Q: What can I bring for my dog's stay?
You are welcome to bring anything you feel comfortable leaving your dog alone in a room with. The rooms have painted concrete floors, so bringing something to lie on is encouraged. Your dog will be more comfortable and adjust much more quickly if there is something in the room that smells like home. If your dog normally gets treats at home, please bring some of those, too! You do not need to bring bowls, unless your dog uses raised dishes. Stainless steel dishes are provided for all of our guests. We do not allow anything that will shatter or break, or any feather or down bedding of any kind. Please remember that your dog may become curious during the stay and may want to find out what's inside the bedding. For this reason, we recommend blankets, sheets, or towels, rather than expensive pet beds. These types of bedding are also easy for us to wash if your dog has an accident. We are not responsible for any damage your dog does to his or her personal belongings.
Q: What is included in the nightly rate?
The nightly rate includes a 5' x 20' fully-enclosed, heated and air conditioned painted concrete room with a window. Also included are three ½ hour playtimes each day with other dogs of compatible temperament. The exceptions are Wednesday, Sunday, and major holidays, when there are two playgroups per day. Feedings and administration of pill medications or medications which can be put directly in the food are also included, but can ONLY be done up to twice per day.
Q: Are there any hidden fees?
All of our fees are posted here. Our facility works exactly like a hotel, with check-in during the afternoon and check-out in the morning. We do allow you to drop off in the morning or to pick up your dog in the afternoon for an additional fee. We do charge extra for administering eye, ear, or body medications of any kind. We impose an additional $10 per day fee for any dog who is not spayed or neutered. However, we are no longer accepting new dogs who are over the age of six months who are not spayed or neutered. A $60 no-show fee applies if you do not show up for a scheduled drop-off or pick-up and you do not call to tell us you won't be coming. A $35 late cancel fee applies to off-season reservations cancelled after 7 a.m. the day prior to your scheduled check-in. Appointment fees vary and may be imposed if you arrive late for your scheduled appointment time, while our staff is still in the office. All deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Q: Will I get confirmation that you received my deposit check?
No. Your canceled check should serve as your receipt. We will, however, call you if we have not received your deposit by the deadline. Deposits are due within seven days from the day you book your reservation. Please note: If we don't receive your deposit in a timely manner, your reservation will be canceled.
Q: Can I just stop by for a tour, or can I get a tour when I drop off my dog? Can my dog come with me on my tour?
No. We have playgroups going on throughout the day, so we only allow pre-scheduled tours. This is for your safety and for the safety of our guests. We do not do tours at the time of check-in for this same reason. We do not allow dogs on the tour. You are welcome to bring your dog to meet us, but we cannot allow dogs into the yards for the tour. Again, this is for the safety of our guests.
Q: Can my dogs share a room?
Two dogs may share a room if and ONLY if they live in the same household (this must be confirmed by vet records) and they can eat together unsupervised. Overnighting your dogs in a shared room is at your own risk. Please see our Overnight page for more information.
Q: Why do you only have appointment times on some days?
Doggie Spa is open 365 days a year! On Wednesdays and Sundays, Saturday afternoons, and on major holidays, we run on a shortened office schedule. This gives us time to spend with our own dogs as well as with our human families. We do offer the 24/7 access option for customers who have boarded with us before.
Q: Why are your hours so weird?
We run on a split schedule every day to enable more of our customers to drop off when it is most convenient for them. We have found that the majority of people drop off their dogs either prior to work or travel in the morning, or after work or returning from travel in the evening. Very few people tend to drop off or pick up during the middle of the day. For current customers who wish to check their dogs in or out while our office is closed, we do offer the convenience of 24/7 access for an additional fee, as available.
Q: What is 24/7 access?
24/7 access enables you to pick up or drop off your dog even when our office is closed using pre-set lock access codes. This service must be prearranged, as access codes cannot be given out by phone. We cannot offer this service to first-time customers. 24/7 access is included at no charge to our contract day care customers on their regular day care days, and for an extra charge to our overnight customers. This allows you to drop off or pick up your dog even when our office is closed.
Q: Why don't you take new customers during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays?
We get literally hundreds of requests for reservations during our busy holiday times each year. For this reason, we give priority to those customers who have boarded with us throughout the year. It's our way of showing our customers that we do appreciate their loyalty.
Q: Are there minimum stay requirements?
Yes. However, you may also pay for the minimum, but pick your dog up sooner. The basic minimums are as follows:
Day Care: There is always a two day per week minimum, year-round.
Overnight: Off-Season: Two night minimum on weekends only (Fri., Sat., Sun.). Summer: Four night minimum. Major Holidays: Usually four or five night minimum, depending on holiday. Please remember that these minimums do vary, and that holidays take precedence over season. For example, during the 4th of July holiday time, the minimum will be longer than the four-day summer minimum.
Q: What type of food do you serve? Can I bring my own food?
We feed Costco’s Kirkland Brand Premium Food here, but you are more than welcome to bring your dog's own food. We do not provide canned food or treats. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or is on a special diet, please bring your own food. Please make sure to bring enough food for a few days longer than the scheduled stay. Remember, many things could affect your travel plans, and we want your dog to be comfortable and happy, regardless of unforeseen delays.
Q: Can I bring homemade, canned, or mixed food?
Absolutely! You're welcome to bring whatever your dog normally eats at home, as long as it does not have to be heated or cooked. We do have refrigerators in every building. Please DO NOT bring anything your dog is not used to! Remember, we want him/her to enjoy the stay, and a tummy ache could spoil an otherwise great time.
Q: Are there extra charges for administering medications?
