FAQ

GENERAL

How many dogs do you have at a time?

We average about 12-18 dogs per day, but our numbers fluctuate based on the time of year. During holiday periods, numbers generally increase as our customers’ need for boarding increases. Rather than looking at the number of dogs we have, we cap new reservations based on the specific dogs that are booked, examining their temperament, energy, and our ability to safely add others in their company.

What vaccines are required for my dog to come to ALC?

Every dog that comes to our facility must have veterinary records proving they are current on rabies, distemper (dhpp) and bordetella (kennel cough) vaccines, per the NYC Health Department. ID tags on the collar alone will not meet the Health Department’s requirements, unfortunately.

Can I tour your facility?

Yes, but we ask that you set up an appointment. Because dogs can get anxious around new people, we want to plan your visit for a time that best meets our daily activities — that way you’ll get the best view of what we have to offer!

What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept cash and all major credit cards. We can take checks from customers of one year or more.

Are the dogs supervised at all times?

Absolutely. We have trained staff on both levels of our facility throughout the day, and an overnight caretaker for the dogs staying with us at night.

Can you administer medication?

Yes. If the medication is orally administered, this is no issue for our staff, though we will ask for instruction on how to best get your dog to ingest the full dosage. For more complicated medications, such as injections, we may require a training session and a $5 daily fee will be added.

Can someone besides me drop off or pick up my dog?

Yes, but please let our staff know if someone other than yourself will be picking up. If another individual will be doing pickups or drops off on a regular basis, just let us know his/her name so we can mark that person as authorized for pick up in your dog’s file.

Why does my dog need to be spayed or neutered for daycare and boarding?

Around six months of age, hormones kick in and a dog who is not spayed or neutered will have a scent that other dogs notice quickly. Often, unneutered males can get picked on or be treated with aggression by other dogs, even if the dog himself is very docile. Unspayed females will get unwanted attention and may also be picked on. For this reason, we find it safer to remove intact dogs from the play space. We still accept un-neutered/spayed dogs for our grooming service but ask that you alert us to this information before you bring your dog in; that way we can take every precaution to ensure your dog’s safety.

Do you have any outdoor space? Where will my dog go to the bathroom?

Yes we do! We have a backyard with outdoor turf, benches, a slide and a wooden deck where the dogs can play, relax, and sunbathe when the weather is pleasant. Throughout the year, we also use this outdoor space for potty breaks. We encourage dogs to keep up good bathroom habits by maintaining pee/poop (which we refer to as “#1” and “#2”) for outside only. Though we of course have occasional accidents, our outdoor-only bathroom policy helps us keep a sanitary, non-stinky daycare! For dogs that are not used to going to the bathroom outdoors, we do have a wee-wee pad station set up. Dogs boarding with us are also walked in our local neighborhood in addition to the time they spend in our yard. We do not bring out dogs only visiting for grooming, so please make sure your pup goes to the bathroom before his or her appointment!

Do you offer a discount if I have two dogs?

Yes, we do. Please see our services pages for rate information on boarding and daycare where prices, including discounts for two dogs from one household, can be found. We do not offer discounts on grooming.

 

My dog is not good with other dogs – can he/she still come to ALC?

Unfortunately, no. Our facility is not set up to accommodate dogs with dog-aggression or those who cannot be around other dogs for any reason. We have a free moving, open space and do not isolate dogs. If your inquiry is regarding boarding, we do offer a pet sitting service in which a staff member can stay at your home, eliminating this problem.

What happens if I cannot pick up my dog by closing time?

If you are delayed or it seems you may not make it by our closing time for pick up and do not have an emergency contact who can do so for you, we ask that you inform us ASAP so that we can determine a solution. The most ideal method would be to drop your dog at home, but for this we will need to make key arrangements in advance. We encourage you to leave a set with us if you think this may be a problem for you on occasion. On days when we have an overnight staff member present, we may also be able to arrange for this person to bring your dog out to you when you arrive past our closing hour, however you will incur late pickup fees, and we can only offer this as an option until 9 pm. If neither of these are an option, your dog will need to be picked up the next day and you will be charged the full boarding rate for the time we spend caring for your pup.

