Our daily activities include how to take good care of our pets especially when we get to work during the day and go home in the afternoon, sometimes late at night. But how about our pets? Who will take care of them while we are away? With that said, choosing the right dog boarding facility for our pets is important, as we animal lovers need these centers to keep our fur babies safe, entertained, and happy.
Choosing the right doggy daycare would release the guilt we would feel when we leave them for work or other places we want to go. Here in Denver, Colorado, a lot of households have pets. There’s a recent report that said the number of dogs exceeded their number of children. An estimate of 158,000 is said to be the number of dogs while the children’s population is 140,000. Quite big, right? We dig in some ideas to feature information about doggy daycare that might be a big help for you.
What is a Doggy Daycare?
Suppose you have a child or children that you need to leave for a daycare to attend your work. In that daycare, the staff will attend to their needs and perform some activities to entertain them while you are away. They will feed them and also play with them. They take them to bed for a nap and so on.
In the daycare for dogs, the same thing happens. When you leave them for work, they need to be attended to by someone. But where are you going to leave them? With whom? That is where choosing the right doggy daycare comes in. They offer different services that your dog will enjoy and will make you satisfied in the process. The facility you are going to choose will let them play with other dogs and people. They will have the chance to run outdoors, and other activities that are under their curriculum.
How Much Does It Cost?
Usually, the doggy daycare’s cost varies from $15 to $40 a day. What causes the cost to vary? The location you are in and the type of daycare you choose makes it different. Compare the cost of living in big cities against rural areas. You will see higher costs of living in a big city rather than living in small cities. Also, the services you will choose to change the amount of the offered cost.
In-home daycares offer lower prices than that of fully-staffed facilities. However, If you will take a look at the bigger facilities, they provide more rooms for enjoyment and interaction with more dogs. The equipment, service, and the area to move around differs from each type of facility.
What are the steps to follow when choosing the right doggy daycare?
Pets thrive in doggy daycare environments because they can play and socialize along with the other pets. But we have to consider the right facility that fits our fur babies’ needs. In choosing the right facility, grooming, scheduled exercise, and supervised playtime is also essential.
There are pet care centers that also provide training commands throughout the day and it also provides us, pet owners the reassurance knowing that our pet is in a professional setting and well taken care of. Take these steps to ensure you got the right one for your beloved fur baby.
1 Ask for a tour inside the facility
You would leave your pet to daycare and yet you are unsure if it is a good decision. It would ease your worries if you would first see the whole place that your pet would stay in. Pay some time to look for a better facility that would pass your taste. It must be the one that you know would make them comfortable. Ensure they are certified and licensed dog daycare.
Ask the manager or the owner of the facility to tour you around the daycare. It would help you to know if the place makes a friendly environment for your pet. The first thing that you should notice is the cleanliness and proper sanitation of the whole area as well as their precautions for safety. How are the areas customized? Do they have separate areas or rooms for every activity? Look for these safety features.
- Proper ventilation – Ensure that fresh air is passing through inside the whole place. It would not help for the dogs to stay with less air. Ventilation systems ensure the elimination of respiratory germs so it would be best if a daycare could have that.
- Safe fencing – A strong and high fence shall resist the dog’s weight when they bumped through it while playing and jumping over. That way, they are safe from injuries or escaping that may lead to accidents. If the fence is low, the staff may have to use a leash at the dogs to prevent them from running away. But that would also mean they will only have less exercise and physical activities.
- Double gating – It would be nice to be accustomed to the place before joining your dogs with others. That is why it is a good point for the daycare owner if there’s a separating gate in their facility. It promotes safety between the pets because the staff could make sure to check and separate each dog according to their playgroup.
- Proper flooring – The right type of flooring would ensure safety for all the dogs playing and running around the area. It is better if the floor is in rubber type or epoxy floors. It would be hard if the floor is slippery due to cold concrete or linoleum.
- Drains on the floors – These drains ensure that no slipping would happen. That is when the floors are wet from cleaning the dogs and the whole place.
Ideally, there should be 75-100 sq.ft. space for every dog in a playgroup. To sum it up, if there are 15 dogs in a group, the required playspace must be 1500 sq. ft. Small space could not accommodate a lot of time per group. Therefore, what would happen is they might stay inside their cages more often. You may ask how many hours do dogs spend to play and stay in their cages.
2 Consider choosing between different types of facilities
Each daycare has different styles of facilities to accommodate your fur babies. You may want to check each one to know the one that would fit your dog’s behavior and energy level. Here are the types of doggy daycares you might want to check out.
- Dog park style
This daycare has large spaces and is specially made for energetic dogs to run and play. It is for indoor and outdoor or for outdoors only. Daycares located in areas under inclement weather would mean that your dogs would always go home dirty or full of mud when they play. Ask the facility about their plans on the dogs under their care during cold and very hot weather.
