Is Doggie Day Care Right for Your Dog?
Are you the parent of a lively dog? Do you have to be away from her for long periods of time, where she stays alone most of the day? If so, you may have or may be in the process of considering putting your dog in doggy day care.
When you have young kids and need to find a day care, what do you do? You do a lot of good research to find the best day care you can afford for your kids. You interview the facility’s owners, visit and observe how things are done, etc. You’ll need to put the same amount of effort into finding the best day care for your pup, too!
Before you settle on a doggy day care for your canine companion, let’s consider a few things to see if doggy day care is really a good idea for your dog.
Doggy Day Care Pros and Cons
As with anything else, there are both pros and cons to sending your pup off to doggy day care.
- Your dog will be socializing with other dogs on a regular basis, rather than always being home alone.
- Most licensed doggy day care facilities hire professional staff such as dog trainers to work with the dogs.
- Generally, your dog will be around people who love animals and who have fun working and playing with dogs.
- Your pup will be mentally and physically stimulated and active; as a result, she will be tired out when she gets home and may even sleep better!
- Doggy day care may be able to help your dog manage problem behaviors such as separation anxiety and destructive habits when left alone.
- Doggy day care isn’t a good fit for every dog, especially if your dog doesn’t socialize well with other dogs. This is especially true for any dog who has health problems, mobility problems, etc. Elderly dogs and young puppies are also not good candidates for doggy day care.
- Dogs can be overstimulated while actively playing with other dogs all day. All pups need some downtime—a good facility will ensure all dogs in their care have some down time, rather than letting them just ramble at high gear all day!
- You’ll have to drop your dog off at doggy day care before heading to work, and then pick them up on the way home. Some facilities will charge an additional fee if for any extra time your dog is there—for instance, if you end up working late, etc.
- Not all doggy day care owners and workers can be trusted as to how they’re actually treating your dog when you’re not there, etc.
Some dogs will pick up behavior issues from other dogs including jumping on people, marking their territory and more!
- Dogs will be dogs—they love to play rough with others, which can lead to injuries. Dogs love to play rough and tumble! Injuries may include fractured bones, nicks and scrapes, bites, eye problems, etc.
- Being in a large group may make your dog more prone to stress, disease, and illness. While most facilities will require proof of vaccinations, you pup could still pick up illnesses such as kennel cough, warts, fleas and even ticks.
These are some of the doggy day care pros and cons you’ll find when researching a facility for your dog!
Choosing a Doggy Day Care for Your Dog
It takes time and research to choose the right doggy day care for your dog. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you begin your search.
1. Look for day care facilities that only hire qualified dog trainers, and other staff who truly love and enjoy working with dogs.
2. Stay away from unlicensed facilities or day cares set up in a person’s backyard. Make sure owners know how to deal with dog behaviors, including fighting and other forms of aggression.
3. Be honest with yourself and the facility when it comes to assessing your dog’s personality, health issues, behavior issues, etc. You’ll want to ensure that everyone working with your dog knows and understands how to cope with such issues.
4. Make sure that all workers at the facility know pet first aid, dog body language, dog stress signals, and more. Also make sure the entire facility is clean!
5. Look for a doggy day care that has more staff per dog. A good rule of thumb is 15 dogs for one staff member, and there should be at least two staff on the site at any time. Dogs should be supervised at all times—every minute.
6. Check to be sure there’s plenty of space for your dog and others to play and run! Look for some large play areas, along with smaller areas where your dog can take a break to sleep and relax.
7. Look for doggy day cares with fenced outdoor areas for the dogs to play and relieve themselves.
8. A good doggy day care should require your dog to go through an evaluation period. This allows you and the staff to see how your dog reacts to being with a bunch of other dogs, new people, etc. The facility may ask that you bring your dog to meet with one or more of their dogs.
9. Just as you’ll have many questions for the doggy day care facilities, be aware that good doggy day care center may ask you numerous questions about your dog. The day care provider should be interested in learning about your dog—training and food preferences, play styles.
10. Look for day care facilities that require you to sign a contract and be sure to ask if they carry insurance to cover accidents (dog bites, etc.). Some contracts say that if an owner’s dog bites another dog, then the owner is responsible for all medical treatment for the dog that was bitten/injured. Either way—a contract is a good thing to have when something goes wrong.
A good facility will carry insurance – Don’t settle for anything less for your pet!
Next, we’ll take a look at some common behavioral problems.
My Dog Got Kicked Out of Doggie Daycare
What happens when your dog gets kicked out of doggie daycare? Not all dogs do well in day care—there may be personality and behavioral clashes, etc. Different breeds enjoy more energetic play than others, and the list goes on for why your dog may have been kicked out of day care. Under you’re not alone—others have said the same thing, “My dog got kicked out of doggie daycare!”
If this happens to your dog, don’t panic! As long as your dog is good at home, gets along good with your family and is generally happy, then don’t worry. Some dogs just don’t like doggie day care. You might consider looking for another day care for your pet. Just because things didn’t work out with one day care doesn’t mean another day care will not be possible. The mix of dogs and people will be different at each doggie facility, so it may just be a matter of changing day care facilities.
Dog Bite at Day Care
Stuff happens when you get a bunch of dogs together! One minute everyone’s playing nicely, and all of a sudden you hear a yip and a growl, and there’s a fight on. If your dog’s on the receiving end of a fight, it’s possible she could suffer a bite. This is a common occurrence and why it’s important to look for a doggie day care that carries insurance for such instances.
If the facility doesn’t carry insurance, there may be a clause in the day care contract which says that if an owner’s dog bites another dog, then they are responsible for the medical treatment needed by the other dog (if necessary). Just know that a dog bite at day care is quite common and ensure your facility has the means to take care of these issues.
Dog Got in Fight at Daycare
No matter how hard a facility tries to keep dogs from fighting, it will happen at some point. The best doggie daycare with the closest supervision can have an occasional dog fight. The facility can only minimize the risk for fights—not eliminate them completely.
For this type of instance, be sure the doggie day care facility you choose has trained their staff on how to break up a fight when one does occur. And remember that while a dog fight may look gnarly and vicious, it’s really one of the ways dogs use to establish their order within their day care pack. These types of fights rarely result in death or severe injury. Staff who quickly recognize the warning signs may even be able to head off the fight before it escalates.
If your dog got in a fight at daycare, it might be a good idea keep him out of daycare for a while. You might also consider changing daycare facilities, as the staff and dogs will be different in each place. Don’t feel bad—it happens. Just be sure to “listen” to your dog—maybe she’s trying to tell you she doesn’t like being in daycare.
Doggie Day Care Near Me
Now that you’ve looked at some of the pros and cons of doggie day care, considered what to look for in a daycare facility for dogs, and some issues that may arise, you’re ready to find a daycare near you! How should you go about that?
You can start by first asking family, friends and colleagues for referrals. They may have experience with a daycare near you or know of someone who has. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Do an online search to find a doggie daycare near you. Use Google and type in (without quotation marks) “doggie daycare near me,” and your browser will bring up a list of facilities in your area. Other online search options include sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau website, etc. Pay attention to all reviews—not only the positive ones, but also the negative reviews. Negative reviews can clue you into possible problems. If you read the about the same negative issue over and over, then it’s probably best to avoid that facility at all costs.
Doggie day care isn’t for every dog, but it can be a lifesaver if you’re away for long periods and your dog’s alone quite a bit. These facilities may give your dog a chance to socialize, be mentally and physically stimulated and have fun while you’re at work! We hope our tips and information will help you find the best doggie daycare for your pup!