Q & A
The Bark Shack FAQ includes information that will prove helpful to our customers. For further information, please contact us today.
Q. What vaccinations are required for my dog to stay/play at The Bark Shack?
A. For a healthy environment, we require RABIES VACCINE, DHLPP & BORDETELLA. All are available through your vet. (The DHLPP vaccine fights against, Distemper, Adenovirus (Hepatitis), Leptospira (Bacterial Infection spread through urine), Parainfluenza (respiratory Virus), and Parvovirus (viral spread through infected poo). It is a state regulation that a vet vaccinates your pet for RABIES, however, YOU can administer the remaining vaccinations. They are available for purchase ONLINE or locally thru Tractor Supply near Okatie. If you administer to your pet, YOU MUST keep the sticker and vaccination proof that is on the bottles/syringes you purchase. We offer Bordetella for your convenience. Though you are able to provide vaccinations for your pets, we highly encourage the yearly or twice-yearly visits to your vet for a total health check-up.
Q. What if my vet prefers to not vaccinate older pets or immune deficient pets?
A. No worries! Your vet can provide a letter or send us an email, explaining the health of your pet. As long as your pet is healthy and has NO infectious illnesses, he/she is welcome to visit us.
Q. What if my pet gets fleas while visiting The Bark Shack?
A. It is every pet owners responsibility to provide a flea preventative for their pet. As long as your pet is covered with an effective method, you should have no problem with other pets "hygiene" problem.
Q. Pets get worms. How do you help in preventing that?
A. We pick up all fecal matter in a very timely manner. In addition, our play yards have soft synthetic grass or specially built decking. We wash/clean these yards every day. Twice weekly, we spray our yards with vet-approved antifungal/disinfectant specially designed for the pet industry. This destroys all eggs/remnants of the parasites. HOOK worms & WHIP worms cannot survive. Also, with a flea preventative, as listed above, any chance of contracting TAPE worm is minimized.
Q. What vaccinations are required for cats?
A. We prefer all cats to be vaccinated against Rabies, Feline Distemper (Panleukopenia), Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (Herpes Virus-specific to cats) and because we are a social kennel (even for cats) we also request FeLV (Feline Leukemia.)
Q. What if I cannot reach my vet for the paperwork before his/her first visit?
For canines: One of the three vaccines that we require, Bordetella, can be bought at Tractor Supply. This vaccine provides protection against an airborne, canine respiratory infection. If you supply this intranasal vaccination, we can administer it to your dog at no additional charge. This is specifically a precaution and benefit to your OWN dog's health. Your dog will still need to be in private play until all required vaccination records have been received. Until then, you will be charged accordingly for reserved pricing. Please continue reading for additional information about all health regulations.
For all pets (including canines):
We will provide our own assessment of your pet's current health. We are not medical professionals and any assessment is not to be perceived as veterinary comments. However, we do have substantial experience in the pet industry and after our assesment we will form our own qualified opinion. We will examine your pet's eyes, nose, skin, hair, breathing/coughing, and fecal. If your pet passes our assesment, your pet can visit, but, must stay in a private reserved area & cannot socialize until your proof of ALL vaccinations arrive. Until then, you will be charged accordingly for reserved pricing.
Q. What if my pet has all required vaccinations, but ONE is a month overdue?
A. We do offer a grace period. Length of a grace period depends on the vax that is overdue.
Q. Can I open an account with you?
A. Yes! Those that wish to open an account must leave us a credit/debit card on file. This allows you to come & go throughout the week without having to wait for the payment process every day. We let your charges accumulate throughout the week, then run your card on Wednesdays.
Q. What is required from the owner?
A. All pet owners & facilities are responsible to ensure a happy kenneling/daycare experience.
We need from you:
- A copy of your pet's vaccinations. You can bring them.
(Also, your vet can fax at 843-757-0818 or email to us: Frontdesk@thebarkshack.com)
- We need updated vaccinations yearly (or every third year depending on vaccinations given).
- If no vaccinations have been administered to your pet, we will need Titers from your vet.
- Credit Card on file for boarding services & "On Account" daycare agreements.
- Payment for all services rendered upon pick-up (or weekly billing for "ON ACCOUNTS")
- Remember, though we love all dogs, some guests might only prefer THEIR dog.
- Please don't let your dog jump on other pets or guests in our lobby/parking lot.
- A Signed contract and other necessary forms.
- A key/access to your home if we will be providing a taxi service or In-Your-Home care.