This type of daycare has a lot of staff that is spread all over the place to ensure everyone’s safety and behavior. Dogs who love to run as they could stretch their legs better usually avail of this kind of set-up.
- The play area is separated
This is typically the same as the dog park style but has a smaller area. Sometimes it is just an indoor-only set-up or outdoors only. Separating dogs into playgroups and joining them with the others depends on their behavior, size, and energy level.
These playgroups usually have 10-20 dogs per area due to a smaller space. Cautious and scared dogs might appreciate this type of set-up as they are separated from the others. They are put with others with the same match.
This type of daycare is in somebody’s home where only a few dogs are taken care of. It gives a familiar feeling for dogs so this is perfect for them that felt overwhelmed inside a dog daycare. It has a smaller space, the reason why only a few can be accommodated. Because homes are smaller than the aforementioned daycares, they must ensure they can handle the dogs’ safety.
The sanitation and cleanliness must be provided well as this may cause illness transmission to other dogs. This is the best daycare for dogs with separation anxiety. They tend to perform well in this style as they won’t have to deal with a lot of dogs like other big daycares have.
3 Know the ratio of staff per dog and their expertise
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA states that the ratio of dogs for every staff is 15:1. Even canine experts agree to this. It may be better if the ratio is less. The staff that would attend to the dogs must be well-trained as he will be interacting with dogs of different behaviors. That includes knowledge about canine CPR, health and body language, the way they play, and behavior management.
The staff must be trained and qualified by professional trainers in this field. It would be best if an animal behavior specialist oversees these caregivers with regard to managing the dogs. Ask about how many hours do they let the dogs rest, play, and stay in their cages. The education of a well-trained staff would give good results that will answer those questions.
Know their way of discipline inside the daycare. Other facilities implement strict discipline by pointing out water hoses to them. An ideal staff and facility won’t use force to implement discipline. Harsh acts of discipline may result in bad effects on the dogs’ physical and mental health. You may ask the ways they do to calm and discipline the animals. What are the effects of their reinforcement? Is it good and has positive effects on the dogs?
The staff and the overall management must be aware of the latest scientific discoveries about the pet’s body language and behaviors. They could apply these findings to implement positive reinforcement. The best feeling is to know that you feel the sincerity and care of the staff to your fur baby. You must be comfortable with the staff when choosing the right doggy daycare. A great facility hires staff with good skills in proper behavior management of the dogs.
4 Learn the guided activities that they follow
Of course, it would be worth spending if you know your pet does not just work out its physical strength inside the daycare. More so, the training would enhance their skills mentally and emotionally. What are the activities or programs they offer inside the facility to entertain and educate them at the same time? Do they follow scheduled activities or policies and make it fun for the pets?
They must have an organized program and schedule and you must be well-informed about it. A good daycare facility emphasizes their guided activities and protocols as the basis of their program. You may want to check if your choice of daycare has these features and offers.
- Ensuring dogs’ health and safety at the beginning of their stay.
Every part of the facility starting from the gate up to the insides of the daycare center must scream cleanliness. Look forward to the orderliness and friendly environment for the pets. The separation of dogs into each group starts in the main area. The supplies such as handwashing stations, waste bins, scent diffusers to minimize odor, and cleaning materials must be present readily.
Clean up materials. A dog may mess up and it is a big help if the cleanup materials are available in every corner of the facility. The mess must be cleaned and sanitized immediately by the staff. These cleaning supplies should be safe and sanitized for everyone including the pet owners that might use it by any chance. Look for inspection certificates that may be neatly posted at the entrance so there is no need for people to ask. It would readily face them to show that they are operating with good records.
Sound control. The equipment and the whole facility must have controlled sound as noise may cause stress to the dogs. A sound diffuser may be used to avoid any sound that would freak the dogs out. Noise contributes to aggravating stress that other dogs feel at the moment especially the new ones in the facility.
Segregation. Proper separation of areas where they eat, sleep, play, and eliminate their waste must be observed. This is to ensure that the given food and water to the dogs are not contaminated with dog wastes. It would avoid any illness that might spread through the daycare if there is a room for every activity.
- Providing programs that would improve your dog’s skills and well-being
After ensuring the dogs’ health and safety, there must be another batch of activities that need to be done for the whole day. Pet owners do not just leave their fur babies to be looked after. Moreover, they want their dogs to enjoy their stay and learn new skills in the daycare. These animals can not stay without freeing themselves from the cage to play and mingle with other dogs and people.
Training and Games. It would be great to know if the daycare offers training for the dogs to learn new skills. The more they learn new skills, the more it would be beneficial to the owner. Samples of the training might be learning tricks, improving canine communication with humans, and behavior management such as learning “sit, come, down, stay”.
