School's back in session which means there are fewer people around the home to watch and walk the dog. Instead of leaving them alone and waiting for someone to come home, why not send them to doggie daycare? There's plenty to like about doggie daycare as your four-legged family members get plenty of socialization, exercise and mental stimulation while you’re working or at school. Some daycare facilities even offer grooming services which means your dog gets regular coat and nail care, so you don't have to do it yourself. However, before you take the plunge, here are some tips to help you find the right doggie daycare for your pet.
Research and Ask for References
Ask family, friends and coworkers if they've taken their dog to a daycare facility and if they'd recommend it. Once you have some references, check for online reviews to get further insight as to how the facility is run, what people think about the staff and what kind of care their dog received. It's easier to make a decision based on the experience of others you trust and what you find during your research.
Visit the Daycare and Take a Tour
Before you register your dog for daycare, take a tour of the facility. As you're walking around, take note of overall cleanliness, the staff and how they interact with the dogs, size of play areas, how dogs are handled when they need to be taken for a potty break and the overall atmosphere. A responsible doggie daycare operator usually has a clean facility, appropriate pen sizes, well-trained staff and a place for dogs to get rest and relief away from the play area. It's not always possible to be perfect when running an animal care facility, but you can tell how a facility is operated simply by observing these key factors.
Observe the Dogs in the Facility
Dogs are very expressive and have easy-to-read body language. If they don't like the facility or aren't being treated well, you can see it in their bodies. Watch the behavior of dogs coming and going from the facility and look for perky ears and tails. This type of body language demonstrates that the dogs are happy to be coming to the facility and are looking forward to their time there. If you’re seeing unhappy dogs, it's a clear sign that they don't want to be there.
If you're unsure about what you're seeing, watch how the dogs play with one another in the play areas. Unhappy dogs are less likely to engage with one another and more likely to show signs of aggression while happy dogs bound around and look for another dog to play with.
Make Sure the Daycare can Handle Your Dog
Dogs are social animals, but just like humans, there's always an individual that doesn't play well with others or doesn't know their own strength. Ask the facility operators if their staff has the necessary training to manage dogs that play too rough. The goal is to avoid an incident that can send your dog and others to the veterinarian for emergency care.
Doggie daycare is an excellent option for anyone who doesn't want to leave their dog alone for extended periods of time. Make sure the facility fits your and your dog’s needs before trying it so you can relax with the knowledge your dog is getting the best handling and care.