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How to Choose a Dog Daycare

Updated on December 5, 2017

We all have busy lives, and this means we may need to utilize outside help when it comes to taking care of our pets. If you find yourself away from home often and your dog is left alone most of the time, it might be wise to look into a dog daycare program. Similar to child daycare, dog daycares are designed to provide your dog with everything it needs throughout the day with the added benefit of socialization with other dogs. If you want to read more about why you should consider dog daycare, click here. When deciding to take your dog to a dog daycare, it is important to analyze the needs and wants you desire out of a daycare program. There are daycares out there for all dogs so take your dog's personality into consideration as well to ensure they will be happy and thrive at that particular daycare program. This how-to guide will lead you through the process of researching, locating, and analyzing potential dog daycare programs in order to find the one that best fits you and your dog.

1. Create a budget

It is important to layout a budget on how much you can spend on a particular dog daycare program. This budget will help you decide on which daycare to choose and how often you can afford to send your dog to that particular daycare. Some daycares offer pre-pay packages and others are pay as you go. However, don't decide on a daycare solely based on price, make sure to ensure that your dog's needs and wants will be fulfilled by a certain daycare along with your ability to afford it.

2. Research local daycares

Decide how far you are willing to travel for a dog daycare and start researching available options in that area. There are different degrees of daycares and some may only allow certain types or sizes of dogs. Make sure your dog is eligible for a particular daycare before continuing on in the research process. Decide how often you want to utilize the daycare service and see if the daycares near you can accommodate that. Look up reviews on your local daycares and see how past customers have enjoyed their experience. This can quickly help you rule out any daycares that are not recommended by your community and from this you can create a list with potential options to work with moving forward.

3. Decide what is best for your dog

Think about what your dog likes and cater your search based on those things. If you have a high-energy dog, it may be best to find a daycare that has interactive activities that your dog can participate in. If your dog is very social, find a dog daycare that has many daily attendees so you know that your dog will always have plenty of socialization. Remember that your dog will be spending many hours at this daycare and it is important to factor in their personality as you browse daycares and their amenities.

4. Visit Many Options

Create a list of all the local dog daycares you are considering, then make it a priority to visit each daycare and examine the amenities provided. These are all things to take into consideration and as you visit each daycare, make note of the amenities you like and find a daycare that has a combination of the things you want. It is important to analyze your surroundings as you visit the daycares. How are the dogs acting, do they seem excited and happy to be there? Is the daycare effectively staffed to ensure the safety of the attending dogs? What activities and toys do you see laid out for the dogs to enjoy? Is the environment clean and sanitary? These are a few things to keep in your mind as you examine potential daycare options.

5. Ensure the Safety of the Daycare

You need to make sure to ask questions regarding safety as you narrow down your search for potential daycares. Check to see if the dogs are separated during the day by size to ensure safety. Don't be afraid to ask the daycare about past injuries and how they were handled. Ask about safety precautions that are taken throughout the day to protect your dog for any incidents. Some dog daycares provide camera monitored service that allows you to check in on your dog throughout their stay. Ask about dog vaccinations and make sure that the daycare requires proof of up to date vaccinations before a dog is allowed to start attending the daycare. The staff members understand the importance of safety for all their attendees and will be willing and open to answer any questions you have about the safety of your dog during their stay.

6. Ask about temperament assessments

Some daycare provide a temperament assessment before a dog is entered into the daycare program. This assessment will test how your dog reacts in certain situations and monitors their behavior around other dogs. This test is a great resource to ensure the safety or your dog and the dogs around them. Usually the dog will spend a short amount of time at the daycare and is constantly monitored to see if they are a good fit for that environment. If a daycare provides this opportunity, make sure to take advantage so that you can ensure your dog will fit well in a certain environment. Be aware that some dogs fail this test due to aggression that may appear when they are nervous or afraid of the new environment. If this happens to you, discuss the options with the daycare manager and see if there is another option that could work for your dog or if they have suggestions of where to go next.

7. Go with your instinct

After viewing many daycares, some will stand out immediately as a top contender. Whether this be because of the amenities, environment, staff members or safety precautions. Think about the different factors you noticed when you visited and go with the daycare that made you feel the most welcomed and comfortable. Remember, if you begin your dog in a daycare and it ends up not working on for one reason or another, you can always restart this how-to guide in order to find the right fit for you and your dog.

© 2017 Emma Kelley

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