How to Choose a Doggy Day Care to Suit Your Busy Lifestyle

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Have you ever considered doggy day care for your furry friend? It does not have to be expensive, they are affordable pet care. In the 1990s, millennials began taking a different route to pet care. Dog parents needed a Dog day care, and since then, they have grown in popularity nationwide. Think of a dog day care the same way you would when thinking of a day care for kids. It needs to meet specific standards. The Ideal doggy day care would offer safe exercise facilities for dogs during the day while their owners maintain their busy lifestyles.

Additionally, day care can offer dogs much-needed social and mental stimulation they wouldn’t receive at home. However, how can you decide which day care to attend? From massive franchised “brand-name” facilities to the dog day care your neighbor opened in their house, there are many different options and kinds of day care accessible.

What You Need to Remember

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Finding a day care where your pup will be safe, happy, and well-cared for is important because the dog day care and boarding industries are not routinely regulated. When looking at different day cares, it’s essential to consider several factors, which we’ll mention below. Before you take the day care hunt too seriously, consider whether your dog is suitable for day care. Dogs can have beautiful lives without day care, but it can be a beneficial addition to their weekly exercise and enrichment schedule. While some dogs thrive in day care, others find it too stressful. Since each dog is different, it’s critical to position them for success and less stress.

The Top Thing to Look For in a Doggy Day Care

While there are a few suggested steps, transparency is the most critical aspect of a day care. It means that the day care staff is ready to answer any questions you may have, speak truthfully about their policies, explain pack management and training philosophies and practices, and be upfront and honest with you about your dog’s behavior while at day care.

Reputable dog day cares would gladly tour you around their facilities and answer any queries you may have. You should also be able to “tour” the facilities in person or remotely via photos, videos, or webcams. 

Logically, a day care refuses to allow in-person tours while the dogs are present; the constant new people and rotation of strangers may stress a pack of dogs. However, they may offer you a visit after hours, a live webcam, or images and videos of their dog clients’ usual day care days.

Different Types of Dog day care

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There are several sorts of dog day care, and you should choose the one that best suits your dog’s temperament and physical and cerebral stimulation requirements.

Dog Park Style day care

  • This dog day care typically includes extensive open areas and is either indoor/outdoor or solely. The location allows lively dogs to run, play fetch with workers, stroll around and catch up on pee-mail, or observe all of the bustle from the sidelines.
  • If you live in a region with adverse weather, expect a wet and muddy dog at the end of the day. You should also know the facility’s extreme heat or cold weather plans.
  • The day care personnel is spaced over the play area to ensure canine safety and polite conduct (think “zone defense”). Keep the staff-to-dog ratio at a safe level in this form of day care.
  • Which dogs thrive in this form of day care? This form of day care is ideal for social dogs who enjoy running since it allows them to extend their legs fully. However, more cautious dogs or those who may become overwhelmed in an environment of great activity would benefit from a different configuration. 
  • Dogs who enjoy playing “catch me if you can” or are afraid of being touched or led by the collar should avoid this configuration due to the difficulties of corralling them for pick-up or in other situations.

Separated Play Area Style

  • These day cares resemble dog park-style settings but include smaller play areas, typically indoors or outdoors.
  • Dogs are typically grouped into playgroups based on their energy level, play style, or size. Due to space constraints, this type of day care usually has smaller groups. Each group typically has between 10 and 20 dogs per area, depending on the size of the room and the number of staff.
  • Which dogs thrive in this form of day care? Dogs that are more cautious and fearful of heavy activity may benefit from this setup since they can be separated into an adequately matched group of dogs.

Home Style

  • Homestyle home day care is held in someone’s home and offers a familiar atmosphere for dogs that may be overwhelmed in a dog day care yard or room.
  • These day cares typically have only a few dogs attend each day due to space constraints and local municipalities’ limits for kennel/boarding facility licensing requirements for private residences.
  • Along with familiarity comes a home’s daily dangers, so ensure the home has been adequately dog-proofed, cleaned, and sanitized to avoid illness transmission.
  • Which dogs thrive in this form of day care? Dogs who show separation anxiety do best in this type of day care. Canines who prefer the company of only a few canines at a time are also suitable candidates. High-energy puppies may be too rowdy for a smaller group of playmates, but this depends on the physical activity program each homestyle day care provides.

6 Questions to Ask a Doggy Day Care

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Below are some essential components of dog day care questions you should ask and my advice for what answers you should want.

  1. What are your vaccination requirements for dogs that attend?

The Ideal Dog day care would have up-to-date vaccination records under their admittance requirements. 

  1. What are your spay and neuter requirements?

If you’re looking for a safe environment for your dog, you’ll choose a day care that only allows animals that have been spayed or neutered. Dogs may become aggressive over a female in heat, and the last thing anyone with a busy lifestyle needs is a new litter of puppies. 

  1. What is your day care trial process? 

A dog day care should have a process for accepting new canines into its herd. A day care trial should include a health and behavior history to ensure staff knows any difficulties that may affect a dog’s behavior in a new environment. Determine what behaviors might prevent a dog from attending day care and ensure you are familiar with the day care’s behavioral standards for day care attendance.

If you are aware that your dog struggles with behavior that may result in dismissal from day care or failure to pass the trial, inform staff so that they can better prepare your dog for success while also keeping themselves and the other dogs safe. Some behaviors that can be challenging to handle in a day care setting include:

  • Resource guarding (food, space, or toys)
  • Human-handling sensitivity
  • Shy personality
  • Nipping and mouthing
  • Jumping on people
  • Excess humping
  • Extreme barking
  • Separation anxiety
  • Herding behaviors or predatory chasing
  1. What is the ratio of day care staff to dogs?

There should be one well-trained staff member for every eight to ten dogs (1:8-10), but the lower the ratio, the better! We recommend a staff-to-dog ratio 1:5-7 in high-energy playgroups to ensure appropriate play among the more exuberant canines.

  1. How many dogs are in each group?

This varies according to the day care’s style. A dog park style may allow thirty to forty dogs in one group; however, you should ensure that there is an appropriate staff-to-dog ratio, that the dogs in the group have well-matched temperaments and play styles, and that there is enough space for the dogs to move freely without feeling crowded.

  1. Does size separate dogs?

This is additionally influenced by the type of day care your dog attends. A home-type day care will likely not divide dogs based on size but on their energy level and play style. If you’re concerned about your smaller dog playing with larger dogs, a day care with separate play spaces is the best option.

Affordable Pet Care and Day Care

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Sounds simple. It is! If your dog’s physical and mental stimulation needs are covered at home, there is no reason to send them to doggy day care. This is especially crucial if your dog dislikes day care, it causes stress or anxiety, or it promotes undesirable habits such as herding, improper chasing, or barking. Don’t be discouraged if your dog does not thrive in a dog day care setting; as long as they have your friendship, love, and the appropriate amount of physical exercise and cerebral stimulation, their life will be pretty sweet! Don’t settle for ridiculous prices, affordable pet care is out there for your dog.