Grooming. Another good thing a dog daycare may provide is their grooming services. The dogs will be pampered through their spas that offer nail clippings, bath and shampoo, trim, specialty-cut, and even pet massage! Grooming helps your dog feel comfortable and detects early signs of illness and parasites.
Vet services. In choosing the right doggy daycare, you may look for vet services specifically supervised by a professional veterinarian. They offer vaccinations and regular check-ups to make sure the dogs are in good shape. Checking them would detect and prevent infections, wounds, and diseases.
Imagine the convenience of bringing your dogs to a one-stop place where their overall being is pampered and improved. Isn’t it very practical? You won’t need to transfer to another place to find these services. Choose the right doggy daycare for your beloved pet. Aside from the practicality of the facilities, that one must be comfortable for you and your dog.
- Rewarding treats and toy policies for good behavior
The games they would play such as obstacle courses improve their physical and mental stimulation. The skills of your dog would be more polished through the training that is offered by your chosen daycare. You will enjoy more of the time you will be spending with your fur baby as they easily understand some of these obedience manners.
Other daycares reward the dogs for their good behavior and achievements. It is a good way of encouraging them to do better. It is an unspoken understanding of the dogs that every time they will do something good, they will receive a reward. Giving treats or toys is something that will inspire them to perform.
The toys that your dog prefers can be brought inside the daycare. However, inform the staff of the daycare if your dog is quite sensitive and aggressive when another dog plays with their toys. This will let the staff pay more attention to your pet in case that happens.
- Recording and reporting the day’s event
Of course, it will be great to hear good reports about your dog’s behavior and achievements throughout the day. It is a reward to receive positive reports about your beloved pet after being exhausted at work. It will be great to know that you can access that report on the internet. Proof of the happenings inside the daycare will show how organized and updated their facilities are.
Reports of the day’s end assure you of their safety and health inside the doggy daycare. These records must include copies of vaccinations, behavior history, and health records. Also, you need to inform them of their history. This is to inform the staff to be aware of how to treat your dogs. They must consider the records concerning their manners and food or toys that should be given.
5 Inquire about their boarding options
Leaving them in the house for a long time if you will travel is not an option. You may need to board them in a daycare that they have been into. Proper care and exercise must be given in the facility by playing and ensuring their meals on-time. Interacting with other dogs will free them from the stress of being away from home. Plus, their bodies will be given the stretch they need through the day by playing physical activities.
There are times that you will have to leave your dog in the daycare for some important events or emergencies and even travels. Ask the doggy daycare if they have boarding options. It is easier for dogs to adjust to the place because they have stayed there. Being there during the day playing will make it comfortable for them to board.
6 Ask about their temperament evaluation system
Temperament evaluation is a test that measures the reaction or behavior of dogs when a certain element is presented to them. These elements may be a stranger, noise or auditory stimulus, or visual stimulus like an umbrella popping out. This helps in evaluating their reaction. They may walk the dog to an unfamiliar place around the facility to see signs of aggression or panic from them.
Ask the dog daycare about the steps they do or how they evaluate the dogs being referred to them. A good and reputable daycare must be able to explain these steps. They must ensure the person assessing it is qualified and presents the behavior guide that they use in evaluating the dog’s reactions. These pets should not be tested only for aggression. Sometimes they are just stressed and unhappy inside the daycare. They should be honest enough to tell you that your dog is not fit inside the daycare. Reasons like these must be stated clearly and not just because of aggression.
Advantages of choosing the right Doggy Daycare
From the above-mentioned points, by now you get to see the benefits it can give you as well as your fur baby. It might take some time to see the perfect fit for your pet. So, do you think it is worth bringing your dog to a facility or just pay a pet sitter to take care of it? Here is the list of the advantages of doggy daycare.
- Your fur baby learns to socialize. It is a great opportunity for your beloved pet, especially puppies to mingle with others in the daycare. Since puppies are still young, they are impressionable. Letting them socialize with other dogs makes them well-adjusted dogs when they grow up. Shy dogs’ confidence is boosted by having the chance to acclimate themselves with the staff, pet parents, and the pets around. Note that shy dogs will take time to enjoy their stay in the facility.
- Their physical body is strengthened by exercise. Daycare provides a setting that will allow the dogs to exercise more because of the routines that they prepared. However, it is not recommended to bring them daily in the daycare as they might be exhausted from the activities. You may need to guard the behavior they might acquire from there.
- They gain new knowledge and manners. Mental stimulating games and tricks are taught inside the daycare. That is why even the mellow dogs learn from these training sessions. Lots of new smells and things to watch for improves their senses more. The routines they undergo each visit enhances their mind, thus, they learn new skills when they go home.
- It relieves their boredom and stress. Dogs tend to stress out and get bored at home when they are alone. Sometimes they even develop separation anxiety when you leave them for work. Staying in the daycare will help them overcome anxiety as the activities will make them busy and tired when they get home. The loneliness they feel is lessened because they receive a lot of affection inside the facility.
