choosing a doggy daycare

Doggy Daycare

How to Find a Fun (and Safe) Home Away from Home

So, you’re considering a doggy daycare for your canine BFF.  Good for you!  It’s hard for dogs to be cooped up and left alone for hours on end while we deal with our life and obligations.  I think we all recognize that dogs prefer to be with their pack…leaving them alone for extended periods can cause behavioral issues, like separation anxiety and even depression.

Taking your four legged friend to a doggy daycare, even just a couple of days a week, can be all kinds of beneficial.  The whole point of these facilities is to provide your canine companion with a reasonable amount of playtime and socialization.  Keeping that in mind, here are a few tips on how to find a safe and reliable facility:

Website and Testimonials – There aren’t many businesses that operate without a website, and most good websites will include testimonials from previous clients.  If the daycare you’re looking into doesn’t have a website, you should ask for references.  Also, make sure the daycare has a valid business licence.

Application and Enrollment – Although detailed applications can be time consuming to complete, take comfort in knowing that every pet that enters the daycare went through the same application process.  A detailed application can show that the facility you’re considering is doing their due diligence to insure they don’t allow poorly behaved, or aggressive, dogs to come into contact with your pet.  Ask about screening dogs for enrollment?  Does the daycare screen for aggression or other poor behaviour?

Qualifications and Training – The people working with your dogs should have professional experience and it’s always good to have people on hand with pet first aid.  Ask the doggy daycare you’re considering to explain how they train their employees.  For example, dogs occasionally fight…how are the staff trained to handle/break up a fight between two dogs?  Feel free to interview the employees of the facility.  Are they friendly?  How do dogs in the daycare act around the employees?  Happy to see them, or fearful?  You may also want to ask if the daycare can administer medications (if necessary).  Do they offer extra services like grooming, training or extra attention for older or more anxious dogs?

Cleanliness – Perhaps this item should be higher on the list…after all, cleanliness cannot be stressed enough when interviewing doggy daycares.  What does the facility smell like?  Some normal pet odors are to be expected (wet doggy smells).  However, it shouldn’t smell like stale urine, or reek of feces.  On the flip side, the facility shouldn’t smell of undiluted bleach (you don’t want your dog breathing in harsh chemical fumes all day).  Will the daycare allow you to walk through and inspect the entire facility?  If they don’t, that raises a flag.

Play and Rest – When you view the facility you’ll want to make sure that rest and play areas are sufficient in size and separate from each other.  Are doggy playgroups separate for dogs with compatible “play styles”?  Are large and small dogs allowed to play together?  Also, if the daycare is mostly an indoor facility insure that your dog will be allowed out to the bathroom frequently (you don’t want to “undo” all your potty training efforts).

Good luck on your search for a suitable home away from home for your furry family member.  Don’t be intimidated by the number of doggy daycares you come across.  Start with facilities closest to your home and don’t be scared to be too discerning.  Good doggy daycares will be happy to help a diligent pet parent.

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