You've made the decision to look into daycare for your dog. Maybe you work long hours, your dog is super active and/or young or you're going away and just want to ease the burden on whoever is looking after your dog.
The next question is how do I choose the right day care for my dog?!
1. Find a Doggy Day Care near you
Ask, ask, ask - referrals are a great way of knowing your dog will be in good hands.
Ask your friends, family, neighbors, the vet and the groomer. It is important to make sure that they've actually sent their dog to the day care or had some sort of dealings with the day care so the person mentioning them actually knows how the day care treat the dogs first hand.
If no one can recommend a day care to you, jump on Google to find your nearest day care.
2. Read Reviews & Testimonials
Look at their Google reviews and testimonials on their website. Be wary of testimonials that they've typed onto their website. Look for testimonials that are written by clients (copies of emails or messages).
If you get one or two bad reviews take it with a grain of salt. If you find nothing but negative feedback from everyone that's dealt with the day care then that's a red flag.
3. Behavioral Assessments & Trial Day
If they don't mention doing an assessment or trial day to assess your dog's behavior prior to enrollment - ask, how do they ensure the dogs they enroll are suitable for daycare and will get along with the rest of the dogs.
Behavioral assessments, also known as trial days are important to ensure that any new dog enrolled is friendly and compatible with the dogs that already attend the doggie day care.
4. Flea, Tick & Kennel/Canine Cough
Make sure the dog day care asks whether your dog has up to date flea and tick treatment, and their kennel/canine cough vaccination.
It is important that your dog is protected from all three! Your dog can pickup fleas and ticks from going on their daily walk with you however, kennel/canine cough is transmitted from dog to dog therefore in an environment where your dog will be playing with other dogs, it is important that your dog is vaccinated.
The doggy day care should request a copy of your dog's vaccination certificate, and those more professional establishments will maintain a register to ensure the dogs in their care are vaccinated at all times. How do you know if they do? Ask! Ask them how they make sure dogs that are in their care on a regular basis are always vaccinated. The health of your dog should be their top priority!
If they don't explain their safety measures to you or on their website, ask!
How will they transport your dog? (if they offer pickup/drop off)
What environment will your dog be in at day care?
How do they ensure all dogs are friendly (see Behavioral Assessments/Trial Day above)?
If outdoor, how does the doggie day care or dog walking company (if you're looking at getting a dog walker) locate your dog for you in emergencies?
Safety is important and a responsible, professional dog day care will have procedures in place for all situations to minimise risk.
6. Use a professional doggy day care business
This is the most important consideration when deciding how to choose the right dog day care for your dog.
The reason is simple! Professional doggie day care businesses have procedures in place for your dog's health and safety!
You may be thinking who else would I use? There are a lot of apps popping up which connect you with locals who charge a fee to take care of your dog.
Here are just some of the differences you may not have thought of:
Professional dog day care
Behavioral Assessments/Trial Days
Requirements for up to date flea and tick treatment
Requirements for up to date kennel/canine cough vaccination
Transportation vehicles comply with the NSW Animal Welfare Code of Practice No 1
Experience and knowledge of dog behavior (all breeds)
Multiple staff - aware of where your dog is for health and safety reasons
Secure environment where your dog will be kept
Monitor/supervise your dog the entire time your dog is in their care
Reputable - if they've been in business for years and have a large regular clientele that is a good sign
Don't carry out an assessment/trial day
Don't require up to date flea and tick treatment, and may not even be aware your dog should be protected
Don't require up to date kennel/canine cough vaccination, and may not even be aware your dog should be vaccinated, ask for a copy of your dog's vaccination certificate and if they do, not know what to look for on the certificate
Drive a normal vehicle with inappropriate dog restraints, particularly for transporting multiple dogs
Limited experience and knowledge of all breeds
No one else may know the individual is caring for your dog or if something happens to that person, no one else may think to check in on that individual for hours or days and this may put your dog at serious risk
Their home may not be fully secure or "tested" to secure your dog
They may not be available to monitor and supervise your dog the entire time your dog is in their care (may have another job or commitments during the day where your dog is left unattended)
Not police checked
Not reputable and no accountability
These are just a few tips to help you choose the right Dog Day Care for you and your dog!
You've made an excellent decision to enroll your dog into doggie day care. Socialising your dog and exercising them regularly is a huge benefit to their health, and happiness.
Now just to get them started!
All the best