Below are some commonly asked questions about At Play with Sparky. If you have oneyou don’t see listed here, please feel free to email us at any time!

I’ve heard that your facility is different?  What does that mean?

What makes At Play with Sparky special is our unique approach to each dog’s stay here. The entire group of dogs for any given day are allowed to play and hang out together. We have “play appropriate” play groups – typically a large dog/active group and smaller dog/less active group.  The dogs take frequent breaks throughout the day in smaller groups so they don’t get overtired. We also accommodate dogs with special needs – like senior dogs and puppy socialization.

We are very observant of behaviors and we will separate any dogs that are not playing properly or do not feel comfortable in that environment (i.e., shy, small, young, geriatric) and put them with equal peers or love them separately. Any dog we deem to be aggressive or dogs that do not become comfortable with our environment will be asked to not return. Our objective is to give dogs a fun, safe place to stay while their owners are away. The dogs have the choice of playing in our indoor area or outside in a large fenced yard.  We have many toys for them to play on or with and an ample supply of fresh water all day long.

Why should I choose Sparky’s over other daycare facilities?

  • Sparky’s has the largest and most dog-friendly outdoor play space in the area. Plenty of room for active runners and ample shade for those hot summer days.
  • Consistent friends. Most of our friends play 2-5 days per week, which gives dogs an opportunity to bond with their buddies.
  • Special rates throughout the year. From our Puppy Love Pass to our Holiday Pass, you win with extra savings!
  • A genuine affection for our dogs and their people. We honor a new playmate each month, display pictures of our regular play pals in the office, and offer lots of other special recognition throughout the year.
  • Convenient location. We are close to everything! Less than 1/2 mile from I-40, 1 block from the Biltmore Estate, 2 blocks from the hospital, 1 block from AB Tech, less than a mile from downtown.

What are the requirements before my dog can come to At Play with Sparky for playcare?

  • We only accept friendly, social dogs.  We are, however, willing to work with your dog to help socialize him/her.  Please ask us about special considerations.
  • All dogs must be spayed or neutered (except for puppies under 6 months old).
  • All dogs must have current vaccinations, including Rabies and DHLPPC (distemper booster).  (Puppies are not vaccinated for Rabies until they are 4 months old.)
  • All dogs must be non-aggressive towards people or other dogs. Clients will need to certify that their dog(s) have not harmed or shown any aggressive or threatening behavior towards any person or any other dogs. Please remember that your dog will be spending a lot of time with other dogs and that their safety and health is our main concern.
  • All dogs must not be able to jump a 6-foot fence.
  • All clients must fill out a complete, up-to-date application. Download application
  • All dogs must be flea-free.  We recommend dogs be placed on a flea and tick prevention program during flea season.
  • All dogs must wear a collar and be brought into and taken out of the facility on a leash.
  • Payment is required at drop-off for playcare and boarding services.

Do I need to make a reservation?

We require advanced reservations for boarding so that we may plan for space and staff accordingly. However, we can take last-minute requests if we have room and your dog meets all the requirements.  For the major holidays, we fill to capacity months in advance. We may require a one night nonrefundable deposit per dog for boarding during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We do not currently require reservations for daycare, however bringing your dogs on consistent days does allow them to form social bonds with other dogs.

How do you know if my dog will fit in?  What about a dog that’s never been away from home?

Acceptance for boarding or daycare is accomplished through a brief discussion of your dog’s temperament and physical needs and we offer a free two hour trial period where we can determine your dog’s comfort level in our environment. In some cases where the pet is very shy, fearful or has never boarded before, we strongly suggest the dog stay for periods

of daycare or overnights prior to their longer planned stay with us. These shorter visits have a positive effect on the dog’s comfort level and help reduce separation anxiety and stress. These steps help ensure that your dog’s stay will be a successful one.  We have had many dogs become socialized and more outgoing and confident from attending At Play with Sparky.

What forms of payment do you accept? What is your policy on late pickups?

We accept cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.

