What to Look for in a Doggy Day Care

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Doggy day care is like a social club for pooches — and it can be a lifesaver for pet owners. For working pet parents, a day care provides an excellent alternative to leaving a pooch home alone all day, but that’s not the only reason to think about leaving your pooch at day care. Doggy day care can provide a much-needed physical outlet for high-energy dogs or for dogs whose owners are unable to keep up with their canine’s exercise needs, such as the elderly and those with physical limitations. Ongoing socialization is also important for any dog, and a well-run day care provides dog-friendly canines with safe and enjoyable play interactions.

If you’re considering sending your pooch to a doggy day care, it’s important to choose the right one. Here’s what I look for in a dog day care.

Your Dog’s Home Away From Home

Any good doggy day care should have protocols in place to protect your dog’s health. All dogs should be required to have proof of vaccination before being allowed on the premises. In addition, look for a day care able to provide your dog with immediate veterinary care should an emergency arise; ideally, this would mean taking him to your regular veterinarian, if possible.

When multiple dogs play together, they need to be properly supervised. A good doggy day care should always have at least one or two staff members on duty in each play area to intervene if necessary. Fights can occur even among well-socialized dogs, and trained staff should be on duty to break up disputes or attend to medical needs in an emergency.

Opt for a day care facility that fosters open communication with pet parents. If your dog is involved in a fight, it’s important that the staff let you know, even if no one was injured. In addition, nothing makes a pet parent smile like getting a complete description of a dog’s day. 

A good day care will go out of its way to make sure every dog is going to get along with the other canines. The day care may “interview” your dog, through both written history and physical evaluation with other dogs, to determine if he is a good fit for the program. These evaluations are designed to keep everyone safe from potentially aggressive encounters. In addition to evaluating your pet, some day cares, such as the Coeur d’Alene Pet Resort where my Pugs play, offer trial periods to allow you and your pet to test out the facilities before you make a commitment.

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