Is doggy daycare right for your dog(s)? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my dog home alone all day?
- Is my dog hyper and energetic?
- Does my dog have occasional accidents when I’m gone all day?
- Does my dog suffer from separation anxiety?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you should seriously consider enrolling your dog in daycare. Why daycare? Because dogs who stay at home all day can get bored and lonely. This feeling is more acute for dogs suffering from separation anxiety. Furthermore, holding in poop and pee—or attempting to—is uncomfortable and difficult, which is why dogs left alone all day often have accidents.
Assuming you think doggy daycare is the right choice for you and your pooch, here are 11 things to consider when searching for a daycare facility.
Make sure the daycare center requires all dogs under its supervision to be vaccinated.
During your initial visit, pay close attention to the facilities. Does the place stink? Is it clean? Are there areas where your dog can find shade on hot, sunny days? Are there enough water bowls in the area? Do the outside play areas have high fences to prevent escapes?
Speaking of escapes, inquire about their escape protocol.
Are there separate play areas for large and small dogs? Why? Because no matter how friendly a mastiff may be, she can accidentally hurt a small dog during play. Or, do they separate the dogs by temperament, energy level and play style? Is there are place for dogs to wind down when overstimulated?
Learn about the staff. Do they have credentials? How much experience? Are they able to administer basic medical care for your dog, or assist with any special needs? How do they interact with other dogs? Are they affectionate and patient? Are they experienced with behavior modification?
Make sure to ask about discipline and rewards. Do they use techniques like alpha-rolls, physical punishments to reprimand dogs, or choke collars? If they do, are you comfortable with that?
Similarly, how much individual attention will your dog receive?
Are dogs screened for behavioral problems in order to be admitted? Are males neutered? Unneutered males tend to be more aggressive.
What types of dog food and treats do they provide? Are they high quality?
Ask current clients about the daycare facility. What do they like about it, or not like about it?
Yelp, Angie’s List
Checkout online review sites to see what people say about the doggy daycare centers you’re interested in. Also, visit the Better Business Bureau to learn more.
Inspect your dog
Once you’ve chosen a daycare center for your dog, be sure to carefully examine him after you pick him up. Does he reek of urine or feces? Does he have scratches or bite marks? Is he limping or seem to have any type of injury?
Cost and perks
Not all doggy daycare centers are created equal. Some offer perks such as grooming, massage, pick up and drop-off services, and even webcams so you can see how much fun Fido is having.
Although cost shouldn’t be the sole determining factor in choosing a daycare center, it plays an important role. After all, you want your dog to be happy and receive great care. This brief article should give you an idea of what to expect to pay. Naturally, fees will be greatly affected by the services a particular doggy daycare offers.
P.S. Do you send your dog to daycare, or have you in the past? Please share your thoughts—we’d love to hear them!