How To Find The Right Doggie Daycare
At one time or another, most dog owners have experienced coming home to evidence of a bored or curious dog…kitchen garbage on the floor, sofa cushions askew, a potted plant knocked over and a canine nose full of soil. More than an occasional incident might be an indication of a bored, lonely, or energetic pooch who could be an excellent candidate for doggie daycare. So how do you choose an ideal daycare for your special friend?
—Visit the daycare without your dog first. Think of it as an “interview” of the staff and location. Is the daycare understaffed? Does the staff seem knowledgeable of canine behavior? Is there an intake process to meet potential dog clients to make sure they will fit into the social dynamic, or do they accept any dog? Do they use positive reinforcement with the dogs in their care? Are they willing to reinforce training behaviors, if so asked? Are they “animal” people?
—Inquire about health policies. To keep your pet healthy, make sure they require proof of vaccination for all animals in their facility. Ask how emergencies are handled and which veterinarian would provide care in the event of an injury or health concern.
—Ensure the facility is clean. What do you smell when you first walk in? Does it smell strongly of urine and feces and how quickly does the staff address “accidents”? On the flip-side, is there an overwhelming scent of bleach? It wouldn’t be ideal to have your pet breathing in fumes from cleaning supplies for hours.
—Inspect grounds for safety and security. As large dogs can seriously injure smaller ones, are there separate areas for large and small breeds to socialize? If not, do they rotate play between the different sized dogs? It is imperative that the daycare provide safe, chaperoned play with minimal risk of injury. Does the outdoor area provide tall, maintained fences with double gates to prevent escape?
—Look for amenities. Envision what your dog’s daily experience might be like at the daycare. Are the water bowls kept fresh and filled? Are there a sufficient number of comfortable dog beds where he can rest? What kind of toys are available for single play or chewing exercise? Are treats offered, and if so, what kind? Is there an outdoor area provided for your pet to relieve himself, and shade from the sun during hot days? The indoor facilities should provide for air conditioning in the summer, heat in the winter, and a temperate climate all year round.
Doggie daycare is a useful resource if your pet needs to expel excess energy, suffers from boredom, or just loves the company of other canines. From basic play and socialization to a unique spa experience, there’s bound to be a day care that meets the unique needs of your special dog!