Dog Daycare is the hip place for dogs to go when their parents are away at work.
Some may think it’s extravagant, but to us pet parents, it just makes sense. Our dogs get to run around and play with their canine friends, burn off energy and come home happy and socialized (not to mention dog tired!).
But now that it’s a trend, it seems like new dog daycares are popping up all over the place… and not all are made equally. Vets, trainers and groomers offer day boarding, as do pet stores, retailers and boutique facilities. There are even people offering their own dog daycare from their homes. Before dropping your dog off at daycare, here’s what you need to look for in a facility.
Don’t drop and go; you and your pooch need to go to the daycare for an initial assessment. Not all dogs are a good fit for a particular facility due to individual temperaments. If the daycare doesn’t allow assessments, insist on one or move along to the next place. The other dogs that hang out at that dog daycare may have a totally different energy than your dog’s – during your first visit, introduce your pooch to the group slowly and safely.
Neat and Tidy
Don’t expect a dog daycare to be so clean that you can eat off the floor, but it should be tidy and smell decent. Take a look around and make sure accidents are cleaned up quickly, and the other dogs look healthy.
Insurance and Bonding
Your dog daycare NEEDS to be bonded and be properly insured; we can’t stress this point enough. If something happens to your dog or your dog causes damage while in their care, they need to have coverage to pay for damages. You don’t want to be on the hook for medical costs or property damage, especially if you weren’t there to see what actually happened.
Supervision and Staff
Who will be looking after your dog during the day? Will it be a trained professional or a high-school student looking for a couple of extra bucks? A good dog daycare will have proper supervision to ensure proper manners are present at play. A live body should be with the pack at all times; a good rule of thumb is there should be one human to every 10 to 15 dogs.
Experience and Control
This goes hand in hand with supervision and staff. Ask questions and find out how long the daycare has been in business, what control measures are employed (positive vs negative reinforcement), who is in charge and how experienced they are when it comes to working with dogs. Ask around to see what businesses come highly recommended.
Is there enough room for your dog to play and run around, both indoors and out? Inside, your dog should have about 70 to 100 square feet of space to run around off leash. For outdoor space, it should be more than just a place for your dog to do his business. Being inside all the time is boring, even for a dog. The daycare you choose should have a large, secure space to play and get some fresh air.
Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.