caught on something. Having a cellular telephone number on a pets ID tag instead of a home number is recommended because if there is an evacuation, no one will be home to answer phone calls. Also consider getting microchip IDs for animals.


  • When being evacuated, do not leave pets behind. Remember to take all pets including birds, reptiles, hamsters, rabbits, etc. In case of an emergency evacuation, it is always a good idea to keep an extra harness in vehicles as well as an emergency kit as an extra precaution. Also, make sure to keep a carrier and seatbelt harness for each pet in the car to ensure safe transportation of pets. Put the pet’s name along with the pet parent’s name and phone number on the crate or habitat that the pet will be transported in. This will ensure someone can reach pet parents that are separated from their animal. If transporting small animals, birds, or reptiles and their habitats, this may require additional attention and care to help decrease chances of stress-induced illness and death. It is important to keep pets from different species as separate as possible and maintain the best possible hygiene in order to decrease disease transmission.
  • When transporting animals, park or move the car close to the house and ensure the car is warm before putting a companion animal in the car. If using a carrier to transport a pet, cover the carrier for transport to and from the car to help keep out the cold and wind, but remove the cover once in the car for better ventilation. Plan travel routes in advance so that companion animals are taken directly to intended destinations and take the animal inside the new location first prior to bringing in any other item.
  • Prior to the storm, check with a veterinarian, local animal hospital, kennel or shelter to see if dogs or other pets can be boarded during a disaster. Be prepared to submit current medical records. Put together a “pet network,” in which arrangements are already made with someone outside of the immediate area to care for each other’s pets in a crisis. The same goes for birds, reptiles, fish, hamsters, and any other companion animal in the household.
  • Make sure to have a pet “emergency kit” on hand. This waterproof bag should include pet food and dishes, bottled water, treats, a can opener, medications, potty pads, paper towels and cleaning supplies, copies of pets’ medical records (in a waterproof container), toys, leashes, harnesses, collars, current photos and contact numbers. It’s also important to have a pet’s regular medications. Keeping familiar beds and blankets in the emergency kit can help put pets at emotionally at ease if they are evacuated to an unfamiliar location. For cats, also pack disposable litter pans, litter and a scoop. For small animals, reptiles and fish, be sure to include extra bedding or substrate. Always have at least one week’s supply of water in storage for animals. If the drinking water gets contaminated in a disaster, it’s not safe for people or pets.

Keeping Pets Mentally and Emotionally at Ease

  • Make sure pets have a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy bed with a warm blanket or pillow can do wonders for keeping pets emotionally happy. The same goes for small animals, birds, and reptiles. Make sure habitats are away from windows and drafty areas of the house that are often colder than others.
  • Ten minutes of thinking play can equal 45 minutes of active, outdoor play for pets. During stressful situations such as evacuations or storms, keep pets mentally stimulated and entertained with food puzzles. There are even puzzles for hamsters such as the bedding that hamster’s can sort by color and size.
  • Most importantly, help pets feel emotionally at ease. When the family is stressed, most pets will feel it too. Bringing along their favorite blanket or toy can often help ease anxiety. There are also calming agents and products like the Thundershirt.

For more information on caring for a pet’s physical, mental, social and emotional health, visit: