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Frequently Asked Questions

When you’re looking for outstanding dog boarding near Portland, look no further. At Safe Journey Dog Boarding, our goal is to ensure you and your dog are as comfortable as possible. Before your pet stays with us, we always recommend reading through our frequently asked questions to ensure you have all the information you might need.

    1. What are your hours of operation?

      We are available to serve you and your family pet 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our business hours are from 7:00am until 7:00pm.

      For your convenience use the following links:

      Please be advised, due to the growth and popularity of our facility, we process a high volume of inbound and outbound daycare check-ins and check-outs from 7:00am to 10:00am and from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. In general the best time to call is between 12:00pm and 3:00pm, so we can give you our most undivided attention.

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    2. When is check-in and check-out for Boarding and Daycare?

      Our normal check-in times are between 7:00am to 2:00pm, and normal check-out times are between 7:00am to 7:00pm 365 days of the year.

      For our first timers, occasional visitors, and high-energy dog guests, we strongly recommend that check-in occurs as early as possible and no later than 2:00pm. This is to ensure your dog has the proper amount of time to calm down, and settle in, and get a proper night’s sleep.

      Please Note: For the well-being of the dog’s boarding with us, we generally do not accept any inbound or outbound traffic during quiet hours, which are from 7:00pm and 7:00am.

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    3. What will our dog eat while at Safe Journey?

      Most dogs are better off maintaining dietary consistency by eating the same food you feed them at home. For that reason, we encourage you to pack food for your dog and bring it to our facility. We are happy to serve your dog their usual wet or dry food, snacks or treats.

      If time is of the essence, or you simply do not want to bother bringing your dog’s food to Safe Journey, we can provide a high-quality kibble for your dog.

      We are happy to provide food for your dog at a cost of $2.50 per day.

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    4. What are your vaccination and other documentation requirements?

      We require that all dogs be vaccinated for Rabies, Bordetella (commonly referred to as Kennel Cough) and the standard regional core vaccines given as one injection in metropolitan areas of Oregon/Washington. This core vaccine injection (commonly referred to as dhpp) typically includes:

      • CDV – Canine Distemper
      • AV-2 Canine Hepatitis Virus or Adenovirus-2
      • CPV-2 Canine Parvovirus
      • CPiV Canine Parainfluenza

      Regional core vaccines are generally given as one cocktail or mixed injection and are subject to revision the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) on a regular basis. You can check with your dogs vet to get the most recent information on the current regional core vaccine requirements or check your most recent shot records to verify your dog is up-to-date by having received the three standard vet administered treatments. A rabies injection, a parvo/distemper core vaccine injection, and Bortedella sometimes administered nasally.

      Additionally, we will need you to complete a registration document and liability waiver that documents things like your personal contact information, emergency contact information, vet information, and basic information about your dog (spayed, neutered, chipped, food requirements, etc.).

      You can bring a hard copy of this documentation with you during your tour, email to [email protected], or have your vet e-mail a copy to our attention. You may also submit your documentation digitally here.

      Please Note: Each time you take your dog in for his/her annual boosters or updated shots, be sure to forward/bring new copies for your dogs file.

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    5. What is your Spay and Neuter Policy?

      • Due to problematic behavior, no non-neutered adult male dogs are normally not allowed.
      • Non Neutered male puppies will be considered on a case by case basis. Typically these are dogs under the age of 1 year old.
      • Non-spayed females are allowed as long as they are not in heat.
      • Due to changes in pet owner conditions brought on by COVID-19, Safe Journey is receiving in inordinate volume of Non-Neutered male puppies. Please be advised that in addition to the additional mess created by urinary markings, scent and hormones will result in your puppy paying inordinate attention to other dogs (stalking) and/or receiving inordinate attention from other dogs. Being subjected to, or subjecting other dogs to inordinate levels of attention can greatly increase the possibility of fights, bites, and/or contribute to the overall unpleasant boarding/day-care experience.

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    6. What are your requirements at the time of our check-in?

      What to bring:


      • You may to choose to purchase a pre-paid package here online for your day care service to save money, all that we need from you is your dog on a leash.
      • You may also pay as you go online, bring cash, leave your credit card on file, or by step into our office to run your credit card. We accept VISA, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover, debit, and Apple Pay. Outside of your payment, all that we require is your dog on a leash.
      • Customers with puppies who eat a mid-day meal (lunch) typically bring a small baggie of food as well.

      Overnight Boarding:

      • As always for safety, when bringing your dog to and from our facility, please have your dog on a leash.
      • Payment is expected at the time of drop off unless you have an open ended stay in which case special arrangements can be made in advance.
      • Most people bring their own dog food. This is to maintain dietary consistency and to minimize costs.
      • Treats, medications, and any food requiring refrigeration are welcomed and will be provided to your dog at the time of feeding. For safety reasons, we do not give individual treats to dogs in a pack environment.
      • If it is more convenient for you, and your dog is fine with a standard high quality kibble, then we are happy to provide your dog’s normal daily requirement at a cost of $2.50 per day.

      What Not To Bring:

      • Scoops, measuring items, silverware, can containers/can caps
      • Bowls
      • Beds
      • Blankets
      • T-shirts
      • Balls
      • Bones, rawhides, non-edible chews
      • Stuffed animals
      • Toys
      • Crates

      Nothing goes into the dog area other than your dog and it’s collar.

      Our goal is to make your check-in and check-out as quick, easy, and comfortable as possible. As such, we provide all the proper necessities to make sure that your dog has an enjoyable stay. If you would like to bring treats, we will gladly put them on top of your dog’s bowl during their private feeding time. Other items we ask that you keep at home to minimize your potential disappointment if they become misplaced, lost, soiled, destroyed, or sent home with someone else by mistake.

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    7. Do you provide long-term boarding?

      We provide any and all forms of dog boarding. We have had dogs stay as long as 9 months with us. Some dogs return year after year for long-term boarding while their owners “snowbird” in a warmer climate during the winter.

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    8. What is your policy on puppies/age restrictions?

      Your puppies are always welcome at Safe Journey. However, we do recommend that you check with your vet prior to bringing them to us so that you can be made fully aware of any risks or complications associated with your puppies immune system development and vaccination schedule/requirements. We have raised many very young dogs in our pack environment. Many people note the positive difference in their young dogs behavior when they grow up having regular positive interactions with our dog pack!

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    9. What exactly is your “Free Day”?

      The purpose of our “free day of daycare for first time dogs” is to help acclimate a new dog to our facility. The “free day” if offered to owners that are planning to bring their dog to Safe Journey for regularized dog day care or for their first future scheduled overnight boarding stay. The “standard and recommended process” for first time dogs is three parts which takes place over 2 or more days. The standard process typically takes place by:

      Three Day Process:

      Day 1 – Review our website information to your satisfaction, complete online boarding agreement, submit vaccination records by upload or email, then call Safe Journey to schedule a 45 minute camera based tour our facility.

      Day 2 – Complete your tour.

      Day 3 – Bring your dog in for the “free day of acclimation”.

      Two Day Process:

      The two day process is the same as the three day process except that the customer chooses to leave their dog for the “free day of acclimation” after the tour on the same day.

      Some customers who have very sensitive dogs, or dogs that have never spent much time away from their owners pay for additional “acclimation days” of day care and even one or more “acclimation nights” of overnight boarding. This is not a common situation as most dogs adapt easily. However, it is an option for dogs that are extremely nervous about leaving their owners

      We want your dog to become familiar with us, our facility, and socialize with our dog pack with minimal discomfort and anxiety. The “free day” is up to 12 hours at no cost between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm without purchase or obligation prior to your first overnight boarding stay or purchase of a daycare package.

      Please note: If you are a one time customer, from out of town, or have some kind of emergency that does not allow for a tour and acclimation time we refer to this as a “cold drop.” We handle “cold drops” on a case by case basis. A customer who requires and has a dog that is social enough to handle a “cold drop” is not offered a “free day of acclimation.”

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    10. What is your payment and cancellation policy?


      For overnight dog boarding, payment is expected at the time of drop off unless your dog’s stay with us, in which case special arrangements can be made in advance.

      We bill similar to a hotel only you may check your dog in as early as 7:00am. For overnight stays, you pay for the day that you check-in regardless of your chosen check-in time (check-in times are any time between 7:00am – 3:00pm). And, like a hotel, you do not pay for the day you check-out as long as you pick your dog up by check-out time at 10:00am.

      As a courtesy Safe Journey allows for a one-hour grace period when determining your rates. So if you happen to be running a bit late, or get caught in some unexpected traffic relax. Our system allows for a bit of reasonable flexibility.

      For dogs that need to stay past check out time, but do not need to stay for an additional overnight, our standard daycare rates apply. Please see our day care price list for the most recent day care rates, or click HERE to review. So, if you are unable to make it to Safe Journey by 10:00am there is no need to rush or stress. Take your time and enjoy your day. Lastly, if you need to extend your stay, we are only a phone call away. Any additional charges required as a result of an extended stay can be quickly taken care of at the time of pick-up.


      If for some reason, you do not need to complete your dogs scheduled or planned stay, Safe Journey will refund or credit any unused portion of your fee. We only charge for the time that your dog spends with us. We make our living only by taking care of your dog. If, for some reason, you find that you do not need our services there are no additional charges. We always expect to be paid for services rendered but never anything more than what we have earned by taking care of your dog.

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    11. What are your policies on treats, toys, chews, blankets, coats or sweaters, bowls or any other doggie personal items?

      We strongly advise you to minimize bringing any non-essential items to Safe Journey for use during your dogs stay. The vast majority of our customers simply bring their dog on a leash, a bag of food, and a form of payment. If treats are provided we will place them in your dog’s bowl during feeding however we can not play favorites between individual members of our dog pack. If you are providing refrigerated foods or medications please notify us at the time of check-in. Unfortunately, many customers have buried their refrigerated foods or medications at the bottom of a carry-in bag and have not informed us of their existence. Communication is key please always notify us of these items so that they can be refrigerated and administered in a timely manner.

      You might ask why we encourage you to keep it minimal?

      Attempting to provide treats or any other type of food can be a prime source of negative interactions between dogs. Accessories such as bowls, cups/scoops, blankets, coats, and toys, etc. can be sources of possessiveness that can also lead to negative interactions between dogs. Additionally, dogs will chew, rip, and soil other dogs belongings. It is impossible to ensure that only your dog will have access to its belongings, or that the other dogs will allow for your dogs belongings to be returned in reasonable condition.

      Lastly, in the joy of reuniting you with your dog, non-essential items get forgotten about or overlooked. This can be an unnecessary source of frustration when you return home, particularly in light of the fact that the vast majority of accessories and non essentials are simply never used.

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    12. What will my pet experience while at Safe Journey Dog Boarding and Daycare?

      Your dog will roam 1,400 square feet of indoor living space in our Victorian home. In addition, the outdoor premises at Safe Journey includes a 1500 square foot outdoor wooden and Trex deck where dogs can get plenty of exercise. Outside you will find number dog beds, artificial grass potty stations, and during the summer a wading pool and misting system. Our property is blessed to have numerous trees on or within 20 feet of the property line so warm summer days are never without plenty of shade! We have 6 foot fences with overhang to discourage climbing all around as well as being triple gated on both sides of the property for extra security.

      Unless weather conditions are severe, or temperatures become inordinately hot or cold, your dog is free to roam our home and fenced backyard without limitation. Your dogs Safe Journey home is lived in full-time and offer service 365 days a year. Indoors is kept temperature-controlled (typically between 65 and 78 degrees) and our facility is pesticide-free at all times.