Late Policy: If you are going to be late, please contact us as soon as possible. If we have not heard from you by closing time (7:30pm during the week & 7:00pm on the weekends), we will attempt to reach you using the numbers you have provided (please keep these numbers updated). If we can not reach you by phone, we will board your dog for the night (and you will be responsible for the subsequent fees). You will be able to pick the dog up during normal business hours the following day.

It is up to the discretion of the closing staff member if they will wait for you. They are typically willing to wait a few minutes, especially if you have called in advance. However, please keep in mind they may have plans that can’t be changed.

Our facility incurs additional expenses when you arrive late to pick up your dog. Therefore, we will impose a late fee after three late pickups. Any pickup 30 minutes or longer after closing will incur the late fee, regardless of how many late pickups you have had in the past.

Can I provide my own dog’s bed, toys, food and bowls?

We encourage boarded dog owners to bring their dog’s own familiar belongings, however we have everything for your dog if you choose not to do so. Please keep in mind that we are not responsible for the condition of toys or bedding that you bring (ie. toys get chewed, beds get dirty, etc.).  We encourage you to bring food for your dog, because a consistent diet is important to their health.  We do have food available, however, for an additional charge if needed. Daycare dogs will not be fed unless provided by the owner. Fresh water is always available. We prefer to use our own stainless steel bowls. Identifying your dogs’ belongings is greatly appreciated. All dogs must have a collar (non-chain) on during their stay. Harnesses are NOT recommended, as they may get chewed during playtime.

Can you tell me about how you clean your facility?

We use a hospital-grade, disinfectant and deodorizer cleaner called MISTY Biodet.  The entire indoor play area is mopped with the cleaner, which kills most bacteria and viruses. We immediately remove waste from the play areas and mop up accidents throughout the day. We also hose down the outside area regularly with a disinfectant called Wishywash.

What do you do in case of an emergency?

For minor cuts, scrapes and abrasions, we normally apply warm compresses and use an antibacterial ointment. If possible and prudent, we will try to contact you before incurring any veterinary bills. We will contact you (or your emergency contact) immediately in case of emergency and allow you to help in the decision-making process.  If your vet is nearby, we will take your dog there for treatment.  When your vet cannot be utilized, we have a close relationship with Dr. Doulas Elledge at Redwood Animal Hospital. We will either consult with him or take the dog in for treatment. If they are not available, we will call Reach Animal Hospital.

Is the indoor play area temperature controlled?

Absolutely. We have overhead gas forced-air heating and fans in the summer.

How do you protect my dog from weather elements?

We have large indoor and outdoor areas for your dog to play in. Outside, we have ample shade provided by a large shelter area and we provide a doggie pool to cool-off in during the summer. When it rains, snows, or gets too hot or cold, our guests have access to our large indoor area in our climate-controlled building.

Will my dog get dirty?

Depending on your dog’s activity level he/she may get dirty while playing at Sparky’s.  While the indoor facility is cleaned daily and the outdoor area has no loose dirt, the pea gravel does cause dust when the dogs are running around. At times, doggie wrestling may leave what we fondly call ‘dog slime’ on a dogs’ fur. We offer a bath and brush service so you can pick your dog up clean and soft.  Baths run from $15-$25, depending on the size of dog and the length of fur.  Please let us know when you drop off your dog that you would like a bath, so that we can allow for enough time.

Why does my dog seem “sluggish” and/or “grumpy” after daycare?

If your dog is not used to much activity or exercise during the daytime hours, he may be quite tired and/or cranky for a day or two after his first few visits to At Play with Sparky. His muscles and/or joints may be a little sore, just like a person who overdoes a workout after a long period of inactivity. Exercise is one of the benefits of doggie daycare, so you will notice that the soreness is only temporary. In addition, watch for soreness on his toe pads – dogs who are used to only smooth or carpeted flooring may need to develop a “toughening” of the toe pads when new to playing on the cement flooring and outdoor areas.

Are you a licensed facility?

We are licensed by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.  Our facility is inspected annually.