Let's face it, even though you might want to spend 24/7 with your dog, it's just not feasible. And that's okay! That's what doggie daycare is for. Finding a doggy daycare near me has always been a struggle, but it shouldn't have to be.
There are a few things to consider before choosing a daycare center, and we've got them all here for you.
What Do Your Friends Recommend?
Do you have fellow pet parents you trust who already use a nearby dog daycare? If so, ask them! Your closest friends and family members are your best source for finding just about anything in the world, including a doggie daycare. Check out any of the facilities your friends or family members are currently using first and see if they're a fit for your pup. Even better, if your pups are already friends, taking them to the same daycare will make it even more fun for them.
Go Visit the Facilities
If your neighborhood has a few options for daycares, go check each of them out. When you arrive, pay attention to what the facility actually looks like. Is there enough space for the pups? Is it clean? Are there enough humans attending to the number of dogs? Is it secure enough that your dog won't make a run for it? Chat with the staff and tell them a little about your dog to see how your dog might fit into the community there. Not all facilities can cater to extremely special cases, and you want to be sure your dog is getting the best care.
Is It Accredited?
It might take a little more effort to find out if a facility is up to snuff as far as certifications go. Do what you can to see if a facility's owners and staff members have the right qualifications. You obviously want to leave your dog with people who are dog experts and know how to handle them in all situations. It's great if at least someone on staff is a vet or has vet experience so they can act fast in a medical emergency.
Ask the Facilities a Lot of Questions
Don't be shy about asking all your questions when you're checking out a daycare. Dogs are family and they deserve to be in the best facility you can put them in. Some of the questions you should be sure to ask are:
- What does a typical day look like?
- How do you handle punishment when a dog misbehaves?
- What do you do in medical emergency situations?
- What happens if there is a consistent issue with dogs not getting along?
- Are you able to monitor the dogs at all times?
- What will this cost me?
- How long have you been in business?
- How many dogs do you typically have here every day?
- How many humans do you have working every day?
- How do you keep the dogs active and engaged all day?
Keep An Eye Out For Red Flags
Once you've asked the above questions, watch out for red flags in the answers. Here's what you should be looking for from them for each of the questions:
- There should be a routine to each day. For the sake of you, your dog, and the staff, there should be a schedule in place. The routine should include playtime, rest time, food time, and brain time!
- You don't want to take your dog to a daycare that uses punishment you don't agree with. Don't take your dog anywhere where they use physical punishment or abuse the dogs, even if they misbehave.
- If the facility can't confidently answer how they'll handle a medical emergency, don't go there. The staff should have an action plan that they can implement immediately.
- The staff should also have a plan to put in place if dogs are fighting, whether it's going to their owners or having a way to separate them completely while on property.
- Your dog should be monitored in some form or another at all times, whether it's by a person in a room with them or by camera system.
- Make sure you find a daycare that fits reasonably within your budget.
- It's okay if you find a place that's new in town — that's not a wrong answer. Just be sure it's a place you can trust. If they're new, see if you can talk to any of the current clients who maybe found the place even a week before you. There's no harm in asking their opinion.
- If the daycare already has a large number of dogs, especially for the amount of space and the amount of humans, you might want to avoid it. You want your dog to get enough attention.
- It's up to you what you think is the right dog-to-human ratio, but the more humans around playing with the dogs the better.
- You'll want to find a daycare that is not just running the dogs around all day or setting them loose to play but hopefully also engaging their brains, whether it's with puzzle toys or challenging them with doggie games.
What Are The Average Prices of Dog Daycares?
This number can range vastly depending on your dog, where you live, and what your needs are. You can expect to spend anywhere from $15 to $50 a day, though some places will offer a discount for clients who are coming every single day during a week.