If you work during the day and want your dog to be entertained while you’re away, a visit to a doggie day care center can be an excellent alternative to a lonely day spent at home. When boredom sets in, there’s also the potential for your dog to become destructive.
At doggie day care, your dog can socialize with other dogs and get some healthy exercise. To make sure your dog is safe, it’s important to select a doggie day care center with competent and caring personnel and staff.
Here’s what you need to know to choose the best doggie day care center for your pet:
Get Referrals From Other Dog Owners and Pet Professionals
The best way to find a reputable doggie day care center is to ask other dedicated dog owners in your area. If you have a dog park, this is a good place to question other pet owners about their experiences at doggie day care centers in your area. You can also get referrals from dog grooming studios and local pet stores.
Ask Your Veterinarian
Your veterinarian can probably refer you to a reputable doggie day care center. Plus, this would be a good time to set up an appointment to make sure your dog is up to date on his vaccinations before he’s taken to your chosen doggie day care facility.
Ask The Right Questions
Once you have the names of potential doggie day care centers in your area, call them and question them about their program. You’ll want to know what the dog to staff ratio is, how they screen incoming dogs for aggressive tendencies, how they handle dog fights, how the dogs are supervised, how much play time they get, the credentials of the staff, and whether large and small dogs are kept in separate areas. It’s particularly important that there be sufficient staff to handle the number of dogs at each session. (There should be at least one staff member for every ten dogs) and that they be trained in canine emergency procedures such as CPR.
Tour Your Local Doggie Day Care Centers
While scheduling a tour of the facilities is helpful, it may be even better to drop in without an appointment. You may get a better picture of how the dogs are treated if they don’t have time to prepare for your visit. When you tour the facilities, make sure all areas are clean and well maintained, that the each area is secure with proper barriers and fencing, and that the dogs appear happy and in good health. Observe how the staff interacts with the dogs and make sure there’s an adequate dog to staff ratio. Be sure you’re clear about their drop off and pick up hours.
Schedule a Visit for Your Dog
A reputable doggie day care center will want to screen your dog before allowing him to interact with the other dogs. Schedule a time for your dog to visit the facilities. Be present during the screening process and observe how your dog reacts when they expose him to the other dogs at the center. If your dog appears comfortable and the staff feels comfortable with your dog, you may have a match.
Once you’ve screened and chosen a doggie day care center for your dog, give him a trial and see how he responds to the new environment. If he shows any signs of stress when you pick him up, you may want to reevaluate. If well chosen, doggie day care can be a great way to keep your dog occupied when you can’t be with him.