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Read These 7 Tips Before You Try Dog Day Care For Your Pooch

Read These 7 Tips Before You Try Dog Day Care For Your Pooch

Written By Rebecca Paredes

Aug 31, 2016

Are you dealing with pet owner guilt? It’s the worst! You say goodbye to your favorite pal before you head out to work, and their eyes are nothing but big pools of fuzzy sadness. Fortunately, a dog day care is an easy way to make sure your pup gets plenty of socialization and exercise throughout the day.

Dog daycare is a lot like daycare for children — there’s playtime, naptime, and even BFFs. But how do you know which dog daycare is right for your pup? After all, you don’t want to leave your active Labrador with people who’ll shove them in a tiny cage all day.

Ideally, the perfect dog day care will leave your dog feeling happy, tired, and loved. Here’s what you should look for to make that happen!

7 Things To Look For When You’re Choosing A Dog Day Care

1. Cleanliness And Ventilation

Puppy in dog cage

This should go without saying, but if you walk into a potential dog daycare facility and it smells like a locker room, it’s time to move on. While some smells are inevitable — especially on a hot or wet day — the facility should look and smell clean, with plenty of airflow in the play area and kennels.

A professional facility should take care of bladder (and bowel) accidents promptly. If you see any noticeable pee stains or fossilized piles of poo, it isn’t the right fit for Fido.

2. Plenty Of Trained Staff Members

Dog day care staff member with dogs

Here’s a good rule of thumb: you should see at least one staff member per 10 to 15 dogs. Those staff members should be attentive and friendly with the dogs — not distracted and on their phones.

It’s also perfectly reasonable to ask about the staff’s training program. Do they call the dogs by name? Are they trained in recognizing a dog’s body language, and do they know how to safely control aggressive dogs? Do any staff members belong to the American Boarding Kennel Association’s daycare division?

Most importantly, a staff member should be physically present with the dogs at all times. If the staff members simply observe through a window or door, it’ll take them more time to de-escalate a dog fight.

3. Dog Day Care Licensing

A federal license isn’t required to open a dog day care, but certain states and counties may require the purchase of a dog care license. In order to become licensed, the facility must pass a health inspection. If your potential dog daycare has passed their on-site health inspection, you can rest assured that the facility is free of physical dangers and toxic substances, and they follow proper sanitation procedures.

4. Proper Introductions

Martha looks uncertain

A great dog day care won’t throw your pup into the fray on the first day. Most facilities divide dogs based on their sizes, personalities, and activity levels. Your pup should be tested to ensure that they get along well with dogs, and they should be slowly introduced to a group of dogs with similar personalities.

Ask for a copy of the dog daycare’s application. You should look for plenty of questions about your pup’s history, vaccination records, and personality. Even if all those questions seem like overkill, they’re for the best — they’ll help your future daycare take better care of your pup!

5. Scope ‘Em Out

Check out the facility’s social media pages, including Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp. While you should always take online reviews with a grain of salt, it’s still worthwhile to see if a facility has plenty of positive reviews — or an overwhelming number of scathing reviews.

You can also do some reconnaissance of your own by scoping out the pets and pet parents at the facility. Do the dogs look happy and well-exercised, or stressed out? Do the staff members respond to the pet parents’ questions, or are they given the cold shoulder?

6. Room To Roam

A great dog day care facility will give you a full tour, which will give you a sense of the play areas and kennels. Is there plenty of space for your pup, or will they be bumping hindquarters with other dogs all day? As a rule of thumb, each individual dog needs 70 to 100 square feet of space in order to safely play off-leash. Take a look at their kennel space, too — do they have access to water in a well-ventilated space, or are the sleeping arrangements subpar?

7. Price And Perks

Once you’ve found a few great dog day care spots, take a look at what fits your budget. Do you solely want to give your pup a playdate for a few hours on the weekends, or do you need a place that you can afford to leave your pup during your workdays? If you’re really torn between a few different facilities, check out their perks. Some dog day cares even have webcams so you can check on your pup throughout the day!

What would you want in your perfect dog daycare? Let us know below in the comments!