No matter how much you consider your pets as part of the family, they can’t be with you at all times. When you need to leave your pets alone regularly while going to work, dog daycare can give them a fun way to spend those hours. When you have to travel without your pets, dog boarding provides them with a safe place to stay. Knowing more about dog daycare and boarding can help you understand what to expect when you make these arrangements for your pets.
Daycare places for dogs provide a fun environment for pets to use up energy and interact with others. These facilities typically have enclosed play areas that are indoors or outdoors. Dogs are able to run around these play areas and spend time with other dogs. Instead of lying around your home all day waiting for you to come back or causing mischief due to boredom, your pets will stay busy all day long.
Dog daycare offers a number of valuable benefits for pets in addition to giving them something to do while you’re gone during the day. These include the following:
- More stimulation and physical activity: If you have pets that have a lot of energy, daycare lets them burn it off for hours. This tires them out and makes them less likely to get into trouble caused by a lack of exercise or stimulation on a regular basis.
- Socialization: Dog daycare can also be an important part of ensuring that your pets are able to adapt to meeting new dogs or being in different situations and environments. This lowers the risk of having your pets develop behavioral problems, become anxious and stressed when faced with new situations, or when encountering other dogs.
- Extra attention: Most dogs enjoy getting attention from people, which can make it hard for them to be alone all day. When you have your pets go to dog daycare instead of being left home for hours at a time, they end up receiving plenty of attention from staff members during the day. This can help your pets feel less lonely when you have to leave them each day to go to work.
- Supervised play: Although you can set up cameras in your home to see what your pets do while you’re gone, you’re not there to keep an eye on them. Having pets in daycare means that you have trained staff members there to watch them play and ensure that they stay safe.
When it comes to choosing where you’ll bring your pets for daycare, it’s essential to keep certain factors in mind. Dog daycare and boarding places vary in terms of safety, cleanliness, quality and cost. Finding a place with rates that fit your budget isn’t enough. You should also look for the following before choosing a daycare for your pets:
- Clean play area: You shouldn’t see a place where messes are left around, and dogs do not have access to fresh water. A high quality dog daycare facility will have staff members that clean up messes right away and make sure that dogs always have clean, fresh water available.
- Secure enclosures: Play areas that are outdoors should be securely enclosed to stop dogs from being able to get out. Some dogs are very skilled at being able to jump over fences or dig under them to escape. Look for a daycare facility with a secure enclosure, such as high, sturdy fencing.
- Trained staff members: Staff members at dog daycare facilities should have experience handling all kinds of dogs and dog behavior. This helps ensure that problems are dealt with quickly if they occur. You should also feel comfortable leaving your pets under their care on a regular basis.
- Temperament assessments: The dog daycare facility you choose should conduct temperament assessments before letting dogs join playtime. These assessments are done to determine whether dogs will be able to play safely with other dogs. Aggressive dogs are not allowed to participate in playtime, which helps keep your pets safe.
When you find a dog daycare and boarding facility, you’ll need to make sure that your pets meet their requirements. These usually include the following:
- Evidence of spaying or neutering: For many places, dogs that are over six months old have to be spayed or neutered in order to play with other dogs. This requirement helps keep all dogs safe during playtime.
- Current vaccinations: You should also be prepared to show evidence that your pets are up-to-date on certain vaccinations. These typically include rabies, parvovirus, distemper and bordetella (kennel cough). Check with your vet beforehand to make sure that your pets are up-to-date and to ask for a copy of their most recent records.
- Negative fecal exam for parasites: You might also have to show proof that your pets do not have any intestinal parasites that could infect other dogs. This means having your pets do a fecal exam at your vet’s and bringing in a copy of the results.
- License: You’ll also need to show that your pets have a valid dog license before they’ll be allowed to attend dog daycare.
Dog daycare and boarding facilities offer somewhere for your pets to stay while being closely supervised and taken care of. These places can range from those that only offer basic amenities, to those that offer luxurious ones. Some boarding facilities have dogs stay in a kennel for much of the day except for a couple of short walks. Other places offer several hours of playtime to keep dogs occupied. When your pets stay at a dog daycare and boarding facility, you can rest assured that they are being cared for while you’re traveling.
Boarding facilities for dogs provide several advantages over hiring a pet sitter to stop by your house when you’re gone. You also don’t have to worry about making arrangements with family members or friends to care for your pets when you’re traveling. Dog boarding places offer the following benefits:
- Peace of mind: Having your pets stay at a boarding place instead of at home means you don’t have to worry about giving a key to your home to a pet sitter. You also don’t have to hope that they show up on time each day, or be concerned about any problems that might come up, such as your pets getting into trouble if they get bored or lonely.
- Round-the-clock care: Some boarding facilities for dogs have staff members available on a 24/7 basis, but keep in mind that not all places offer this. Having someone around all the time means that pets receive prompt care in case of emergencies, such as medical emergencies or fires.
- Special care: If your pets have any special needs, such as medications or dietary restrictions, dog daycare and boarding places can ensure that these are taken care of. Just leave instructions with staff members before you leave, and your pets will receive their medications or special food as requested. Some dog boarding facilities also keep track of when these requests are fulfilled and provide you with updates on a regular basis.
- Playtime with other dogs: Some dog boarding facilities provide opportunities for pets to play with other dogs for a certain amount of time. Rather than having your pets spend most of their time alone in your home when you’re on a trip, they can make new friends. Being able to enjoy playtime also provides them with mental and physical stimulation that helps prevent boredom.
Choosing a dog daycare and boarding facility is an important decision that takes careful consideration. You want to make sure that your pets will be staying in a place that is safe, clean and comfortable for them. When you’re comparing different dog boarding facilities, watch for the following red flags:
- No tours allowed: Reputable dog boarding facilities always allow pet owners to take a walk through the place. This lets pet owners check to see that the facility is clean and kept in good condition. Avoid places that will not let you see what the kennels and play areas look like. When you take tours, check for things such as fresh bowls of water and no messes around.
- Unfriendly staff: Staff members at dog daycare and boarding facilities should be courteous and help you feel at ease that your pets will be under their care. Your pets should also feel comfortable interacting with staff members. Choose a facility that has staff members that are friendly and well trained in working with dogs.
- Low quality enclosures: If your pets will be outside playing, make sure the boarding facility you choose has sturdy fences and gates. Otherwise, your pets could manage to get out and run off.
When it comes to requirements for dog boarding facilities, these are typically the same as daycare places. You can expect to provide proof of spaying and neutering, vaccinations, fecal exam results and a license. Your pets might also undergo temperament assessments if they’ll be participating in playtime.