If you work all day or have an irregular schedule, dog daycare might be your only option for dog care. Your dog shouldn’t be left home alone for too long. Left created or stuck at home too long without any stimulation can lead to stress for your dog. So, let’s discuss choosing the right dog daycare.
First, is Dog Daycare Right for Your Dog?
Dog daycare may be a good option for you if you want your dog to experience the following on a daily basis:
- Socialization with other dogs
- Lots of attention
If those benefits seem worthwhile, then it’s time to research local dog daycare facilities and ask some important questions:
What to Ask the Dog Daycare
Are dogs separated by age and temperament?
When choosing the right dog daycare, see if they do a temperament test before the first day. A good dog daycare will ask you to bring your dog in for a few hours to evaluate them. That way, they can see how they act with other dogs, what size dogs they should be around, and if dog daycare is in fact the best place for your furry friend. The most important thing to remember is that your dog needs to be safe wherever they are. The staff separating the dogs into appropriate groups is one way they can ensure the safety of the dogs in their care.
What’s the staff-to-dog ratio?
Do your dog and the other dogs have plenty of caregivers throughout their day? A large facility should have lots of staff on hand to handle everything from playing with dogs to feeding and grooming. Just like children’s daycares, some states have specific rules about staff-to-dog ratios.
Does the facility require that dogs be vaccinated?
This is a big red flag. If the dog daycare does not require vaccines, run the other way. Daycares and boarding facilities are breeding grounds for disease, and that’s why vaccines are crucial.
Is there a toy or treat policy?
Some locations have a toy or treat policy. Some may allow toys but only in a crate. Or they will allow treats, but you’ll need to bring them in a sealed bag labeled with your dog’s name. If your dog is on a special diet, be sure to let the daycare staff know.
Do they offer to board?
This is a great service if you vacation or will be away from home for more than one day. Having a boarding facility in a dog daycare your dog already attended means less stress for your dog, too. They will already be familiar with the environment.
What training does the staff have?
Staff at a dog daycare should be trained in dog obedience, dog care, and dog first aid. Training is crucial to your dog’s safety. Also, it’s a perk if the staff have extra skills such as an understanding of canine body language and animal behavior.
What activities do they do with the dogs?
Dog daycare facilities with planned activities add a layer of fun and stimulation to your dog’s day. Some dog daycares have pool days, outside playtime, indoor playtime, and themed games. If your dog’s a puppy, they might offer obedience classes or other kinds of training. Just letting the dogs run around all day with no guidance might lead to bad behaviors.
Is the business insured?
It sounds like a silly question, but in case of an accident or emergency, you’ll want to know that the business is insured. This is for your dog’s protection and the business. So, when choosing the right dog daycare, make sure you ask these important questions.
Take a Tour
Before you drop your dog off for their first day, you need to take a tour of the building without your dog in tow. First, look out for cleanliness. Dog daycares should be clean and organized for the health and wellness of the animals and staff.
Next, are the fencing and barriers secured? You want to make sure no dogs can escape. Then, is the temperature comfortable? Dogs at play can easily overheat. Likewise, a space that’s too cold may be unsafe for young and elderly dogs. Lastly, make sure there are no hazards like power cords or broken toys around for dogs to choke and chew on. It’s small details like these that make a big difference. If at any moment you feel like the staff is not compassionate, or they are unwilling or hesitant when answering your questions, it might not be the right place for your dog.
Dog Daycare Alternatives
If choosing the right dog daycare is challenging, know that it’s not your only option. You can hire a local dog walker to come to check on your dog once or twice a day to get exercise. And it’s likely this will be a more affordable option. Another option is having a neighbor come to check on your dog once in the middle of the day.