Choosing a Doggie Daycare: Best Questions To Ask & Features To Consider

Can't bear the thought of your pup home alone while you're out for the day? Send them over to doggie daycare. 

Many dog owners shudder at the thought of leaving their pups at home alone while they are running errands or while they are at work for the day. But good news! You can get a dog walker, pet sitter or send your dog to a boarding facility.

Another option is sending your furry best friend to a dog daycare. If you have never used one before, you may not know what to look for. Here's a look at the most important aspects to consider when choosing a doggie daycare.

What To Look For In A Dog Daycare

As a pet owner, you want the best daycare facility for your pup, which is why taking the proper steps to choose a doggie daycare is so essential. When researching a doggie daycare, try to find one that is close to your home or on your way to work. That will make drop-off easier for you and your pup. Also, if your dog isn't a huge fan of being in the car, it will reduce the amount of time they have to spend in it, decreasing their level of stress.

You want your dog to be comfortable and have fun while they are at the daycare. Look for a facility that has play areas you know your pup will enjoy.

When you visit the facility, assess the body language of the staff members and the overall daycare environment. See how they interact during playtime with the dogs and ensure that it matches up with your pup's play style. After all, your dog's well-being is the most important part of choosing a facility.

A facility that doesn't have anything to hide will have no problem answering your questions, giving you a tour, and letting you see how your dog fits in with the other dogs and the facility staff.

If the staff is concerned about disrupting the dog's daily routine, they may suggest that you check out the facility virtually or via webcam. They may have additional photos and videos that you can look at to get a feel for what your pup's day may look like.

Questions to Ask When Choosing A Doggie Daycare

While you talk to the doggie daycare facility, having a list of questions can help you determine if your pup will be a good fit.

Ask about dog groups.

If you have a small dog, you may want to find out if the staff separates large dogs. You will also want to know what dog breeds are in the group of dogs at the daycare to make sure they are compatible with your pup.

Also, ask about how the staff will introduce the new dog to the rest of the pack. Since dog behavior can be unpredictable, as a pet parent, you want to be aware of and comfortable with the introduction process.

Ask about the staff to dog ratio.

The Pet Care Services Association says there should be one staff member per 15 dogs. Some states also regulate daycares, boarding facilities, and kennels, so you can always check your state rules if something doesn't feel right.

When you are trying to find the right daycare, ask the staffers about what kind of enrichment activities and playgroups are available for your pup.

Ask what kind of training the staff has.

Make sure the staff knows basic first aid in case your pooch needs some help. The staff doesn't have to be made up of dog trainers, but they should know how to assess dog behavior, body language, manage behaviors, and canine CPR.

They should also be well-versed in doggie health and play techniques so your pup can get the most out of their day. Reputable facilities will have their staff trained and certified in at least these categories.

How Much Does A Doggy Daycare Cost?

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Many factors can affect the cost of dog daycares. One of the biggest factors is where you live. If you are in a big metropolitan city, the cost may be higher than living in a rural area.

For example, dog daycare costs in NYC can be anywhere from $30- $45, whereas dog daycares in areas outside the city can be around $10 a day. Just outside Dallas, some of the dog daycares run about $24 a day. Conversely, a dog walker can cost up to $30 an hour or more.

The type of daycare makes a difference too. Generally, commercial daycares are around $30 a day, and in-home daycares can be anywhere between $20-$40 a day.

What You Need To Do Before Your Pups First Day

Pups have to have good behavior to stay enrolled in their doggie daycare. If you are concerned with your pup's behavior, you may need to get some more dog training or schedule a visit with a behavior consultant.

The daycare will also want to see your pup's vaccination record. There may also be a trial period to introduce your pups to the others in the pack. Finally, your dog may undergo a temperament test to see if its personality and behavior will fit. If not, you may need to find a facility that is a better fit for your pup.

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