- An updated phone number or email address EVERY TIME you board with us.
- All updated information should you move homes throughout our city.
Q. What is included when my dog (or cat) stays overnight?
A. We try to make it easy for the owners. You don't HAVE to bring anything!
- The meals you choose :
- Pedigree Kibble with warm Au Jus is no cost.
- Grain Free is available at $3 per meal.
- We can also serve your own food brought from home.
(Additional prep time could result in additional charges, depending on what is required.)
- We will serve a raw diet if you prefer.
- The meal TIME you prefer. Our standard feeding times are 6:30a, 12noon, & 7p. We can feed at a custom time or additional time at no extra charge.
- A warm snuggly bed. You can send your own bed from home or use our standard beds at no extra cost. Please know, some pets will chew their own beds when kenneled, even though they may never chew them at home. Depending on your type of bed, we may or may not wash it upon your pet's departure. You can upgrade to a Therapeudic Bed or Kuranda cot for a minimal charge.
- Play Time: If your pet is sociable & you agree for him/her to play with others, he may participate in our playtime program at no extra cost. There are also several available activities we offer for purchase. Please see our list of activities.
Q. What if my dog "changes" and becomes a RESERVED player?
A. Remember! If your pet requires "certain circumstances" due to un-altered, aggressive, or un-ruly DOG behavior, then your pet will be a RESERVED player. If your pet is a PRIMARY player, but his behavior changes for any reason (age, confidence, etc.) and he/she is the cause for unacceptable behavior, then you will be notified. We will adhere to a "3 strikes you're out" rule if the poor behavior is borderline or questionable. After 3 strikes your pet will be considered a RESERVED player. If the unruly behavior is what we consider intolerable, ONE strike may be OUT. If your pet has been transferred to RESERVED play, please discuss with us. Together we will plan, to hopefully, re-introduce him/her to Primary Play at a later date. (At least 2 weeks must pass before re-introduction AND several behavior expectations.)
Q. Is it possible for my RESERVED player dog to ever become a Primary player?
A. Yes! There are several reasons this can happen. Perhaps your pet was a RESERVED player simply because he/she had not been spayed/neutered yet. Once that is completed, usually, they can socialize in Primary play. In addition, there are occasions when dogs become more sociable once they acclimate to the new surroundings. This positive step often results in a re-classification of his/her playgroup. Please know, just because you prefer your pet to be a PRIMARY player, doesn’t mean they can! Each pet must meet the all necessary guidelines.
Q. What if I prefer my credit card to be run on a different day than Wednesday?
A. No Worries! Let us know what day works for you & we will accommodate. Please know, we only let one week accumulate. In addition, if you choose Tuesday, as your billing day, we won't allow switching to Monday one week, then Friday the next. We require a consistent billing day.
Q. What other ways can I pay?
A. We accept all credit cards. We also accept checks, and of course, cash. Options:
- Open account, as listed above.
- Pay each day as you come to visit.
- Pay in advance. Some prefer to pay a week in advance, or perhaps pay $100 or so, and when the money runs out, we will let you know.
Q. How does your billing work if I board my dog for 3 weeks?
A. First, we will spoil him rotten. In regards to payment, anything over ONE week, we must have a card on file. We will run your card weekly. We do offer long term discounts, anything longer than 12 nights. And remember, multi-pet discounts apply the very first day.
Q. Can I pay monthly payments for a boarding reservation?
A. We will agree to this ONLY if the monthly payments are made prior to your departure & any remaining balance paid immediately upon your pets check out.
Q. How does your Pet Taxi service work? How do we make reservations?
A. We pick up pets throughout Bluffton every day, and often taxi back & forth to Hilton Head as well. Our pricing is dependent on your location. Please see the PET TAXI tab for pricing.
Q. Do we have to be home for you to pick up or deliver?
A. No, you don’t have to be home. We do need access to your home, but that can easily be resolved with us having a copy of your key or access code. We tag our customers' keys with your pets name, not your address (security reasons). In addition, all of our drivers are BONDED.
Q. Can I request my dog to be crated when he/she arrives home?
A. Yes, you can. We will gladly accommodate. We have many special requests: crating, refilling the water bowl, giving a quick meal, letting the cat out, etc, Just let us know.
