While my husband and I work full-time, we are fortunate enough to be able to work from home. That means our dogs get frequent potty breaks and short playful interactions in between meetings and blog articles. But this wasn’t always the case, and it isn’t the case for many people. It broke our hearts to leave our dogs by themselves all day every day when we had our 9-5 corporate jobs. Luckily, there is an alternative so you can both have your career and give your dog the love and attention they deserve: doggy daycare.
Just like daycare for kids, doggy daycare can be a great way to keep your pup active and on its routine while you’re away. But, you may be wondering if it’s right for your dog and what benefits and services are included. In this article, we discuss what doggy daycare is and the pros and cons. You’ll also learn where to find daycares and the questions to ask them.
Let’s jump in!
What Is Doggy Daycare?
Doggy daycare is a specialized facility, or an individual’s home, that provides a safe environment for dogs while their owners are away. It’s a similar concept to child daycare. The caretakers can feed your day, play with it, give it a place to sleep, walk, and more. It offers pet owners peace of mind, knowing your fur baby is in a secure and enjoyable place while you’re at work, running errands, etc.
Daycare centers that are run as a business versus in-home care offer a unique opportunity for dogs to socialize and exercise with other pups. They’re often equipped with play areas, toys, and trained staff members who oversee activities and make sure your pet is well cared for. These facilities may also have different areas based on size or temperament, allowing dogs to interact with others that match their energy levels and play styles.
Is Doggy Daycare Good for Dogs?
Doggy daycare is good for most dogs. It provides them with opportunities for socialization, exercise, and mental stimulation, which are crucial for their overall well-being. Dogs are social creatures, and daycare allows them to interact with other canines under supervision. This helps improve their social skills, reduces loneliness and separation anxiety, and prevents behavioral issues that might happen due to isolation.
In addition, daycare provides a structured environment, keeping dogs physically active and mentally stimulated throughout the day while also keeping with their feeding and bathroom routine. It’s a wonderful option for pet owners who want to provide their fur babies with a fun-filled day while they’re away.
While doggy daycare can be a great option for many dogs, there are some situations where certain pups may not be ready for it. For example, if your dog has specific behavioral issues that need to be addressed like aggressive tendencies, excessive fear or anxiety, or difficulty socializing with other dogs, it may not be suitable for daycare until the behavior is properly managed. Also, senior dogs with significant health issues may not do well in a daycare environment. It’s important to assess your dog’s temperament, needs, and abilities to determine if it’s ready for the social and physical demands of doggy daycare.
What Are the Benefits of Doggy DayCare?
Doggy daycare offers a range of benefits for both dogs and their owners. Let’s dig into the top three.
Socialization and Exercise
Dogs love to socialize and exercise is part of their daily routine. Doggy daycare provides a unique opportunity for them to socialize with other pups. It can be especially helpful for one-pet homes. The daycare also ensures your dog gets needed exercise while you’re away. For example, if you work an eight to nine-hour day, your dog will miss out on walks or run around the yard during that time. And the likelihood of it wanting all of your energy from the minute you get home to bedtime will be much greater.
Pro Tip: Most dogs need regular exercise throughout the day. Learn how much and why in our dog exercise guide.
Eliminates Long Days Alone
Doggy daycare eliminates long days at home alone. Similar to getting less exercise, your dog may also start getting mischievous or sad when by itself all day. Or, if it has separation anxiety, being alone will only perpetuate it.
Consistent Training for Puppies
Doggy daycare is beneficial for puppies who need consistent training. For example, if your puppy is in the midst of being potty trained, leaving it alone unattended can hurt progress made. The caregiver can ensure your routine is followed, and having someone else help out with the training keeps you from potty training burnout.
Suggested Reading: How long does it really take puppies to potty train?
What Are the Disadvantages of Doggy Daycare?
We believe the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to doggy daycare for most pups. However, there are some disadvantages to be aware of when choosing which daycare is right for your dog. Let’s look at the three main cons.
Risk of Illness
When your dog is socializing with canines outside of your household, there’s always a risk of picking up a disease. We recommend choosing a doggy daycare that requires vaccine records. While this doesn’t eliminate the risk of illness altogether, it lowers the probability significantly.
