Doggy daycare is a facility where you drop your dog off for short-term care during the day. While it once was viewed as a frivolous activity for a pet, it is now seen as a much needed social outlet for our furry family members. When you have to go to work, chaperone your child’s field trip, or meet up with your friend who’s in town visiting, how do you decide what doggy daycare is the best for your dog? With over 300 million pets in America, doggy daycares are a booming business, but that doesn’t mean that all daycares are equal. We’re going to give you the top five things to look out for when choosing the daycare that’s right for your pooch.
Nothing is better than a personal testimony from someone you know and trust. Put the word out in your social circles that you’re looking for a doggy daycare. Like picking a preschool for a child, you want to find the best program for your furry child. Glean from other’s experiences by getting details, listening to reviews, and asking lots of questions.
Don’t be afraid to cyberstalk! In a day and age where you have instant access to websites, reviews, and social media, make sure you do your due diligence as a pet parent to research and narrow down your search. Look for a professional web presence, transparency in policies and pricing, strict health and safety guidelines, and verified reviews and ratings. And don’t be afraid to search social media and see what people are saying. If you don’t get a good vibe online, move on. You don’t want your beloved dog in the care of a company who isn’t going to take the time or money to put their best foot forward online.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, plan on making some time to go visit the daycares and asking to take a tour. Like with online shopping, it’s one thing to take another person’s word or see something online, but you won’t get the true vibe until you see it in person and ‘try it on,’ so to speak. We recommend stopping by unannounced during the day as opposed to setting up an appointment. You don’t want to see a manufactured tour, you want to see the operation in full action so you can determine if it’s a good fit. A good facility will have someone who is willing to take you around when you stop by, and if you get a rude response or the cold shoulder, it’s probably not somewhere you want to bring your pet anyway!
Of course, nobody knows what your dog needs like you, so keep your eyes open for if and how the facility will meet your dog’s needs. And don’t be afraid to probe or ask lots of questions, this is part of your family we’re talking about and you deserve to know exactly how things operate and what to expect. And remember, at this point you’re playing investigator… You’ve already cyberstalked them (which they don’t know), so here’s your chance to make sure what you read or saw online matches what you are seeing and being told in person! Here’s a few things we recommend looking out for or asking about:
After you’ve done all the research and visited all the locations, go through your options and make the choice based upon what’s best for you and your dog. You know what you need AND what they need. If necessary, start by giving it a trial run. No matter what, go with where you sense the peace is, trust your gut!