Thinking about boarding your dog for the first time? Just curious what Old Mill Boarding Kennel is all about? Take a moment to explore some answers to the most common questions we receive to help familiarize you with our facility and how we care for your four-legged family member.
I’ve never been to your facility before, what is the kennel environment like and what can I expect?
Old Mill Boarding Kennel is one of the largest pet boarding establishments in the Washington D.C. area. Despite the large size of our kennel, our individual accommodations offer more than adequate privacy and space for your pet. Your dog’s home away from home consists of a 4’ x 4’ indoor run, each of which connects via a door to an outdoor run that measures 4’ x 16’. The outdoor portion of the run is where your dog will relieve himself, stretch his legs, or enjoy nice weather (see below). The indoor areas in our kennel are bathed in natural sunlight and climate-controlled to between 65 and 75 degrees year-round. We have recently completed an extensive interior renovation that replaced the original commercial-grade fluorescent lighting with softer residential-grade lighting closer to what you would find in your home. Additionally, we installed fabric sound-dampening acoustic wall panels that drastically cut down on noise and echoes. Collectively, these improvements represent our commitment to narrowing the gap between your home environment and the boarding environment, and we have observed a noticeable change in our guests’ general comfort level as a result.
How often will my dog be able to go outside?
Other than the overnight hours (7pm through 7am), your dog will have opportunities to go outside about once every other hour throughout the day. On days with pleasant weather (about 65 to 80 degrees) we leave the connecting doors open so that your dog can choose to spend time outside or in. For our guests, there’s nothing better than snoozing in the sun! When the weather turns frosty in the winter and steamy in the summer, our indoor areas are climate-controlled at 65 to 75 degrees.
What happens during the overnight hours?
Unlike many other boarding kennels, Old Mill has an on-site resident, our long-time general manager Timmie Wiley. While there are no employees physically in the kennel overnight, Timmie is close at hand when he is needed. He checks on our guests when summer thunderstorms roll through, and is close-by if a security alarm sounds. His living space being attached to the kennel, Timmie can attest to the fact that it stays very quiet after “lights out” every evening. When this is not the case, he is on the scene to double check the facility and make sure that everything is as it should be.
How clean is the kennel?
Cleanliness is one of the aspects of our kennel on which we pride ourselves the most. We use cleaning agents that are purpose-made for the veterinary and kennel industry, so they are safe on sensitive paws and skin. First thing in the morning, we perform a thorough floor-to-ceiling cleaning of our indoor facility. In addition, we sanitize the outdoor runs after each trip our guests make outside so that the outdoor area is clean and ready for their next outing.
How can I be sure my dog will be comfortable on the hard floors?
You are more than welcome to bring along any bedding your dog likes to lay on, but have no fear if you don’t bring anything; we provide each guest with soft bedding whether you bring your own or not! Either way, we wash bedding regularly and ensure that it remains clean at all times.
Can I bring personal belongings from home?
You are welcome to bring along as many or as few personal belongings as you like! We welcome toys, bedding, treats, chews, bones and whatever else you feel your dog will appreciate. What we do provide to all dogs is bedding and food & water bowls. Please understand that there is always the possibility of damage to personal belongings (due to chewing, for example) so we recommend that you bring only items that are replaceable should they be damaged.
Should I bring food for my dog?
You are welcome to exercise your own discretion concerning your dog’s diet. Included in the price of boarding are two daily meals of our kennel dog food, which is Blue Buffalo. Blue Buffalo is a high-grade all-natural dry food with meat as the first ingredient. We stock chicken, lamb, puppy, and lite varieties of this food. We also welcome personalized diets, so if your dog has any special dietary needs or you would just prefer to keep your dog on his home diet, you may bring your chosen food along for the stay. Click here to visit the Blue Buffalo website.
I’ve never boarded my dog before and am nervous about leaving him/her. What can you tell me about first-time boarders?