Level of Care Varies
The level of care varies from one daycare to the next. You may be limited in your choices for doggy daycare depending on your location. But asking good questions before signing your dog up will help you gauge the level of care given. We list some questions coming up.
Possibility of Developing Bad Behaviors
Dogs learn from their pack. Depending on the dog, it’s possible your pup could learn bad behaviors from others in the daycare. Plan on observing your dog for the first few weeks of daycare to see if it exhibits any changes at home. If it does, we recommend addressing your concerns with the daycare staff. It may be necessary to change doggy daycares.
Chance of Overwhelm
Depending on the number of dogs, how the daycare is run, and the amount of supervision per animal, it is possible that the experience will be overwhelming rather than positive for your pup. As part of your vetting process, ask about how the staff handles this sort of situation or if the dogs have access to a quiet area to be alone if they choose.
Where Can You Find a Doggy Daycare?
To find a doggy daycare, start by doing a local online search. You can also ask your vet for recommendations or the local pet store.
Rover.com is another option. One of our team members uses Rover frequently, even when traveling. She has someone local she found on Rover that she takes her Miniature Schnauzer to when she’s gone all day. If she’s traveling with her dog and is going to do a day trip that’s not pet-friendly, she’s found a Rover sitter near her. She simply plugs in the city and dates to find someone. Then, she reads the reviews to get an idea of others’ experiences with the pet sitter. When she finds someone who fits her needs, she does a meet and greet at the person’s house. It’s worked out for her every time, but if she would have a bad feeling about a situation she could back out.
What Questions Should You Ask of a Doggy Daycare?
When choosing a doggy daycare, asking questions and doing a sight visit is good practice. We recommend making sure you ask the following three questions and then add your own.
Does the Daycare Perform a Temperament Test?
You know your dog better than anyone. If you know your dog has a strong or wild temperament, best to leave him or her at home and hire someone to come over. Meanwhile, if you are training your young pup, taking him or her to a daycare can help improve their social skills and avoid having an aggressive temperate around other dogs. Still, anytime you take your dog to a new daycare, they should perform a temperament test. If not, maybe not a good idea to leave your dog there. If they don’t thoroughly know your dog’s temperament, there is a chance of a mismatch with incapable playmates.
Does the Staff Have Training?
Finding out if the staff has training can tell you a lot about a daycare facility. It’s important to know that your dog is in good hands and cared for by people who love animals and know how to treat them. If the staff has behavior training, they can see when a dog is stressed or understand body language to notice danger. They also should be trained in how to de-escalate any doggy disagreements.
What Type of Communication Do They Offer?
Ask what type of communication the doggy daycare offers and how often they reach out. For example, some centers or individuals send photos or texts to let you know how your pup is doing. When you use Rover.com you have the choice of requesting the pet sitter to send photos multiple times a day. Also, make sure that the daycare is attentive when you text or call them.
Are They Insured?
When taking your pup to an official doggy daycare center, make sure that they’re insured. Also, ask them what their insurance covers. For example, does it include dog bites, your dog being harmed by another pup, their staff being injured by your dog, illness picked up there, etc?
How Much Is Doggy Daycare?
Doggy daycare rates vary depending on the facility, location, and demand. For example, it’s a service that’s likely to be in much higher demand in a big city versus a rural area. So, it may cost more in a rural area. On average, doggy daycare ranges from $15 to $45 per day. It can be less for a half day of care.
Doggy Daycare May Be the Answer You’re Looking For
While these are some of the key points you want to ask to know if doggie daycare is right for you, you should also read plenty of reviews. The bad reviews go a long way to painting a clear picture versus the good ones, and thankfully, yelp and plenty of other dog-dedicated sites can offer plenty of insight.
If you work full-time or need help with your dog a couple of days a week, doggy daycare may be the answer you’re looking for. It can give you peace of mind that your pup is getting attention, exercising, and keeping a routine while you’re away. We tend to worry about our pets while away from them, but a daycare can lighten the load.
Do you use doggy daycare? Share your experience in the comments below.
Stay Informed – Join the HypePets Community!
If you’re like us, your pets are like family. Stay up to date on the latest news, info, tips, and gear to help your pet live its best life!