The Dog Daycare
Q. What exactly is dog day care?
Dog daycare works much like a daycare center for children. In the morning, you drop your barking buddy off at the daycare center and then pick him or her up later in the day. During your dog's stay at daycare, he or she will be able to socialize with people and other dogs. Many dog daycares also offer other services such as taxi services, pet sitting, grooming, etc.
Q. What are the benefits of taking my dog to dog daycare?
There are many! Dogs are social animals and benefit from being able to interact other dogs. They'll learn to get along with others, get some great exercise, and just have some good old fashioned fun! It also eases your mind knowing your dog is being entertained in a healthy way while you're gone rather than redecorating your living room!
Q. Are the dogs indoors or out most of the time?
Many dog daycares are primarily indoors; many have play areas outside as well. If the dogs are outside most of the time, ask if there is adequate shelter in case of bad weather.
Q. How secure are the play areas?
If they are fenced, the fencing should be high enough to prevent jumping and low enough to the ground to deter diggers.
Q. Is there a double gate for entering the play area?
This ensures that little Houdini, the escape artist can be caught should he slip through the gate as someone is entering or leaving the play area.
Q. Do they have separate areas for different sized dogs?
Although your little maltese and great dane may be best buddies at home, you certainly wouldn't want your little guy to be in a play area full of 80 pound dogs! The same goes for older dogs. Dogs do best when they are around other dogs similar in size and energy level.
Q. Do they have toys for them to play with?
Many daycares will have tug toys, balls, and toys they can climb in and on. The idea is to keep Sugar occupied while she's there and although she'll have other dogs to play with, toys and activities are important as well.
Q. Is the facility clean?
Ask how often and how thoroughly their daycare is cleaned and whether there is an area specifically for the dogs to potty. Do a sniff test and ask yourself if it smells clean enough for Spike to spend the whole day there.
Q. What is the dog per person ratio?
You want to be sure that there are enough people to adequately supervise the dogs.
Q. What type of experience to the employees have?
Ask if staff members undergo any training, and if so, what it entails. Many daycare owners and employees are trained in dog behavior, first aid, obedience training, agility, etc.
Q. Do they have a time out area?
At times a dog may need to be separated from the others if the play gets a bit too rough. Many daycares will also have scheduled time out periods for everybody.
Q. Do they have a veterinarian on call?
Hopefully they won't need to call on a vet very often, but find out whether or not they have a one on call and what their emergency procedure is.
Q. How much does it cost?
Rates will vary throughout the country. Ask each daycare that you talk with what their rates are and what their payment procedures are.
About Your Dog
Q. Will my dog need to be vaccinated?
Your dog must current on vaccinations such as rabies, DHLPP, Bordatella (kennel cough). Most daycares will also require your dog to be on some sort of flea control.
Q. Must my dog be spayed or neutered?
For many valid reasons, many dog daycares will only allow dogs that have been spayed or neutered. Non-altered dogs are generally more aggressive and females in heat can cause tension and fights between male dogs.
Q. What sort of temperament will they look for in my dog?
Your dog must get along well with other dogs. Aggressive dogs will generally not be accepted at dog daycare.
Q. Will my dog go through any screening before being allowed to attend dog daycare?
Your daycare should assess all dogs for temperament before they join the other dogs. They will look for things such as aggressiveness, shyness, etc. Dogs must be able to play nicely. They'll also want to be sure your dog is in good health.