      While in our home, your pet enjoys frequent contact with care providers, petting, roaming, chasing and wrestling with other dogs. And if your dog is more laid back or sedentary, we have numerous beds and cubbies for your dog to sleep or rest comfortably. We always welcome any suggestions or advice regarding the proper care, feeding, and behavior of your dog while staying with us.

      We allow dogs to be dogs while in our care. Many dogs sleep an average of 16 hours a day. Those who want 16 hours of rest are welcome to lounge in comfort. And, those that want to play and bask in the sun are able to do so outside. Many owners comment that their pet is better-behaved and more at ease after being in our care. That’s the result of calm relaxed environment that we provide and the sense of well being that results from dogs being left to roam freely in a pack environment.

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    13. What happens during my initial facility tour and meet and greet?

      The initial meet and great and tour of our facility accomplishes everything you need to be able to use our services. You get to meet us, your dog/s care providers, and we get to meet you, the owner. We also get to meet your dog, and you and your dog get to meet many of the dogs that are here on a regular basis as part of our dog pack. We show you the dog business portion of the facility, explain our basic policies and procedures, and answer any questions that you may have about your dogs stay and care while here.

      Our primary goal is to make sure that you are entirely comfortable during the times that you have to be away from your dog. In addition, this gives us a chance to personally get to know your dog and understand any of his or her idiosyncrasies. Another top priority of ours is the health, safety and happiness of those in our care. We want to make sure we’ll get along well and enjoy a pleasant experience together.

      We also want to tailor our services to fit you and your pet perfectly. Given the unique family nature of our Boarding and Day Care services, in particular, we need to understand your pet’s particular needs to provide superior care. And, this time is an important first step in transitioning your dog to be relaxed and happy coming to stay with us!

      Lastly, this is a great time to finalize any of your reservation needs and to complete any of the required paperwork that will be needed to schedule your dogs first visit.

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    14. How many dogs do you care for?

      The amount of dogs that we care for at any one given time varies greatly and is determined by a number of factors. Some of these are daycare/daytime or boarding/overnight, midweek or weekend, Winter or Summer and holiday or non-holiday. Typically we are very busy early most mornings Monday through Saturday, and most late afternoons Sunday through Friday. All that being said, Safe Journey has become a very popular and active place with a year around large and active dog pack.

      Safe Journey is primarily geared to serve the repeat customer. On any given day, 90% of the dogs that are on site are dogs that have spent many, many days with us. Most of our four-legged customers have been here dozens if not hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of times. As a result, our pack is generally calm, relaxed and well mannered.

      Because of this, new dogs find adapting to our well adjusted pack to be minimally stressful. While all dogs are different, we find that the vast majority of dogs who come to us for the first time, regardless of separation anxiety at home, or poor behavior on leash to be capable of adapting to our environment and having successful stays with us.

      If you are not sure, come and take our free tour, we will show you our dog pack and let you judge for yourself!

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    15. Do you provide specialized services?

      Some of the specialty services that we offer are:

      • Night care for medical professionals and others working graveyard and nighttime shifts.
      • We work with overly fearful dogs, shy and skittish dogs, and dogs with separation anxiety.
      • Due to the growth and popularity of our facility, and due to changes and conditions brought on by COVID-19, we strongly discourage elderly and/or infirmed dogs. We apologize, however we have found that the pace, energy levels, and number of dogs visiting each day to be too exhausting and trying for your elderly and/or infirmed dog.

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      Are you insured?

      Yes. We are currently insured through State Farm Insurance.

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What does it mean that you are legally zoned by the City of Portland and permitted by Multnomah County to provide Boarding and Day Care services?

In the City of Portland, a business must have proper zoning to operate legally. Our home is zoned for both residential and commercial use. In addition, a business that provides boarding and daycare for small animals must hold a permit from Multnomah County. Licensed providers are inspected regularly and held to consistent standards of care. In order to ensure that your dog is cared for properly, please choose only a licenced and properly zoned dog boarding or daycare provider.

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Dog Boarding Safe Journey Portland

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