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June 29, 2022
If you’re a full-time working pet parent, maybe you’re bitten by the mom-or-dad-guilt bug from time to time. Guilt over not being able to spend more time with your pup. You may even be in the same room all day, but you’re glued to your desk while your pup lays on the couch or in a bed at your feet or has to entertain himself.
This works fine for some dog-parent duos, or for older dogs, lower-energy breeds, or the more introverted. For others, doggy daycare may present an appealing alternative—other people and dogs to run around with, so your pup’s getting exercise, stimulation, and attention.
Doggy daycare is a great fit for some, and not for others. Consider this your primer on doggy daycare, its pros and cons, and whether it’s a good option for your dog.
How Much Alone Time Can My Dog Take?
If you work outside the home and can’t make it back to give your dog a break every four hours (and that just goes for adult dogs; puppies shouldn’t go more than an hour or so without a break!), then doggy daycare may be a good option. If your dog is regularly left home alone all day while you work, doggy daycare can be a great way to get him some exercise and socialization.
Pros of Doggy Daycare
Doggy daycare can be a great way to mitigate bad behavior in your dog, if being left alone makes your dog act out. If they suffer from separation anxiety, aren’t crate-trained or are a high-energy breed and you worry every day that you might come home from work to some destruction, try doggy daycare. Plus, plenty of facilities offer other fun add-ons like on-site grooming and training, wellness checks, agility equipment and obstacle courses.
Cons of Doggy Daycare
Doggy daycare can be very impersonal. Not all will offer one-on-one time with your dog. There may be a huge group of dogs with not many attendants. You may want to look for one that has lots of good attendants to monitor everyone and make sure they’re getting on well.
It’s also expensive! Especially if you do it full-time throughout your work week. The national average of the cost per full day is $43, which comes out to $215 per week, and $860 per month. While putting together your pup budget, factor in dog insurance too! With Bivvy pet insurance, you can get insured for less than $1 a day.
When Doggy Daycare Might Not Be a Good Idea
If your dog is anxious or aggressive around others, doggy daycare might not be for them. Doggy daycare is not a good place for you to do socialization by fire with your dog. Make sure you have plenty of experience ahead of time to know whether they play well with others. Make sure he’s well-socialized to those beyond your family and your other pets, by going to dog parks and playdates. If they’re more introverted, shy, or sensitive, a setting like doggy daycare may just stress them out and lead to sensory overload. Take your own dog’s personality into consideration and use discernment.
But not to worry—you’re not backed into a corner if you want your pup to have some stimulation and activity that you can’t offer but fear they’re not a good fit for doggy daycare. An alternative is hiring a dog walker who can stop in and take your dog on a low-key solo stroll. This is also usually a lot cheaper than the whole shebang of doggy daycare. It can cost as little as half the amount.
What to Expect if You Do Go the Daycare Route
Know that any doggy daycare or animal boarding facility worth its salt will want to do a thorough vetting of your pet. So, look for them to do things like a meet-and-greet with you and your pet, want your pet to be up to date on their vaccines, want to see proof, and to be spayed or neutered. First, you may be asked to have your pet participate in a temperament test to see if they’re a good fit, how they get on with other pets, and if there are any personality quirks they need to be aware of.
But approach this like an interview or feeling-out process for both parties. You also want to find a facility where your pet will be comfortable.
If it’s a go, here’s what you’ll want to send your pup off with:
What can you expect from your pup’s first day of school—er, daycare? Well, he’ll probably be tired! Lots of play and running come with the territory of doggy daycare. He shouldn’t come home fearful or frightened. If he does, that’s a red flag—you may want to take a second look at the daycare or reevaluate whether your dog’s cut out for that much stimulation.
What to Look for in a Doggy Daycare
Find one that looks and smells clean. You may even ask how often the kennels are cleaned. Make sure the kennels are well-ventilated, kept at a comfortable temperature, and that light and fresh air can get in.
Will your dog get enough opportunity to play with staff and other dogs? On the other hand, if you’re boarding a feline friend, make sure they’re kept away from the dogs staying there and have enough room to keep their litter box and food and water separate.
Back to dogs—will everyone there play together, or are they split up by size and/or temperament? How do they manage fights and potentially aggressive dogs?
A fun perk is that some may have video/livestream options, for you to check in on your pup through the day. Some also use diary-style apps that track, through the day, what your dog’s been up to, whether/how much he’s eaten, any incidents, and what activities he’s been up to, and you can access the other end to keep up on things.
Doggy daycare can be an amazing option, if your precious pup is a good fit for it personality-wise. Another amazing option? Pet insurance! It’ll have you prepared and protected should your fur baby face medical expenses. If you’re looking for the best pet insurance for your family pet, be sure to explore our Bivvy pet insurance coverage. Best of luck on finding the perfect doggy daycare match for your pup!