Does your work require that your dog be home alone during the day? Dogs are social animals, and most don’t like the isolation of long days alone. Fortunately, doggie day care has become available in most places around the country.
The company of humans and other dogs has many benefits.
- Exercise – walking, playing is both fun and healthy for your pet.
- Interactions – the stimulation of interacting with humans and other dogs is a boost to the spirit
- Bathroom – regular bathroom breaks are certainly welcome and relieve a long day
- Novel environment – a change of scenery is welcome
Choosing the best day care option for your pet requires some homework. Make sure that your pet (and you) have the best possible experience. First, make a list of day care centers that are near you, offer the services and schedule you need, and are priced reasonably. Then, do your homework about each program to ensure a good fit.
- Review each program online – Read reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, feedback on social media and any local review sites.
- View the site’s online description – Do they offer the services you want for your dog? Group play? Grooming? Boarding?
- Make an unannounced visit to the site. Does it offer a safe environment? Are there adequate staff? Do the staff appear interested and engaged? Are the dogs active? Are there activities for the dogs? Does the facility appear clean and sanitary?
- Ask questions – What is the facility’s emergency policy? Do they require vaccinations? Do they offer boarding services? Do they require a temperament test? What are costs? What do fees include? What is the daily routine? Do they offer scheduled activities?
- Try it out –Your pet will let you know what kind of a experience they’ve had. Send something that smells like home for a first visit. A bit of homesickness is common for the first few days.
- Send a pet stroller if your dog is elderly or disabled. This can provide a place of rest and quiet for your dog while still allowing them to be in the company of others.
Some dogs do not do well in the group settings of commercial day care centers. There is a large network of individual doggie day care providers who offer a range of services from visiting your pet at your home, walking your dog, spending the day, having them in their home individually or with other “guests.” There is a national searchable directory of providers at https://www.rover.com/doggy-day-care/ which provides a list of individual providers near you with details on the services they offer, references, and costs. As with commercial providers, you should check references, and observe the provider with your pet.
The hours that you and your pet spend apart can be positive ones. Give your dog the gift of good days!