PetsHotel Requires Special Care

October 31, 2007
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KENTWOOD —The PetSmart at 3950 28th St. SE will open its first PetsHotel here on Saturday, offering area canines and felines more amenities, more personalized attention, and a little more pampering than the average boarding kennel.

It’s a different kind of hotel with a different kind of clientele, and it requires a different approach to facilities management.

PetsHotel manager Becky Holst, who oversees a staff of 32, said everything in the hotel is cleaned down daily. Dogs stay in rooms or suites in the hotel’s Atrium area and cats stay in the Kitty Cottages, which house up to 14 felines. Each room, suite and cottage is cleaned morning and afternoon, and rooms are inspected throughout the day and re-cleaned if necessary.

The Atrium and Kitty Cottages areas have separate ventilation systems, as well, so canines and felines never get a whiff of one another.

The air conditioned and heated PetsHotel can accommodate up to 150 pets. The hotel is totally enclosed, with all activities staged indoors. Its park-like “relief rooms” or “indoor parks” have flooring that makes pets feel like they’re outside, Holst said. Those common areas are cleaned just about every time they are used. Holst said PetsHotel uses a cleaning product called Lemonquat, which is made with a chemical that’s safe for animals.

“Basically, we let anything we’re cleaning set for 10 minutes so all the bacteria is killed,” Holst added.

The amenities at PetsHotel include raised dog cots and feeding dishes, hypoallergenic lambskin blankets, supervised playtime, grooming services, and a “Bone Booth” so owners can call their pets while they’re away. Pets can have their nails done, too. One of the most popular perks at the inn is the lactose-free doggie ice cream that’s served each evening, Holst noted. In the morning, canine guests are greeted with a snack-filled doggie Kong.

PetsHotel suites run $35 a night and Atrium rooms $25 a night. The dog suites have TVs that play only pet-themed movies. A cat’s stay in Kitty Cottages runs $14 a night. Pets are walked twice a day, but owners can request extra walks, extra group or individual playtime, or just about anything extra, Holst said.

According to PetSmart, half of all PetsHotel customers purchase “extras” such as treats or additional playtime for their pet, about one-third opt for grooming services, and 40 percent of “pet parents” call their pets via the Bone Booth.

PetsHotel also runs daily Doggie Daycare and Doggie Day Camp programs. At day camp, dogs play from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with an hour break for lunch, Holst said. The camp costs $20 per day. Doggie Daycare, which runs $16 a day, is tailored to senior dogs and dogs that aren’t particularly fond of socializing with other dogs.

“Day camp has become huge,” Holst said. “In all honesty, it’s not the boarding that keeps us going but the day camp. A lot of people bring their pets to day camp because they feel guilty about leaving them home alone.”

PetSmart has more than 70 stores that house PetsHotels in 24 states and plans to open 35 more this year. The company’s boarding business is its largest and fastest growing division.

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