For people who are short on time, but still overwhelmed with love for their dogs, doggy daycares are a life saver. But just like a preschool or daycare for kids, you want to pick the right one for your beloved family member. The questions to ask a doggy daycare before you enroll your pup can make sure it's a great fit for everybody.
And for many families, enrolling your pup in doggy daycare provides a ton of benefits all around. If your schedule is chaotic, doggy daycare means your pet still gets all the necessary exercise and attention, even when you're stuck at the office for hours on end. Plus, it's just healthy for your dog to be around other canines from time to time. "People need people; dogs need other dogs. It’s good for mental stimulation and makes for a better pet all the way around," said Robin Crawford, owner of Dogma dog care, in MNN. Really, it's a situation that benefits everyone.
Of course, you first have to find a doggy daycare that's perfect for you and your pooch. Read on to see what you should look for in a great doggy daycare. And remember that the better daycares will also have plenty of questions about your dog as well. Ideally, everyone is working together to make sure the dogs are happy and well-loved at these facilities.
1. What's the daily routine like?
Dogs often thrive on routine, and a good daycare uses that to their advantage. Does your place have a set schedule? Some doggy daycares even post their daily routine online, such as DoGone Fun! This means you'll know what your pup is up to all day.
2. How do you handle medical emergencies?
No one wants an emergency to happen, but it's crucial to be prepared. A good dog daycare will be able to get your dog immediate veterinary care. Some dog daycares will even take your pet to his regular vet if necessary, as noted in Vet Street. Consider how much and what sort of medical care your dog is likely to need when choosing a daycare.
3. How many people monitor the dogs?
Hopefully the humans at your dog's daycare aren't too outnumbered. The exact ratio of dogs to humans may vary, because some places have one handler for every 25 dogs, whereas others have one handler for every 15 dogs, as noted in MNN. Consider how much individual attention your dog needs, as well as how many different charges the handler will cover on a given day.
4. What is your approach to discipline?
Make sure the daycare's discipline policy works with your own habits. A focus on positive reinforcement is generally a good sign, as noted in Positively.com. Any facility that uses unnecessarily harsh punishment is best avoided.
5. Can you help with specific training issues?
Ideally, the trainers at your doggy daycare can work with you as a team. If your dog has any specific training issues, for instance, then they can work with you to reinforce better behavior, as noted in Vet Street.
6. Do you use cameras to monitor the dogs?
It may sound a bit extra, but some doggy daycares provide webcams for the owners, such as Dog Days. You can check in on your dog any time. Plus, a facility that offers this service is showing that they have nothing to hide.
7. How do you prevent pets from escaping?
Occasionally a news story about a dog escaping doggy daycare hits the news, as noted in ABC 13. It's heartbreaking to pet owners everywhere. Make sure your facility is built like Fort Knox for dogs, with high and secure fencing. Ask whether they have any policies in place for pet escapes.
8. Are the big and small dogs separated?
It may be adorable to see dogs of all sizes playing together, but in general the smaller dudes need some space to themselves. Facilities that separate small dogs from large dogs for group playtime usually work best for everyone's safety, as noted by Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of Camp Bow Wow, in Animal Planet. Overall, having a thorough conversation with the people at a potential dog daycare should alleviate any fears you have. You and your dog should feel great about these visits.