TLC FAQ Page
Welcome to our FAQ page. These are some of the most common questions we get asked. Hopefully you’ll find the answer to your question here. If you don’t, please don’t hesitate to call or contact us to ask.
What will I need to do when I drop off my pet the first time? Do I need to bring anything? Can I bring blankets or toys?
The first time you use our services, you will need to fill out an information package and we will need to set up a profile in our computer. Please allow yourself extra time for this. You will need emergency numbers, including at least one land line. It is important that we can reach you or someone qualified to act on your behalf. Your pet needs to be up to date on his/her rabies vaccine per Massachusetts state law. You will need to bring a copy of it or a copy of a vet bill with the expiration date prominently displayed. Dog tags do not qualify as proof of a rabies vaccine since the date may have expired since you received your tag.
We do not recommend bringing in your dogs own items from home. You may bring toys or an old towel, but we cannot guarantee their return. Do not send favorite toys! Things get torn and thrown away or buried! Putting your last name on the toy/towel with permanent marker will help identify it after washing. Try not to bring bulky beds and blankets since they are hard to wash. Even if your dog is generally clean, he may track mud in from outside or water may spill on it. We cannot leave soiled or wet beds/blankets in the run, so we will need to be able to wash it or dry it. Keep in mind that we have hundreds of blankets that we share anyway!
I may have to board my pet for a few months. Is there a discount and can I visit him?
We require at least 1 month paid up front on long-term boarders, and each month thereafter paid in advance. In turn, we offer a 10% discount on the boarding rate and we will give your pet extra exercise as needed. We discourage visits to short-term boarders because the pet thinks he’s going home and then is left again. This is worse on the pet then not spending a little time with you. Regarding long-term boarders, we sometimes make exceptions to that. Each pet will be evaluated and recommendations made by interpreting individual personalities and circumstances. Any owner can override this advice at any time, but we ask that you strongly consider our professional opinions while debating your decisions. We always do what we feel is best for the pet.
What if there is a problem with my pet?
When you drop off your pet, we require emergency numbers. You will not be able to leave your pet without leaving numbers (including at least 1 land line) of someone who can get in touch with you or is qualified to make medical decisions. Privacy issues require veterinarians to discuss a pet’s health only with his/her owner. It may be a good idea to let your veterinarian know your wishes regarding your pet and any potential health problems. Our protocol requires that we first attempt to call your vet for advice. Subsequently, we will contact your emergency persons for your input. We also consider our experience and judgment. If any of the above three groups prefer to have the pet seen by a vet, we will transport him/her, at your expense to a veterinarian (preferably yours if available). If your vet is not available, we will use whomever we feel appropriate at the time. In a dire emergency, we will seek the closest treatment possible first, then make calls as needed. If your pet has a pre-existing condition, please let us know his/her symptoms so we don’t repeat vet visits. Also, if you have a financial limit on medical expenses for your pet, you will need to put that in writing for our records and speak to your veterinarian about it so he/she knows your wishes.
Can you give my dog medication?
We can give oral and topical medications as supplied by the pet’s owner or veterinarian. You will be asked to fill out a ‘medications form’ each time your pet boards since dosages often change between visits. There may also be a slight additional charge. We may consider giving insulin shots depending on the circumstances. There would be an additional charge for this since only limited employees are injection trained, so someone may need to make a special trip in order to give a pet the shot in a timely manner.
Are the animals alone at night? When I toured the kennel, the dogs barked a lot! Do they bark all the time? What if I want to pick up my dog after you close? Can I pick up my dog on a holiday?
Dogs become familiar with our employees quickly. They are relatively quiet except when a new dog or a stranger enters the yard, then they “express their greetings!” Dogs are generally very tired at night after a full day of activity so nighttime is very quiet. We try to have new dogs arrive as early in the day as possible so that they tire a little before evening. Our employees usually close the kennel by 8 pm and arrive around 7 am, depending on the season. We have an alarm company that monitors the property during this time. There is also a tenant who lives on the property and is available in case of emergency. However, we are very strict about our hours. Clients should never approach the tenants after hours. Although the current tenant does also work at TLC, he would not have information on your dog and is not allowed to open the shop or kennel except in an emergency. Even if an employee is still on the premises after we close, it is not fair to disturb the rest of the dogs after they go to bed for the night. Likewise, to enter the kennel before we open to retrieve a pet or introduce a new pet is not fair to the rest who are patiently waiting to get outside. We are closed to the public for most major holidays and on Sunday mornings, though employees are here to care for the animals. These employees care strictly for the pets and are not allowed to open the shop or deal with clients. This allows for a quieter atmosphere for neighbors on these special days. Every interruption disturbs the pets routines, so please respect our hours.
Will my dog be with other dogs?