- It gives peace of mind to the pet parent. Nothing beats having peace of mind while you are away knowing that your fur baby is in good hands. Bringing them in the daycare assures you of their safety and their good health too.
- It offers reasonable prices. Typical rates begin at $15 to $40 the most. One thing you always find out is the amount you have to pay for the service. Most of the doggy daycares offer affordable prices to attend your dog’s needs and teach them as well. The costs differ per facility and per location.
Disadvantages of Doggy Daycares
Yes, there are a lot of advantages to availing doggy daycare services. However, for some pets, dog boarding facilities may not be good for them. There are few types of dogs that might not be a good fit for a group dog pack setting. Of course, there are also disadvantages in pet care centers which we cannot avoid but this is also important to know so that we should be careful and selective in deciding which pet care facility is best for them.
Pets that are extremely anxious, fearful, and aggressive dogs are the ones that need extra care and attention. For these instances, you should find a local trainer to work with you to improve the situation so eventually, you can try it out. Here are some of the disadvantages to look upon before deciding to enter a dog daycare.
- Doggy daycare may expose your dog to illnesses from others. That is a sad truth you might encounter if you put your dog in the daycare. Just like the kids in the child daycare, they may catch a cold or flu through interacting with other kids. However, it is a different case when it comes to dogs. They often show signs of sickness after a day or two of being exposed there.
When this happens, notify the daycare and all the pet parents that have dogs showing the same signs. This is to prevent it from spreading across the facility because it is contagious. Also, refrain from taking your pet to the daycare until it is safe to go there.
- It may cause wounds to your beloved pet. Because of the games and other routines that these dogs come in contact with, the scratches and injuries might happen. Though they are separated from each playgroup these incidents may be inevitable as they use their claws and teeth to compete. The staff carefully watch over them while playing but sometimes it can’t be helped. Since they are covered with hair, sometimes the scratches are not easily seen. You have to be aware of this and check it when you get home.
- It causes injury and exhaustion to your dog because of overstimulation. Sometimes, a dog gets limp when they get home because of too much playing while they are in the daycare. Their feet get sore unconsciously because they enjoy playing around, thus making them too exhausted at the end. Some dogs have sensitive feet that is why they are very vulnerable to injuries.
- They are more likely to acquire fleas and ticks from other dogs. Playing and having contact with other dogs will likely be the reason for your dog to acquire these parasites. They cause itchiness and irritability that sometimes lead to a more serious illness.
Things to remember before you enroll in a Dog Facility
It is important to prepare for what is best for our sanity and our pet’s safety that we consider all of this in choosing which pet care center works best for our fur babies, as there are places that may not be good for all pets. Circumstances like injuries, illnesses, and overstimulation. Also, our pets may develop poor behavior while at the doggy daycare center. All of this may happen to them at any time so doing some research, asking recommendations from family and friends for a potential list of candidates is a good thing to do.
- Check each pet care location by making an in-person visit to help make sure the safety and security of our pets.
- Having a conversation with the managers and staff members about their daily operations and addressing issues that had happened with their facility with the other customers is also necessary.
- Knowing how they handle emergencies, sanitation routines, and how much it will cost along with how each facility conducts its assessment should also be included in the list.
- Be wary of the red flags when choosing a pet care facility. Those “red flags” may include filthy surroundings and high noise levels, including people who seem aggressive or uncaring to animals.
- Some pet owners may even advise you to tour the facilities first thing in the morning, for it is the best for a consumer to see it at its worst.
- Most of the trusted daycares can be searched online and through word of mouth. When choosing the right doggy daycare, look for good reviews about this particular daycare near you. You may ask your vet for any suggestions.
Choosing the right doggy daycare for your beloved pet is one thing that should be done with utmost research and considerations. After all, your pets’ health and safety are at stake here if it does not suit them well. Expecting good answers to our questions is what we aim for when inquiring about the offered services a reputable doggy daycare must-have.
Having said that, it will be a great help to acquire pet insurance for your pets. Treating them as a member of your family is enough reason, I think, to purchase one. We, as pet parents, want to ensure their health and safety will be saved by the time an incident happens. It is our backup when high costs start to appear especially during a major operation that our fur baby will be facing.
Another thing, if you are planning to start up a doggy daycare business, this is the right time to inquire about pet business insurance. It will help you against lawsuits that a client may file for an unexpected injury your staff may cause to his or her dog. You may never know too when a destructive event will hit your business property. It is a relief to know you have this to protect you from losses.
Call us today and we will gladly give you a quote. Our staff is friendly enough to answer your queries to help you decide on what type of insurance that best fits you. At Advantage Insurance Solutions, to serve you well with your insurance needs is our top priority.