We can administer pill medications or medicines that can be put in your dog's food at no extra charge. Please be aware that we cannot give medications more than twice per day, and exact 12-hour intervals are not always possible. Please make sure that you pre-cut or split any pills that must be split, as we are not able to do this for you. If you normally give your dog medication hidden in cheese, hotdogs, or any other "extra" treat, please bring those items as well. There is an additional charge for any medications that need to be applied to any part of your dog, including eyes and ears.
Q: What vaccinations are required to board my dog?
For both, overnight and day care, we require proof of Rabies, Distemper, and Bordetella (also known as kennel cough) vaccines to be FAXED to us at least 24 hours prior to your arrival. We CANNOT accept hand-carried vaccinations or rabies tags as proof of vaccination. Bordetella must have been given within six months of the scheduled stay. Please call your vet and have him or her fax shot records to us at 919-932-4736. You are also welcome to fax them yourself.
Q: How long is the Bordetella vaccination valid?
The Bordetella vaccine expires six months from the date given. A very small number of vets in the area do give this vaccine for one year, but in order to board at Doggie Spa, your dog MUST have had the Bordetella vaccine within the past six months.
Q: Why do I have to pay a deposit? Can I get it back if my plans change?
In certain instances, a deposit is required to hold your reservation. We require deposits for all holiday and peak-time bookings as well as for all first time customers. This enables us to keep frivolous bookings to a minimum, leaving the space available for those who really need it. All deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable. This means that if you cancel or shorten your stay, your deposit will be forfeited. Deposits cannot be transferred to a future stay or to a different dog.
Q: What is your cancellation policy?
For off-season, non-deposited reservations, you must cancel by no later than 7 a.m. the day prior to your scheduled check-in. You may leave us a message on our voicemail, as it does have a timestamp on each message. All deposited or peak-time reservations are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Q: What if my trip is shortened or extended while I am away?
If your travel time is shortened, you are responsible for payment for all time booked. If your travel is extended, please call us as soon as you know. It's possible that we will have to transfer your dog to a day care room during this time, which is a bit smaller, but only if it is extremely busy here. Please be aware that if your plans change and you do not call us to let us know, our computer system will apply no-show fees to your account. These fees can add up quickly, but they can be avoided with a simple phone call.
Q: What if there is severe weather (i.e. storms or snow)?
Doggie Spa's buildings are very well constructed. The concrete block buildings are a safe place for your dog in any weather. Our on-site management means that your dog will still be cared for, even if the weather would prevent safe passage on area roadways. Our buildings have outdoor awnings that cover portions of each play yard to provide shade and protection from the elements for our guests. Playgroups may be shortened for extreme temperatures or delayed if severe weather is imminent. In the case of a power outage, Doggie Spa will be fully run on our whole facility generator. This means that your dog will stay cozy and comfortable even if we have no power at our homes.
Q: What if my dog gets sick during his/her stay?
If your vet is local and open, we will taxi your dog to your vet. For after-hour emergencies, we would take your dog to Triangle Pets Emergency in Durham. Taxi fees apply.
Q: How do you know which dogs to group together for playgroups?
This is probably the most asked question here at Doggie Spa! Since our play yards are neutral ground and no leashes are used, most dogs get along with others very well here. They are neither protecting their families nor their turf. Dogs display very clear signals prior to acting in an aggressive manner. Our staff is trained to watch and listen for these signals, and to prevent conflicts in the play yards. In the rare instance that we find a dog is not getting along well with other dogs in the group, we will move the dog to another group. If all else fails, we can put the dog out alone. No dog is deprived of playtime, regardless of social skills! As far as knowing who to place where, it's just something we've learned along the way. It’s like an extra sense you develop from working with dogs.
Q: My dog has attacked or bitten people or dogs in the past. Can I still board him with you?
We do board dogs who don't get along with other dogs or may require a solo playgroup. If your dog has had rare instances of biting people, we may still be able to accommodate your dog. However, if your dog is known to attack people, we cannot board your dog. Our facility is very hands-on, and we cannot risk the safety of our staff. Please feel free to call us to discuss your dog's situation.
Q: I brought my dog home and I noticed he is limping and he seems very tired. Did something happen?
Most dogs aren't accustomed to an hour and a half of play with other dogs each day. Some dogs play very hard, and most go home quite tired. Just as you might get sore from a sudden increase in exercise, your dog might, too. If the limping continues or if it seems as if something is wrong, please contact your vet. Rest assured that we will tell you if your dog had any social problems during the stay.
Q: What if my dog has an accident in his/her room?
We've thought of that, too! That's why each room has separate drainage. If your dog potties in the room, rest assured that it will be cleaned up as soon as we find it. The rooms are inspected and cleaned up several times each day. If your dog soils his bedding and it's washable, we will make every attempt to wash it free of charge. Occasionally, dogs do have accidents shortly before checking out, preventing us from washing the bedding before departure.
Q: Can I call to check on my dog while I'm away?
Of course! Our guests don't have phones in their rooms, but we would be glad to tell you how they are doing.
Q: Does my dog have to wear a collar during his stay?
Doggie Spa is a leash-free zone, and collars are optional. We prefer that your dog wears whatever he would normally wear at home. If your dog is a collar-free dog around the house, he will have a collar-free vacation, as well. Comfort is a high priority for your dog's Doggie Spa vacation.
Q: What's with the gravel play yards? Why don't you have grass?
Our pea gravel play yards not only cut down on mud and grass stains, but also do not provide homes for fleas and ticks. It's also much easier to keep pea gravel yards clean than grass yards.