The only dogs that would ever be together inside the kennel are dogs who live in the same family and get along well. Outside, no dogs are ever together unless YOU request a daycare or social hour session. Even then, the dogs will be screened and then monitored while in the playgroup. See these options under ‘dog boarding’.
How big are the inside runs? Will my dog be in a crate?
We have many different size runs. TLC Pet Haven is unique because our large building was designed with large dogs in mind! The runs are 14 feet long by 4 feet wide; plenty of room for the largest of dogs or multiple pet families! Some of these runs can also be split into two 7 foot runs for those who want to be close, but need to be separate.
One of our buildings has indoor/outdoor runs, so the dog can choose which he/she wants to do! These are also good for pets who are a little shy. We do use some crates, but those are usually for those smaller dogs who are a little intimidated by the ’big boys’ or feel more secure in a smaller, quieter area. Big is not always better! We use our judgment and years of experience to best decide who goes where. We consider, size, temperament, and activity level. We ALWAYS do what is best for the dog under the given circumstances that particular day. Example: a Chihuahua, who usually stays, during a slower season, in the same room with everyone else, may be intimidated this weekend by an influx of German Shepherds and Rottweilers! For this particular weekend, he may have a smaller cage in a quieter area.
Are the dogs inside all day? Are they in a cage at all times? Will my dog get any exercise? What if it’s raining or snowing?
On nice days, most dogs are taken outside to an individual run with a platform and water. These outdoor areas are from 8 feet long for small dogs up to 14 feet long for large dogs. Even without this room, the dogs are constantly jumping and barking with their new friends. Some people are concerned when their dogs go home and sleep more than usual, but it is because they are so tired from all the activity going on around them while at the kennel!
For additional exercise, we also offer social hours and playtimes for extra fun! (See description of these activities under ‘dog boarding’) If the weather is not good, the dogs are taken out at least 3 times per day for nature calls. Playtimes and additional exercise can be given inside as needed.
Is the facility heated and air conditioned?
All of our buildings are heated just like your house would be, but we still make sure everyone has a nice clean cozy blanket with them. The problem with air conditioning is that, once they are in it, it’s hard to give them free time outside because of the drastic change in temperature. This is when many kennels and pet owners have problems. It is better to maintain a constant temperature or gradual change as naturally occurs during a day than to take a dog from AC and put him/her from the cool into the heat. At TLC Pet Haven, our buildings are all concrete which is naturally cool, and our outside runs are all naturally shaded. If it is particularly hot, we will make sure the dogs are inside their cool concrete runs during peak times of the day. Most dogs in daycare, social hour or playtimes will also be allowed to swim in “kiddie pools” which they love! If your dog has a particular problem with heat: some boxers, bulldogs, older pets, etc… he/she would for be kept in an air conditioned building. These dogs will only be walked outside for a short amount of time then returned to their AC room.
The cattery is heated and air conditioned. On particularly hot days or particularly cold days, cats with outside access may be limited to times of the day when the weather is most accommodating. The grooming area is also heated and air conditioned as needed.
How is a day of boarding charged? Can I have my dog groomed while he is boarding?
The first day is ALWAYS charged for no matter what time a pet arrives. We prefer pets earlier in the day in order to give them time to adjust to the new surroundings before nightfall. The last day is always charged for if the animal is picked up after 12:00 noon (12:30 pm on Sundays). The exception to this is if a dog is groomed while he/she is boarding, than the last day boarding is free regardless of the time picked up. However, pets are usually groomed on the last day in order to go home fresh and clean, so he/she probably will not be ready until later in the day. If you need your pet earlier in the day, we can groom him/her the day before upon request, but he/she might not go home quite as fresh as he/she would be upon being groomed on the day of departure. This will not affect the boarding fee which will remain as stated above.
Are the cats in with the dogs? What is a cattery? What if my cat wants to go outside?
TLC Pet Haven has a separate building for the cats, which is called a “cattery”. Each kitty studio or suite has 2-4 levels. Many have a “privacy room” attached. There are also connecting “portholes” so cats can move from one room to another if desired. Depending on the time of year, there may be an additional fee for this.
If you choose, you can add an outdoor play session and your cat will be taken to a secure area to lounge and watch the birds!
My cat is not used to being outdoors. If we want him/her inside only, will he/she get enough exercise?
Cats exercise isometrically, which means that they exercise by stretching not by running around like dogs. We do however, offer indoor kitty playtime sessions if you desire.
What kind of food do you feed the dogs and cats? What if my pet is on a special diet?
We feed a lamb and rice mixture of IAMS. We also offer IAMS puppy food and adult cat food. If your pet is at all finicky, we recommend that you supply his/her own food. A change in diet upsets some pets. If you chose to bring your pet’s own food, please bag each meal individually for easier handling and to ensure proper amounts are given. If your pet’s diet cannot tolerate treats, please let us know so we can mark his/her chart accordingly.