DAYCARE

What does my dog do at daycare?

We’re so glad you asked! Our doggy daycare days are structured so your dog gets maximum exercise, a chance to rest, outdoor and indoor time, and plenty of one-on-one attention. Dogs are matched based on their temperament and energy level and we encourage romping around, wrestling, and enjoying time with their fellow canines. This socialization is great for your dog’s physical and emotional needs — they stay active and learn cues about how to behave with others. Monday-Friday, from 1-3 pm, we also have nap time, where dogs who have been with us from the morning get a chance to take a break and relax. Dogs are meant to sleep for a portion of the day, so this helps them meet that physical need and prevents agitation from lack of rest. During nap time we put on soft music, turn the lights down, and arrange everybody in quarters that will allow for maximum comfort. The latter half of the day is spent much the same as the first, though dogs usually get tired again as we move into the evening — that’s when we have the most opportunity to spend one-on-one time and form a greater bond with each of our furry friends. Yes, we love to snuggle them, too!

Are the big dogs and little dogs separated?
Rather than completely separating all big and small dogs, we evaluate our daycare dogs based on temperament and energy level taking into account any safety concerns. Dogs that are more mellow, for instance, and who may not want to be in the middle of all of the action, generally stay upstairs and hang with our storefront staff. Most of these dogs are smaller but we do have some mellow loungers that are bigger in size as well. At the same time, we have medium to small sized dogs who play very well with bigger dogs and can’t get enough of the action, so it all depends on your pup! That being said, we are aware that teeny dogs and extra large dogs, even when both playing nicely, may not make the best play partners and accidental injury can occur, so we take extra precaution about where these dogs best fit depending on the day.

What is the minimum age to bring my dog to daycare?

Our requirements for daycare are that your pup be vaccinated for rabies, distemper and Bordetella and be neutered/spayed. Generally, spaying and neutering does not happen until about the three-month mark or after. Your dog must be fully recovered from the procedure before starting daycare.

Do you offer pick up/drop off services?

Yes, we do, but our pick up/drop off service is limited in its coverage area. This is because we pick up and drop off most dogs on foot, meaning you must live within a walkable distance from our facility. Occasionally we are able to accommodate pick up/drop offs by car for longer distances or for animals who cannot walk the distance from home, but this must be arranged with our staff in advance. Further, we cannot guarantee availability to provide pick up/drop off without at least 24 hours notice, and our time windows may vary depending on the staff member providing the service.

Do you offer packages?

Yes, we do. Please see our daycare service page for more details.

Do I need to make an appointment to bring my dog to daycare?

At present, we are not asking for reservations for daycare for regular clients (those attending at least two times a week). When your dog is first introduced to daycare, we may ask you to set up appointments for daycare until we know your dog well and no longer have to plan to introduce new staff members to him/her. For more randomly-attending daycare clients, we ask that you call or email to let us know about your need for daycare at least 24 hours in advance.

My dog doesn't really play with other dogs – can he/she still come to daycare?

Sure! Just like people, not every dog is going to be super social or playful. That doesn’t mean he or she can’t benefit from spending time around other canines, or having watchful humans around while mom and dad are at work. We are happy to have a pup who prefers to hang with people as long as he or she can be in the company of other dogs without aggressive behavior.

Is fresh water available for my dog?

Yes, we have at least one bowl in every room!

Can you feed my dog lunch? Is there an extra charge?

Yes. Please bring the pre-portioned meal with you when you drop your dog off. We do not charge extra for this service, as long as you provide the meal.

How will my dog behave after a day of daycare?

Most dogs will be tired after a full day of play! It is not unexpected to find that your dog wants to drink a lot of water and snooze! Some dogs may be excited to see you and still playful at pickup (to show you what he’s been doing all day ;)) but then crash at home.

