Does your dog spend all day at home while you work? Do you have to hire pet sitters to walk your dog during the day? Are you worried your dog isn’t getting the love and attention they need? Do you find your home a wreck after you leave your dog alone for hours?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, doggy daycare might just be the solution you are looking for.
There is no denying that we love our dogs- we care for them, play with them, cuddle with them- and, for many of us, they become an important part of our family. We always want the best for them and strive to keep them happy and healthy so they can be with us for a long time.
Yet, if you are a dog owner who works 8-plus hours a day or you have a situation that makes your absence necessary on a daily basis, we know you can’t help but feel a bit guilty when you have to say goodbye to that sad looking furry face you are leaving behind.
Learning more about doggy daycare and what it offers can help you decide if this option is a good fit for you and your pup.
What Is Doggy Daycare?
In the past decade, doggy daycares have been popping up all over the world- and for good reason. Typically located in metropolitan areas, these centers offer dogs a fun, safe, and healthy environment to spend their time during the day. Doggy daycare typically provides both indoor and outdoor spaces where dogs are able to socialize, play, and exercise- always supervised under the watchful eye of professionally trained caregivers.
Although, these facilities generally cater to daytime canine visitors whose owners are at work, many of these centers also offer overnight accommodations/boarding, along with a range of other services that will pamper your pup to perfection!
Types of doggy daycare
- In-Home- In-home doggy daycares are typically run out of a private residence. Generally operated by 1-2 people, they are restricted on the number of dogs they can care for in relation to the staff-to-dog ratio, as well as the space they can provide. Benefits to in-home centers include a comfortable home environment where dogs have a greater amount of attention and contact with their caregivers. Many owners prefer this setting especially if their pup is prone to being overwhelmed in the presence of other dogs. A downside to a private center is that the residence may not provide an adequate amount of outdoor space for running and playing. The staff also may not be properly trained to handle dogs who are aggressive or have behavioral problems.
- Commercial- A commercial doggy daycare facility is usually a sizeable establishment that can service a greater number of dogs. Employing a fully trained staff, the center is well supervised at all times. Commercial facilities also provide ample indoor/outdoor play areas with agility equipment and comfortable rest areas, as well as a variety of additional services such as grooming, spa, doggy pick-up/drop off, training, and more!
Why Use a Doggy Daycare?
The truth is, no dog owner wants to leave their pup at home for long hours during the day. Yet, the average person typically works 8 hours a day; and, that doesn’t even factor in the time they spend commuting, running errands, or attending social events after work. This means your dog might be spending 10 or more hours by themselves.
Leaving your pup in the care of dog-loving professionals can not only alleviate their boredom and loneliness in your absence, it can also make them much happier and healthier while enhancing their overall well-being. Equally important, it can also curb any negative behavior that often is a result of the pent-up energy they have not being able to exercise during the day.
Whether you need a doggy daycare service on a regular or more casual basis, doggy daycare can offer your pup not only a safe place to have fun and socialize, but a number of other benefits as well.
Benefits of Doggy Daycare
- Reduces boredom and loneliness- A bored and lonely dog cannot only become depressed, they can also start to exhibit destructive behavior-especially when they need an outlet for all their pent-up energy. Dogs that don’t have daily stimulation can resort to chewing, barking/howling, and having accidents while you are gone. A quality daycare center can offer plenty of stimulation and socialization (with other dogs and humans) to help curb negative behavior.
- Human contact- Being ‘man’s best friend’ we know how much dogs thrive with human contact. Leaving your dog with a caring staff that continually interacts with your furry friend by cuddling, petting, and playing with him is a much better option than leaving them home alone during the day.
- Daily exercise- Daycare for your dog provides a more active, healthier lifestyle as opposed to them lying around all day. Dogs that have the ability to exercise throughout the day are less likely to have weight and mobility issues. Daily exercise is especially beneficial for pups who are overly-energetic.
- Safe socialization- Dogs by nature are social animals. A doggy daycare center provides a safe space to improve their social skills with other dogs (and people) while boosting their mental and physical health. At daycare, they’ll make new friends who they look forward to seeing and playing with on a regular basis.
- Improves behavior- Dogs, like children, need routines. Having a daily routine of playtime, rest time, meals, and bathroom breaks- along with learning manners and obeying the commands of their caregivers can eliminate unwanted behaviors at home. In addition to curtailing negative behavior, you’ll be able to come home from the end of a long day and simply relax with a pup who is tired and calm from their busy day- in contrast to being met at the door by wired dog full of energy who wants to play or go out.
- Alleviates separation anxiety- Many dogs don’t cope well when their owners are absent- especially when they are left alone for hours. Spending the day at a dog-friendly environment with a caring staff, other dogs, and plenty of fun stimulation will not only distract them, it can also help alleviate any distress they feel when you have to leave them.
- Eliminates hiring a dog sitter- Although hiring a pet sitter to come by your home daily to play with and take your dog out for a walk is a viable option, it doesn’t offer all the benefits a doggy daycare center can provide. Additionally, many people simply don’t feel comfortable with someone they don’t know very well having access to their home.
- Wide variety of additional services- Many dog daycare centers offer a number of services. In addition to welcoming canine guests on a daily basis, they also provide spa services, grooming, specialized training courses, boarding, field trips, and more.
- Gives dog owners peace of mind- Instead of feeling guilty about that sad face you left behind, being stressed out when you come home to find ‘accidents’, or being worried your home will be destroyed, leaving your pup at a daycare service can help give you peace of mind knowing your dog is happy, cared for, and safe (and, so is your house!).
- Affordable- Doggy daycare is surprisingly affordable. Daily rates will generally range from as little as $16 up to $50- offering both half day and full day options. Your rate will also depend on whether your pup attends on a weekly basis or a more casual visits of a couple of times a week. Additional services such as grooming and spa treatments will be extra. Don’t forget to ask about any discounts or specials they might offer.
Finding the Best Daycare for Your Dog
If you are considering a doggy daycare service and can’t decide whether it will be a good fit for your pet, the good news is that many facilities perform an initial assessment to determine if your dog is well-suited to enroll at their center. Many of the larger daycares will have the ability to organize the dogs by age and size- which is a definite plus. Often, the dogs will also be separated into different playgroups based on their temperament. You should also be aware that all vaccination requirements need to be up to date.
While both in-home and commercial doggy daycares offer different experiences, you’ll want to find the right one that meets your dog’s needs and personality along with one that will suit your budget. It is always recommended you and your dog visit the center prior to enrolling. Learning more about the facility by asking for references and reading their reviews can also help you with the decision making process.
You’ll also want to make sure the facility is adequately staffed with loving, professional, and experienced caregivers who have the expertise to handle any situation. Choose a daycare center that is clean, spacious, and comfortable; one that provides both an area where dogs can peacefully rest and an area spacious enough to play and run.
While doggy daycare isn’t the solution for everyone’s pup, they certainly can provide a number of terrific benefits that will keep your dog healthy and happy - especially when you’re looking for an alternative to leaving them alone all day.