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How to Choose a Doggy Day Care (6 Questions to Ask)

In the excitement of bringing home that new puppy or rescue, we can sometimes forget that dogs are very much reliant on us for almost everything. While that can mean a faithful companion, it also makes travel much harder, especially since you oftentimes cannot bring your dog with you!

So, what happens when you finally do have to travel without your pup? You have a few options, but one of the safest and most reliable options is a doggy day care, provided you pick the right one. Doggy daycares can be a home away from home for your dog and offer them the stimulation and companionship a dog sitter can’t. With that said, let’s go over the types of questions you should ask any prospective doggy daycare to determine if they’re on the up and up.

How are the dogs grouped?

There are several ways to group dogs; size, age, and temperament to name a few. There is no inherently wrong way to group dogs as long as some thought and care have been put into it. However, if you receive a blank stare when you ask this question and it becomes apparent that dogs are thrown together willy-nilly, then it’s time to look for a new daycare.

Can I take a tour of the facility?

No matter the time of day, a doggy day care worth its salt will allow you to tour its facility. Scheduled visits are one thing, but how does the daycare look on an average day? A daycare should always be clean and organized. If you are refused a tour, or you don’t like what you see behind closed doors, then you should look elsewhere.

Do you follow a set schedule?

Pups need structure just like we do. Dogs will get antsy if they sit around too long and the risk of injury or exhaustion is greater if the daycare just lets their dogs run around in an all-day free for all. A daycare that takes the care to structure the dogs’ days is one that will stimulate your dog but keep him or her feeling safe, comfortable, and secure.

Is there a “toy policy”?

Have you ever seen toddlers on a playground? The constant struggle to share toys is real, and it’s just as voracious in dogs. We call this doggy instinct “resource guarding” and it can turn even the most docile dog aggressive if it thinks it has to protect its stuff. Ask the daycare what their toy policy is, and if they’ve even put any thought into how toys are distributed at the daycare. At the very least, staff should be observant and ready to break up any toy-related scuffles.

What is the staff-to-dog ratio?

Just like when you look at a hospital or care facility, you want a daycare to have an adequate staff-to-dog ratio. Why is this? The more staff that are on the clock, the more potentially dangerous situations can be observed, diffused, or even avoided. If a daycare is low on staff, then that means your dog will be lacking for attention, which is the entire reason why you wanted to send him to a daycare.

What is your emergency plan?

Murphy’s Law tells us that anything that can happen, will happen. That means, to put it simply, that emergencies are inevitable even at a well-regarded facility. However, the way a facility deals with emergencies is what matters most. With that said, you should ask the daycare what their emergency plan is should there be any kind of safety, security, or medical emergency at the facility.

Is your dog ready for doggy day care? Make sure their shots are up to date and as always, contact your vet with any concerns you may have.