How does ALC correct bad behavior?

When dogs are grouped together, we must supervise them carefully at all times. Nuisance behaviors (from otherwise good dogs) that require correction include rough play, excessive barking or howling, excessive mounting, jumping or lunging inappropriately, and/or nipping. We always first attempt to correct these behaviors vocally — getting the dog’s attention with their name and a firm command. If the dog persists, we may use other forms of noise to halt the behavior, such as shaking a can of coins or spraying canned pressurized air which makes a hissing sound that attracts attention. We may also separate the dog temporarily, leash him or her and ask for a sit, or move the dog to a different area entirely. We do also employ squirt bottles with water for when bad behaviors persist despite multiple corrections. Most dogs respond to a splash of water and we find it is especially useful when two dogs are playing rough and their attention is not on the person supervising.

Can my dog get sick from being around so many other dogs?

All dogs passing through our facility are fully vaccinated for rabies, distemper and bordetella, no exceptions! Having the vaccinations for your pup helps prevent them from spreading these diseases from one dog to another. Of course, just like when people socialize, when dogs spend time with other dogs, they may be exposed to doggy colds or other bacteria that they cannot be vaccinated against. Further, vaccines are not foolproof. The bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine, for example, targets the most common strains of doggy flu presenting itself in the region, in much the same way as the human flu shot. But other strains do exist, and we have seen kennel cough spread even when dogs are vaccinated — and even when they don’t come to daycare; they may have just met another dog on the street! Long story short: We take every measure to keep things sanitary and clean to deter germs spreading but there’s always some risk that your pup could pick something up at daycare, especially if he or she is young and the immune system is still developing. The good news is that the body’s immunity general benefits from learning how to fight these bugs. Plus, we think the benefits of doggy daycare far outweigh the risk of a cold — it’s the same reason we brave crowded subways and bustling social events 🙂

BOARDING

Where will my dog sleep at night?

 Most nights we keep a staff member on for the overnight hours to sleep in our bedroom area in the facility with the dogs. Dogs that like to snuggle are in luck – we have plenty of room in the bed for that! We also have comfy dog beds and cushions set up for those who like their own space. If your dog is trained to sleep in a crate at night, we do have crates available to them as well. During especially busy times, such as over the Christmas holidays, we may select shy, sensitive or nervous dogs to spend the night at an insured staff member’s home rather than in the facility; this helps us to ensure the dog’s comfort and reduces the demand on our overnight staff. Similarly, on nights when we have two or fewer dogs booked for boarding, your pup may spend an overnight at a staff member’s home and return to our facility in the morning.

Will my dog get walks while staying at ALC?

While boarding, each dog gets walked in our local neighborhood. Boarding dogs are also let out into our backyard several times throughout the day with the other dogs who are in for daycare.

What do I need to bring with my dog for boarding?

Plan to bring your dog in with a collar and leash/any walking equipment you use as well as regular food and any medications. You do not need to bring bowls or toys as we do not share these items and have plenty of our own. You are welcome to bring a small comfort item such as a blanket if it will make your dog more comfortable, but do be advised that other dogs may try to use it, too!

Can you feed my dog food you have at the facility?

We strongly recommend against changing your dog’s food and like to keep them on their regular diet to prevent any digestive troubles. In the event of an emergency, we do have Wellness kibble in stock.

What's the latest time I can pick up my dog from boarding?

We ask that you schedule your pick up before our store closes (8 PM on weekdays, 7 PM on Saturday and Sunday).

Will you send me updates on my dog’s stay?

The best way to see updates on your dog’s stay is to follow us on Instagram or Facebook (let us know if you have a handle that we can tag you in when we post your dog’s photo!). Please be patient: If you don’t see your dog in our photos right away, it doesn’t mean your dog is not enjoying his or herself — just that we’re focusing on taking good care of your furry friend! You can also feel free to check in by phone or email if you are not on social media and we will get back to you with an update.

