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How to Choose a Dog Daycare


Today, Guardians have a closer relationship with their dogs than ever before. They want the best for the pet every day and all day. However, a heavy work schedule and being away for long periods during the day can impact the emotional and physical well-being of a dog. Canine daycare provides love and attention, tons of exercise, and the fundamental socialization skills required by every dog to feel confident and serene in their life at home. If a dog that requires an outlet for their boundless energy, dog daycare can provide the safe, healthy, and fun environment they need to help them stay out of trouble at home!

How to Select a Good Dog Daycare Center

Making the best choices when it comes to considering daycare options requires asking questions. 

  • How many dogs play together at one time? Too many dogs can be unsafe, no matter how well-tempered they may be.
  • How are the dogs categorized into playgroups? Size is not necessarily the best way. It is better to group dogs according to temperament so that dogs of similar temperaments play together.
  • Is the overall appearance of the daycare clean and fresh? The care paid to the facility reflects the attention paid to your pet.
  • What happens when dogs show aggression, growl, or play too rough? Separating aggressive dogs is good, but are they crated as punishment, rather than for “down time” or naps?
  • Are the dogs struck (with objects or the hand) as a form of discipline? It has no place in today’s society!
  • How often are the dogs let outside to play? If there are no outside facilities, are the dogs taken for outside walks for fresh air and to relieve themselves?
  • Where do the dogs go to relieve themselves? Are the dogs forming bad habits to bring home by learning to “go” indoors? It is especially important for young puppies that are just learning house training, or for dogs that occasionally have accidents in the house; a behavior that should not be encouraged at daycare.
  • Can you see the washroom area, does it have good drainage and is it kept clean at all times? It is important because many common diseases and parasites can be transferred via the feces of other dogs.
  • Do the dogs get “down time,” where they may rest without being harassed by other dogs? Many dogs in the company of their playmates don’t know when to quit and easily over-exert themselves.
  • Can you take a tour of the daycare at any time? That can indicate how well cared for the dogs are when Guardians or visitors can request a tour anytime.
  • Are the dogs ever left unsupervised? Scuffles or injuries can happen in a matter of seconds.
  • What is the ratio of staff to dogs? Is there enough staff to adequately supervise the number of dogs in the daycare?

How to Evaluate Your Current Daycare Facility

  • How often is your dog in a crate or exercise pen when you pick them up? If your answer is “always” or “often,” stop by randomly to ensure the pet is getting out for enough playtime during the day.
  • How knowledgeable is the daycare staff? Being Guardians is a good start, but do they have the training to “read” the dogs in their care, to prevent fights or other unwanted behaviors? This takes more than just loving dogs and wanting to work with them.
  • Has there ever been a dogfight in the daycare? Have dogs ever been injured in fights or otherwise? How did it happen, what was done to prevent it from happening? Where was the staff at the time?
  • Most importantly, what is your instinctive reaction to the facility and its staff? If something does not seem right to you, you are responsible to your pet to investigate further or choose another daycare.
  • When paying for daycare services, you have the right to expect the best of care for your pet at all times, and increasing your knowledge is the best way to ensure that the best care is given!

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Additional Resources

What to Look for in a Dog Daycare

Choosing the Best Daycare for Your Dog

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