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Daycare for Dogs: 4 Things to Consider

Updated: Nov 30, 2022


If only we could spend every second with our dogs by our sides. But, duty calls and our pets aren’t always allowed to join. Whether it’s work, vacation, or a weekend visit to our dog-allergic Aunt Martha, we have to leave our dogs behind.


Enter doggy daycare—where lonely dogs find fun and friends and pet owners can breathe easy.



If you’re debating using a daycare for your precious pupper, here are four things to consider.

1. What are the benefits of daycare for dogs?


Kicks boredom and loneliness


Daycare is a great option for pet parents who work during the day or need to be away for long stretches of time. It’s a place where dogs get some positive stimulation and extra TLC while you’re away.


Socialization


Doggy daycare is a great way for your dog to meet and play with other dogs. Socialization helps dogs develop good manners and feel more confident around other dogs.


Exercise


Dogs who are left at home or live in tight quarters can benefit from the exercise afforded at daycare. Indoor and outdoor spaces designated for playing should be dog-proofed and great for rough-housing. Daycare staff usually walks the dogs as part of their stay.


Mental stimulation


A change of scenery, new toys, interaction with dog friends, and the attention of caretakers can all be great for a dog’s mental stimulation.


2. How expensive is doggy daycare?


Quality care isn’t cheap. Before considering a daycare facility for your dog, it’s helpful to know how much you’ll be spending every month.


Most doggy daycares cost between $12 and $38 for a full day. For a half day, you’ll spend between $6 and $25. Keep in mind there may be fees for late pickups and cancellations.


For context, hiring a pet sitter to come to your home and play with/feed/walk your dog can cost about $25 for a 30 minute visit. This makes daycare the more affordable option.


3. How do I choose a good daycare for my dog?

Not all daycares are created equal. When choosing a daycare for your dog, try to visit the daycare beforehand and get a sense of how things are run.


Here are some boxes to you can check when you visit:

  • Is the space big enough for the number of dogs let out at one time?


  • Are dogs of similar size and temperament grouped together for playtime?


  • Are messes taken care of promptly and thoroughly with a disinfectant?


  • Is the space free of any obvious odors?


  • Are there any health hazards like cords, chokable objects, or broken toys?



Questions to ask the staff or manager:


  • Is the business insured?


  • Is there enough staff to ensure the dogs’ safety at all times?


  • Are dogs kenneled, and if so, for how long?


  • What kind of discipline or corrections do staff use, if any?


  • Will you have access to a webcam?


4. What should I do before taking my dog to daycare?


Once you decide on the right daycare for your dog, it’s time to take care of a few items.


  1. Most daycares require dogs to be up to date on all of their vaccinations. If it’s a reputable establishment, you will have to produce proof of vaccination upon registration.


  1. Decide on a schedule. Going to daycare for a full day 5 days a week can be a little rough on your dog (pun intended). The ideal is when a dog goes to daycare a few days a week at regular times. That way they see the usual cast of dogs and staff and can enjoy some stimulation without too many unfamiliar elements.


  1. Take an honest assessment of how well your dog does with new environments. Separation or stranger anxiety can make it difficult for your dog to cope with daycare at first. If your dog has a hard time, consider a comfort toy or a relaxation supplement like pawTree’s Chillax chews with hemp to help them adjust to the new terrain.



Doggy daycare can be an enormous boon for the dog who has to clock some hours home alone every day. Equipped with the right information, you can confidently choose a daycare that will be your dog’s favorite home away from home.


 

Meet the Author

Kristi Diaz MD


Kristi is a retired anesthesiologist who loves helping people take good care of their pets.




 

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