How do I make a reservation?

Before we can reserve your pup for boarding, he or she will need to pass an overnight evaluation. Please see our new client section for details on this. If your dog has already passed the evaluation, feel free to call or email us with your boarding needs. We will want to know you intend to drop off and pick up dates and times.

What if my dog gets hurt or sick while boarding?

In the event of illness or injury, we always contact you and/or your emergency contact immediately to advise you of the situation and to make decisions about next steps. Should your dog need urgent medical care, Animal Loving Care does have a working relationship with a 24 hour emergency vet. For less pressing matters, we will seek your counsel on whether you would like us to bring your dog in for a vet visit at your expense.

Do you board cats?

No, we do not. We find that cats are most comfortable in their homes and offer in-home visits where we can feed, change litter, and play with your cat. 

GROOMING

What is included in my dog’s groom?

It depends what service you choose! A full groom, the most common choice, gives you the works: a bath, brush out, stylized haircut, nail trimming, ear cleaning, paw pad cleanup, and sanitary shave. Other options, like anal gland expression or teeth cleaning, can be done as add-ons.

How long does grooming take?

Dog grooming involves many steps and requires time and patience. For dogs requiring haircuts, small breeds like shihtzus and maltese generally take 2 to 2 1/2 hours, mid-size dogs such as cocker spaniels three hours, and larger breeds 3 1/2 hours plus. Those coming in for de-shed treatments, mini-grooms, or bath services will require less time than a haircut. Your dog’s behavior and coat condition will also be factors in how much time we need. We can give you our best estimate when you drop off.

Why does my dog need the bordetella vaccine to be groomed?

In 2012, the New York City Department of health updated it’s vaccine requirements for dog grooming to include bordetella (kennel cough) after outbreaks of the condition occurred in several grooming shops.

Can I stay with my dog while you groom him?

No. Dogs tend to behave badly when their owner is present, making it extremely difficult to complete the groom. We ask that you drop off your dog and return when we are done to pick up. We will call you within 20 to 30 minutes of completion.

 

How do you determine the cost of grooming/why does grooming cost so much?

Grooming prices are based on your dog’s size, coat type, coat condition, behavior, and any add-ons you choose. Grooming a dog is not easy – that’s why you’re going to a skilled professional! It is time-consuming, dirty, and hard manual work. The more difficult your dog is in terms of behavior or condition, the harder that work is. We price accordingly.

Do you groom cats?

Yes, we do offer grooming for non-aggressive, tolerant cats. Cat grooming options include  brush outs, shave downs (lion cut), and baths. While most cats do not have the same level of patience as a dog when it comes to grooming, your cat must at least be able to sit on the table without attempting to scratch or bite the groomer throughout the process. Aggressive cats must be sedated for grooming — which we do not offer in our facility — and are therefore best suited for grooming at a vet’s office.

 

How often should my dog be groomed?

Most dogs with long hair are best suited for grooming every 6 to 8 weeks with interim brushing at home. If you brush the coat on a daily basis, sometimes grooms can be spaced out further. Do note, however, that grooming is not simply for aesthetics — it is a matter of hygiene and health. All dogs require grooming on a regular basis.

 

Do you accept walk-ins?

No, we groom by appointment only.

Do I need an appointment to have my dog’s nails trimmed?

Generally we can accept walk-ins for nail trims but we’d appreciate a heads up phone call. Also, sometimes our groomers finish or start at different hours depending on the day’s appointments.

Do you offer de-shedding (furminating)?

Yes! De-shedding treatments can make a world of difference for heavy shedders and we are experts at this.

Can my dog spend the day if I bring him in for grooming?

If your dog is good or indifferent to other dogs you can add daycare to his spa day for a discounted rate of $15.

My dog is matted but I don’t want him shaved -- can you just brush him out?

It depends how bad the matting is. De-matting is essentially ripping through knots in the coat – and it hurts! If there is a small section of mats, we may be able to work through it. Widespread matting means your dog will need to be cut short for his comfort.

