Doggie daycare is a necessity for many busy pet owners. Even a placid dog doesn’t do well if left alone all day five days every week, especially if the owner returns from work too tired for play and exercise. However, not all dog daycare facilities are created equal. Some are unsafe or no more stimulating than staying home alone. An owner seeking a dog daycare should insist on touring the facility and meeting several employees prior to leaving a dog there.
The most important feature of a dog daycare facility is safety. To determine whether or not the daycare you’re considering has adequate safety measures in place, try asking some or all of the following questions. If at any time you feel wary or uncomfortable with the employees’ answers, trust your instincts and look for another facility.
- Where do you keep your canine first aid kits, and what items do you have in them?
- What are your procedures in the event of a veterinary emergency?
- Are dogs ever left unsupervised?
- How do you ensure that dogs are compatible before putting them in the same play group?
- What do you do in the event of a dog fight?
- What are your procedures if a dog bites an employee or guest?
- How do you screen your employees?
- Does anyone on staff have veterinary experience?
Almost as important as safety is stimulation. You wouldn’t bother paying the money for dog daycare if you didn’t expect your dog to come home happy and worn out, right? Therefore, it’s important to make sure that activities scheduled at your dog’s new daycare facility will be both mentally and physically stimulating. Look for a facility that volunteers this information if at all possible, preferably with schedules of daily activities. If they don’t give you a run-down without being prompted, try these questions:
- Do you have a written schedule of activities for each play group?
- How many staff members are facilitating play between dogs at any given time?
- What’s the staff to dog ratio?
- Do you offer organized activities like swimming or training?
- When do the dogs have naptime and snacks if applicable?
- Where can a dog that is tired of playing go to cool out and relax while others continue to play?
- What items or objects do you offer to play groups to keep dogs mentally stimulated even during quiet times?
- Do any staff members have professional dog training experience?
- Do any staff members have experience in canine sports?
- Does the facility offer classes or other services?