Q. How can I pay for pick up/delivery if I don’t plan on being home?
A. I suggest leaving your card on file with us, as most do. You could also stop by the kennel & pay in advance.
Q. What time will you pick up and deliver?
A. We need as much notice as you can give, please. Every day is different therefore we DO NOT have a specific route like a school bus. Nor can we give you a definite time. We will give you a range, however, (between 8:30-9:15a ) or (5:00-6:00p) etc. We do have some customers with set schedules. We always pick up Claudine every day AM by 8:30.
Q. Can you still pick up in our gated community?
A. Yes, but we will need the pass called in for our driver (personal name), NOT for The Bark Shack. We will not pay to enter a plantation.
Q. How does THE BARK SHACK determine the playgroup for my dog?
A. All new guests (for Boarding & Playcare) are assessed to determine their social skills. Our staff is trained to watch your pet's behavior from the moment you bring him/her through our front door. This initial observation, combined with your personality description, & whether spayed/neutered, is our beginning stage. We will give them time to acclimate to their surrounds, privately, then we will introduce to a playmate we believe may be suitable. We strive to use our AMBASSADOR dogs for this phase. These are dogs that belong to the owner or staff. We know what to expect from them in most situations. When introduced to this AMBASSADOR dog, and other dogs as the assessment progress, your pet is comforted as we stay with your pet during their ritual "Sniff Check."
Q. When will you provide my dog's first assessment? On the first day? Or do I need to set up an appointment before his first day?
A. Either is totally fine with us, but we do suggest Saturday or Sunday. The weekends tend to be less busy, therefore less stressful for everyone. However, we prefer and highly encourage to NEVER attempt this during a busy holiday weekend.
Q. What personal belongings may I bring for my pet while boarding?
A. We PRIDE ourselves on offering everything. We want to make pet ownership easy for you. With that said, please feel free to bring anything that may make your pet feel more comfortable. We offer standard beds to EVERY PET that needs one. You can bring your own, or pay $3 for an upgrade THERAPEUPETIC BED or KURANDA STYLE COT. Our standard beds are NO CHARGE. Pets that are OPEN BOARDING may not have personal beds due to becoming possessive. They CAN have kennel beds. During the day, we stack all of our kennel beds, AND we store your personal beds too. Then return then back to the pets in the evening. Our older guests keep their beds all day.
Q. Is food included in the price of Boarding? Daycare? Can I bring my own?
A. We gladly offer Pedigree Complete Nutrition Kibble drizzled with a warm beefy au'jus. This is at NO COST to our BOARDING guests. For Daycare/Grooming guests, we simply charge $1. We also offer a PREMIUM GRAIN FREE for a $3 upcharge for all guests. Some customers prefer to bring their own food from home. This is totally acceptable and we will feed them accordingly.
Q. Can I schedule a bath or a complete groom for my pet while boarding? Or during Daycare?
A. Of course! We will gladly "Pimp your Pooch" with the Complete Works Dog Groom. If a bath and nail trim is all you prefer, we will accommodate. Bathing/Brushing & Nail care can be completed anytime. We do need to have an appointment scheduled for hair clipping, however. If you are having a bath after boarding, before your pet goes home, please know our goal is to have all boarding baths completed by 12 noon. If you expect to pick up your pet earlier, please let us know so we can schedule correctly.
Q. What if my time-away gets extended and my pet needs to stay longer?
A. Just keep us in the loop, inform us of all delays and we will happily keep your pet longer. If you let us know of this change last minute and we have already completed your scheduled baths, you may be charged for a second bath (if you or your pet require it.) If you are 7 days after your declared departure date, and we still have not heard from you, your pet may be at risk of being classified as abandoned. Please see our contract for further information.
Q. Why would someone choose a private kennel instead of open boarding?
A. In some cases, this is simply the owners' personal preference. In other cases, some dogs may be aggressive, or very feeble and the pet needs his/her private space. Open boarding is a social arrangement for like-minded dogs. It is a bit less expensive for the owner, and pets enjoy the "pack," helping them feel more confident & safe. Many owners choose private boarding at night, but social playtime during the day. Let us know what you prefer.
Q. What if I board my pet and he/she is just miserable?
A. We will try many alternative actions to try and make her feel comfy, perhaps a different playroom or a private kennel. Maybe she would be better in the front office with humans. We sincerely want all guests to feel comfortable & safe. And we love for them to have FUN! If your pet simply cannot acclimate and we are worried that her stress could be unsafe for her, we will contact you.
Q. Why do you ask for emergency phone numbers?
A. The perfect example is the one listed above. If your pet is miserable, perhaps a family member, or someone else the pet knows, could help. Veterinarians often prefer another contact should your pet become ill.