Part of our experience as kennel staff involves meeting many new canine guests, some of whom have never encountered a boarding situation before. In these cases, our staff makes a concerted effort to spend time with and observe newcomers so that we can formulate an understanding of your dog’s unique personality and needs. For the vast majority of dog owners, anxiety over leaving their loved one in a strange place is heart-wrenching. The truth is, most of our new guests settle in readily and thrive in the kennel environment. For those pets who are slower to adjust or who need a helping hand, we make the extra effort to put them at ease, whether that means an extra belly rub or some quiet time with one of our experienced staff.
I have a high-energy dog. What activities do you offer beyond simply letting him outside?
We recognize dogs’ need for human interaction and physical activity, and we offer excellent “playtime” services to meet these needs. You will have the option of signing your dog up for daily play sessions when you drop him off. One time or two times a day, one of our dedicated playtime staff will take your dog outside into one of several large, grassy play yards and engage in 15 to 20 minutes of off-leash play. Even dogs that don’t necessarily enjoy actively chasing a ball or playing will enjoy the opportunity to wander freely on our beautiful grounds and receive one-on-one attention from a caring staff member. In addition, we now offer group play sessions and trail walks. For group play, a member of our most experienced playtime staff will evaluate your dog’s temperament and match him or her up with a select group of fellow guests of similar dispositions for a play session. If walking is what your canine enjoys most, a member of the aforementioned playtime staff will take your dog on a 15-minute walk on the W&OD bike trail, which runs right by our facility. Please ask one of our client service specialists for more information on these activity options!
What happens if my dog is injured or becomes sick while boarding?
While rare, medical emergencies do happen, and we are well-prepared to handle them. Our kennel is attached to Old Mill Veterinary Hospital, a full-service AAHA accredited veterinary facility. OMVH’s staff is available to treat sick or injured pets, and they are our first course of action should medical help be required. As the pet-owner, you will be kept abreast of any issues concerning your pet. Emergencies occurring outside of OMVH’s operating hours, while exceedingly rare, are handled on a case-by-case basis, and treatment by an external 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital will be utilized if needed. Your pets’ safety and wellbeing are of utmost importance to us.
My dog is on medications. Will you be able to administer these?
We are able to administer most medications your pet may need. The administration of medications is included in the price of boarding for up to two times per day, and for a small fee if more often than twice daily. Fish oil caplets and glucosamine tabs are common over-the-counter medications that many pet owners use, but we are also well-equipped to handle more specialized prescription medications but please call us to confirm your pet’s condition is suitable for a kennel boarding situation. To ensure the utmost care is taken with potentially dangerous medications, we keep controlled substances in a locked safe and keep clear records of medications, who administered, and when. It is imperative that medications are labeled according to their prescribed dosing/type/strength/and frequency given.
Will my dog need special vaccinations to board?
For boarding, we require your dog to be current on rabies, distemper and 6 month bordetella (kennel cough) vaccinations. Further details on vaccinations will be provided by our client service staff when you book your pet’s stay with us.
I have more than one dog. What arrangements will I need to make to accommodate them?
You are welcome to board multiple dogs together in the same run if desired, or keep them separate if you believe they will be more comfortable that way. We offer a 10% boarding discount if your dogs are boarded in the same run. If you do opt to board multiple dogs together, they will be separated to eat at meal times, unless you indicate that they can safely eat together.
I live closer in to D.C. and the trip to your facility is out of my way. Do you offer any kind of pet taxi service?
For clients living in Great Falls, McLean, Arlington and other close-in locations, we offer a shuttle service to and from McLean Animal Hospital. On your day of departure, you will drop your pet off there and he will be driven to our facility in Leesburg. On your pickup date, he will then be driven back to McLean to meet you. We offer this service for $20 per direction. Contact us for more information on this service. If you are using McLean services you will need to drop off by 10am. You can visit McLean Animal Hospital’s website here.
Boarding your loved one is a major event, and dogs are just as unique and diverse as their owners. As such, If you have any questions concerning boarding your pet that we have not touched on here, we welcome them! You can give us a call at (703)-777-4183 for more information on absolutely any subject you wish to discuss. We also welcome and strongly recommend an in-person visit to Old Mill so that you may tour our facility. We look forward to hearing from you!