How to Pick a Good Doggy Daycare

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Doggy Daycare is fabulous option for working dog parents who don’t have enough time to tire their dogs out. However, not all doggie daycares are created equal! This article will tell you the main things to look for in a doggy daycare so you can make an educated decision about where your dog will be spending her days.

Here are the questions you should ask your potential daycare:

What is the screening process for dogs?

Each dog that is allowed at the doggy daycare should be completely current on vaccinations and should have had a negative fecal test within the last six months. Additionally, there should be a temperament screening test. I’ve seen everything from 15 minutes to 4 hours. You will want to understand what their screening process consists of and why they have chosen to do it that way. If your dog fails the temperament test, what options are you offered? (If your dog fails, it does not mean that your dog is bad. It simply means that he or she may not enjoy daycare like we hoped.)

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What is the training process for employees?

Working at a doggy daycare is far from playing with puppies all day. Not only are you constantly cleaning up after the dogs, but you must have a watchful eye for dog body language. Properly trained daycare attendants will be able to spot potential problems long before they start. This is not something that can be learned quickly. As your dog’s guardian, you will want to understand the training process the staff had to go through so you feel safe putting your dog in their hands for the day.

What enrichment opportunities are offered to the dogs?

Does the staff have interactive play with the dogs? Are the actively tiring the dogs out with games such as fetch or are they just letting the dogs figure things out on their own? Are there toys in the space that the dogs can play in and around? Dogs enjoy chasing each other around things – think of it as hide and seek. Does the daycare offer this as an option to the dogs?

What is the daycare’s policy on intact dogs?

If they don’t have a policy, run far, far away! At the bare minimum, the policy should be that no females in heat are allowed in the building.

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What is the daycare’s emergency plan?

There are a lot of emergencies that could happen so it’s critical that your chosen daycare have a plan. If it’s a building-wide emergency, do they have a way to contact owners? (Such as in the case of a fire) If it’s a dog-specific emergency, do they know where the closest vet is and who is going to take the dog there? Do they have a plan for how to contact you if this happens? Ideally, their application will have covered a lot of the dog-specific emergencies including, but not limited to, permission for a certain level of care without your prior approval, known allergies, known health issues, etc.

What is their cleanup routine?

Dogs are dirty! They will be relieving themselves on the daycare floor or grass so it’s important to know how the staff cleans up after the dogs. Additionally, there should be a routine of deep cleans where everything is completely disinfected. Ask your potential daycare what they use, how often they use it, and what their deep clean routine is.

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If you ask all these questions to the various daycares you’re considering, you should be able to make a very informed decision about where to take your dog. Keep in mind that daycare is not a great fit for every dog so stay tuned for my article on daycare alternatives!

After reading this article, do you feel better equipped about how to pick a good doggy daycare? What other questions or scenarios have you encountered?