You’ve decided to send your pet to day care, you’ve spoken to relatives and buddies, you’ve shopped around, and now it’s time to produce a decision. What next?
Here’s our definitive guide to the most notable four facts to consider whenever choosing doggy day care.
1) Take a look
Think about doggy day care as a children’s nursery. You wouldn’t imagine sending a kid along without visiting first.
So plan a visit, and not merely to reception, to see wherever your pet will spend their day, who they’ll be with, and what they’ll be doing.
Timing is key. Be sure you go along when it’s at its busiest & most productive so you’re seeing it at full throttle. The middle of your day – 11am to 1pm – is the often best. Don’t hesitate to carefully turn up unannounced, so again you’re seeing the true action. If you ask to start to see the dogs and there’s a delay, be skeptical!
Healthy Hound Playground is Northern Virginia’s Premier Dog Day Care, Boarding Kennel & Grooming Salon & Spa dedicated to providing your four-legged family member with an exceptional, safe and fun home away from home with regular outdoor potty breaks.
Here’s a checklist:
Will be the dogs friendly and social and happy together?
Could it be calm and quiet or noisy and chaotic?
Would you enjoy a your pet mixing with all sorts of breed there?
Do the staff look like they love the dogs and their jobs and are they actively engaging with the dogs?
What is the indoor and rest space like?
Is there enough open space for the dogs to disseminate or are they cramped? Way too many dogs in close confines leads to scuffles and boisterous dogs, which is able to overwhelm quieter or older dogs and puppies.
Just how many dogs do they have together in a single space?
2) Ask questions
While you may well be met by a far more senior member of staff, it’s important to also chat and ask questions of your dog carers themselves as they will have direct day-to-day connection with the dogs.
And don’t hesitate to pose difficult questions:
What’s the staff-to-dog ratio? As a guide, Bruce’s Doggy Day Care operates on a ratio of one dog carer to twleve dogs (at a complete maximum).
How often do dogs get injured and what goes on?
Have they expelled dogs and exactly how often does this happen?
Are there certain breeds they don’t accept?
Do they throw balls/have toys/etc? While this sounds fun, in an organization dynamic many normally placid dogs become competitive and may nip.
Are the dogs transported and if so for just how long versus time spent in the fields?
Do they take un-neutered (entire) males that are over 12 months old? The answer should be no. This is usually the case for experienced day care centres, however, not so for inexperienced or new operators who need to fill spaces. In an organization dynamic, testosterone is wii thing!
Will my small dog/puppy be bullied by bigger dogs? When there is enough space in support of friendly social dogs are accepted this isn’t an issue. Some day care centres divide dogs by size, but this seems rather unfair as small dogs can form natural bonds with larger dogs. For example, at Bruce’s Doggy Day Care we’ve a border terrier whose best friends with a labrador and retriever!
3) Be prepared to commit
Just like children’s nurseries and schools, you must anticipate to commit with regard to the child.
Many doggy day care centres offer an completely random booking system labelled as offering total overall flexibility for the client. But be warned. Flexible booking and fees available to frequent change equals clients and dogs that dip in and out of day care. This isn’t best for the dogs as their group dynamic thrives on familiar friends.
Here at Bruce’s Doggy Day Care, we ask that all client sends their dog to us for at least 1 day per week. This implies regular customers bring regular dogs resulting in a happy and established dog group dynamic. When people see our dynamic and exactly how well the dogs interact, they realise that investing in at least one session per week makes absolute sense.
4) Understand the effect of grab and drop off times
Most doggy day care centres collect and fall off your pet; it’s all part of the service. But just how long does your pet spend travelling? Longer opening hours doesn’t indicate more playtime.
If your pet is collected and returned during peak times – say 9am and 5pm – it will likely be in heavy traffic for considerably longer than at off-peak times.
Therefore, consider earlier starts. We accumulate at 7 – 8:30am and return between 3:30 – 4:30pm. So a 10 minute journey takes ten minutes not 20 or 30 or more…
And make sure they use dog-friendly air-conditioned vehicles with vet-approved crates. You might not exactly like the thought of your pet being in a crate, but safety in confined numbers is paramount. The dogs shouldn’t be altogether in one space – for example a Golden Retriever in the same space as a Chiuaua isn’t a good idea of evident reasons! The crates also mean the driver can open each crate individually when the relevant dog is safely home, rather than opening one door with the chance of all the dogs escaping.
Overall, choosing your preferred doggy day care provider should be fun and rewarding, for both you as well as your dog. They’ll certainly thank you for it!