 

Can I bring in my own shampoo?

Sure.

What if I don’t like my dog’s haircut?

Our groomer will spend time with you at drop off to ensure we understand your desires. This is the best time to present photos or other references that will help us get the cut right. While we would like to think you’ll always be thrilled with the outcome, please don’t hesitate to let us know at the time of pick up if there’s anything more we can do to adjust the haircut. We want you to walk away happy! Ears still too long or you prefer more shaping on the muzzle? We are happy to fix. Any further concerns can be addressed to the owner (Adrienne) by phone or email.

Should I tip the groomer?

Yes, please. Dog grooming is similar to having your hair cut at a salon. The typical recommended gratuity is 20% of the cost. 

What is your cancellation policy?

If you need to change or cancel your appointment we ask that you please give us 24 hours notice so that we may inform the groomer and open up the slot for another customer. If you cancel with less notice, you will be subject to a $20 cancellation fee. If you book an appointment and do not show up, you will be subject to the full grooming cost. Please let us know as soon as you can!

Do you sedate dogs for grooming?

Never. If your dog requires sedation to be groomed, please consult a veterinarian. Sometimes people ask this question because their dog seems tired after grooming. This is a normal reaction after being asked to sit, listen, and remain still for several hours.

 

Do you offer in-home grooming?

No, sorry.

WALKING

How many dogs do you walk at a time?

Our groups include up to four dogs at a time or fewer. We try to match dogs with similar walking styles. Safety is a huge concern for us so we never pack a walk with more dogs than one walker can safely handle.

What are your walking hours?

Our peak walking hours are 11 AM to 4 PM. Off-peak walks are available with advance arrangement.

Do you offer solo walks?

We are not offering solo walks for new clients. Occasionally an existing group walk client may need temporary solo walks due to illness or injury and for this we can make special arrangements.

What areas do your walkers service?

Our dog walkers currently service Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Columbia Street Waterfront and some parts of Gowanus in Brooklyn.

How many people will walk my dog?

We work as a team, which means that 2 to 3 people may get to know and walk your dog. This allows for better and more secure coverage.

Where will my keys be stored?

Your keys will be stored securely in a lockbox at our storefront and/or with your most frequent dog walker. If possible, we recommend providing two sets of your keys so we always have a backup.

How will I know how my dog’s walks are going?

We ask that you provide a notepad so our walkers can leave you daily notes about your dog’s walks. We will let you know which dogs he or she walked with, any highlights from the walk, if he or she did #1 or #2 and any concerns (i.e. if the stool was loose).

How do I schedule walks?

Once you have scheduled a first time consultation we will ask for your expected needs. If, for example, you’ll require daily weekday walks, we will automatically put your dog in Monday through Friday within the time slot you approve. If your schedule will be more random, we will add you to our weekly walk request list and solicit your walk needs at the end of the week prior. To add additional walks or to cancel a walk, simply send your request to us by email and our walking manager will confirm as soon as possible.

How do I get started with your walking service?

Please shoot us an email with the details of your needs! We will want to know your dog’s name, age, breed, and experience walking with other dogs. We will also need your address and suggestions on a good date and time for an initial consultation. Consultations must be scheduled at least two days prior to your dog’s first walk with us.

What if I need to add or cancel a walk?

All requests related to walking should be made via email. For cancellations, we ask that you give us at least 12 hours notice so we may inform the walker and update our schedules. Walks canceled with less than 12 hours notice must still be paid in full.

Do you offer puppy visits?

Yes, we do. Puppy visits are 40 minutes long and we can feed and spend time with your puppy as you see fit.

Do you offer late night walks?

Most of our walks are completed by 5 PM, however we are happy to check the availability of our walkers to accommodate off-peak requests. The more notice you give, the more likely we will be able to accommodate. Do be advised that off-peak walks are charged at a separate rate.

 

Still have questions? Please contact us!