Frequently Asked Questions
Nope! Visiting dogs have free roam of the main part of our house and can choose the couch or dog bed on which they would like to sleep. We like giving them the ability to stretch their legs, have a drink of water whenever they wish, and get lots of affection from us.
What should I bring if my dog is boarding with you?
We have tons of bedding, bowls, toys and treats. All you need to bring is your dog’s food for the time he is visiting, as we have found that abrupt food changes can cause diarrhea. You’re welcome to bring some of your dog’s favourite treats and we’ll make sure they’re reserved for him, but they’re not necessary. If your dog is on any supplements or medications, you will need to bring those along with clear instructions. We have found that sometimes owners will forget leashes on the return if they took them with them, so it’s probably best to leave the leash and we’ll make sure it gets put into your dog’s named “locker bin” (just like preschool!).
What happens if my dog or cat gets sick while I’m away?
If it’s something minor, we will contact you and get instructions. We’re happy to take your pet to his regular vet if needed. For many minor ailments, Lorna’s veterinary training is sufficient to deal with various tummy upsets, bug bites, hot spots, cuts, etc. but we will NEVER take chances with your pet. In an emergency, we will take your pet to Mass RI Veterinary ER in Swansea, Massachusetts. The doctors there will require owner permission to treat your pet, so if it is a time-critical issue and they need to stabilize your pet, it is essential that you can be reached as SOON as possible. We will contact you and the hospital will contact you, but if for any reason you’re not reachable, we could be losing crucial time treating your pet. This is why we offer you the option to give Gentle Paws the ability to have your pet treated in an emergency. There is an optional clause you can look over and sign at the bottom of the registration form.
Who is responsible for veterinary care payments while I am away?
If your pet requires veterinary care, we will contact you in advance and anticipate that you will be in touch directly with the veterinary office administering care and can provide payment over the phone via credit card directly to the hospital.
When is payment due for boarding or pet sitting?
We ask that you pay in advance by check or cash. Payment can be made at drop-off for boarding, or left on the kitchen counter for at-home pet sitting.
Do you have a pick-up and drop-off procedure?
Yes! It is not uncommon for us to have other dogs visiting, so if you are bringing your dog for boarding, it is extremely helpful for us to know in advance when you are bringing your dog. Please either make a drop-off appointment or call us ahead. This ensures two things: 1) Someone is here to receive your pet, and 2) We have a few minutes to herd other dogs out to the back play area so that when your dog arrives there is quiet for him to get adjusted before doggy introductions. This also applies to pick-ups. Please call ahead so that we get your dog’s things ready and so that the other dogs will not jump all over you in excitement when you arrive.
PICK-UPS AND DROP-OFFS may be done almost anytime by appointment. For evening drop-offs, we don’t charge extra – we’ll “start the clock” the next full day. 🙂
How do you introduce dogs who haven’t met before?
We introduce the dogs slowly. When your dog arrives, the other ones are playing outside. We’ll then let them sniff each other through a baby gate, and then introduce them slowly and with supervision. Dogs will typically sniff each other and then begin to play together or just ignore each other. We do not accept dogs for boarding that are aggressive with other dogs.
Do you have a vaccination policy?
Yes. Visiting dogs should be up to date on rabies and distemper vaccinations, and just as with doggy play groups and grooming, we recommend bortadella (kennel cough) vaccinations. Our dogs are always fully up to date on their vaccines. Be aware that bortadella vaccinations are not effective until about two weeks after they are administered. Dogs who have been vaccinated against bortadella do sometimes get it, but it’s usually less severe. Having said that, it’s not something to be overly concerned with, as most dogs are exposed to it at some point and it’s essentially a doggie version of a cold.
For new clients, PLEASE bring a copy of vaccination records for our records.
Do you recommend a flea and tick preventative?
Absolutely. The last couple of years the flea and tick problem has been particularly bad, possibly because of increased resistance to the products we’ve all been using) and we recommend that you give your pet a monthly preventative. We personally recommend Revolution, which seems to have a higher efficacy rate than others, or the Seresto collar (initially pricey but it lasts 8 months!). When dogs are playing here, they will have access to a very large outdoor back yard that is fully fenced in but that does have some nearby brush and backs up to woods.
What happens if my dog bites another dog while boarding with you? Or if my dog gets bitten by another dog?
On the registration form for boarding dogs, we have a bite policy that states that if your dog bites another dog, you will be responsible for the veterinary bills related to the bite. Conversely, if your dog is bitten, the owners of the offending dog will be responsible for your dog’s vet bills related to the bite. Because we only accept dog-friendly boarders, the likelihood of bites is extremely low.
Do you board anything besides dogs?
We are happy to board small animals in cages such as hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets and rabbits, with whom we have a great deal of experience, or to go check in on them at your house. However, we definitely recommend that cats be watched in your home, as they are much more prone to stress in unfamiliar environments. If you are boarding a dog with us, we are happy to add cat sitting in your home for a very nominal fee.
My dog is a counter surfer. Can you make sure he doesn’t get into anything harmful?
We’re used to counter surfers! All medications and supplements are kept out of reach of animals in a closed kitchen cabinet, along with anything that might pose a health risk such as chocolate, raisins, etc. Because we care for dogs and cats daily, we are acutely conscious of safety and very careful with such things as grapes and chicken bones, etc. All the toys we provide are dog-safe, without small parts that can be swallowed, and we monitor toys to make sure they are not chewed up to the extent that they become choking hazards.
Your registration form asks about idiosyncrasies and anxieties. What does that mean?
It’s helpful to us to know ahead of time if your dog is afraid of anything, such as thunderstorms, the sound of the mail truck, etc., if your dog can’t go to sleep without a specific routine such as an ear rub or a biscuit, if your dog kills any tissue box he sees and doesn’t rest until every tissue is shredded, if your dog chases cats, etc.
Do you really shower your visitor dogs with affection?
We sure do! We love animals and your dogs are no exception. We will rub their ears and gently stroke their backs, and generally shower them with affection and attention, but are also very experienced with knowing when they would like space! 🙂
“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” ~ Dean Koontz
“The dog’s agenda is simple, fathomable, overt: I want. “I want to go out, come in, eat something, lie here, play with that, kiss you. There are no ulterior motives with a dog, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges if a request is denied.” ~ Caroline Knapp
“A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.” ~ Robert Benchley
“Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.” ~ Max Eastman