You’re probably considering doggie day care for several reasons, such as providing your dog with canine companionship for a few hours each day, giving it a better place to play in, or getting away for a few hours on your own without worrying about its care. Regardless of your reasons, you should carefully consider your options since the welfare of your beloved pet is at stake here, not to mention that you will be paying for the doggie day care’s services.
Will Your Dog Like Being in a Doggie Day Care?
Bear in mind that not all dogs are suitable for doggie day care since the activities can overwhelm many dogs, such as older dogs that want a quieter environment. You have to look at its personality and determine its suitability in terms of his need for play and companionship.
If you answered “yes” to most or all of the following questions, then your dog is ready for doggie day care:
- Does it enjoy the company of its fellow canines?
- Does it play well with other dogs? Look for signs of aggression especially in terms of attempts at dominance since your dog may have behavioural issues.
- Does it like activities that stimulate its mental capacity and/or develop its physical ability? Keep in mind that doggie day care activities center around games, among others.
- Does it respond well to being left when you go to work, or run errands, or go for grooming sessions? Separation anxiety can be a big issue for dogs left in doggie day care centers. You may have to train your dog to overcome its separation anxiety before leaving it in a center near your residence.
You should also determine your own level of comfort about leaving your dog in a doggie day care center. Your own separation anxiety may prevent your plans in this regard.
Will Your Dog be Safe in the Center?
Unfortunately, reports about deaths of dogs left to the short-term care of doggie day care centers are one too many. You should make individual background checks of the centers where you plan to leave your pet for short periods. You can ask the following questions in this regard:
- Do they have the required licenses and permits from authorities? Be sure to check that these documents are valid and current.
- Do the centers have a screening process for hiring its staff members in place? Ask about the staff members’ professional qualifications, perhaps even their personal views about pet care.
- Do they have staff supervision on the staff at all times? Dogs should never be left unattended.
- Do they have appropriate security measures? Look for non-skid surfaces, fences, and hidden electric cords, among others, as well as security monitoring systems.
- Do they have emergency procedures and facilities? Ask about these matters as you dog may become injured or fall ill while in the center.
- Does the center have a dog-to-staff ratio? While there is no magic number, ask your local authorities about mandated minimums; for example, the State of Colorado requires a ratio of 15 dogs per staff member. You have to make allowances, too, such as 10 dogs per staff member for more active dogs and 20 dogs per staff member for less active dogs.
It is within your rights as well as your responsibility to ask these questions so don’t hesitate. You will likely have peace of mind about letting your dog enjoy its time in the doggie day care center.
Will Your Dog be Required to Undergo a Temperament Test?
While you may have objections about the temperament test, you are well-advised to let your dog undergo it. The test is not just for your dog’s protection but for the protection of the staff members and clients of the doggie day care center, too. Your dog may not be suitable for the center because of its behavioral issues, such as signs of aggression that can threaten other dogs.
The test is also designed to match your dog’s personality with its appropriate playmates. The more your dog gets along well with its playmates, the better it can adjust to the new environment, and the better its experience – and yours, too.
The number of hours that your dog can spend in your chosen doggie day care center depends on several factors including the center’s policy and your dog’s personality. The best centers will typically have policies about the duration of each visit so ask about it but you also have to take your cues from your pet about this matter.
Before getting your dog into a doggie day care center, you have to present proof of vaccinations so be prepared with the record from your veterinarian. You may also want to have your dog groomed at PetSmart before getting it to the center since first impressions are important, too.