You’re a dog person. You love dogs, and you know they make the best of friends and household companions. Like most dog owners you may feel guilty when your busy schedule takes over and doesn’t leave much time to spend with your pup. You know they need mental stimulation, socialization with other dogs, and lots of exercise and it’s often difficult to provide that for them.
That’s where doggy daycare comes in.
What is Doggy Daycare?
Dog, or doggy, daycare, is a service where the daycare provider cares for dogs during the day. Most commonly, daycare services occur during the hours most people are working; Monday – Friday “9-to-5”. Daycare is an opportunity for your dog to run and play with both humans (think: fetch) and/or other dogs in a safe and stimulating environment.
Dog daycare differs from overnight and multi-day boarding, like the services a kennel provides. It also differs from pet sitting, where the sitter comes to the pet’s home, and walking, where a dog walker comes and takes them for a quick walk.
What Type of Daycare is Best for My Dog?
Choosing the right daycare for your dog isn’t a decision to take lightly. You want your dog to be in a safe, caring, and enjoyable environment, and that means doing your research before you choose a service provider.
Most dogs, but not all, thrive when given attention, a routine, exercise, and time to play with other dogs. Not all daycares are structured to provide the ideal environment for your dog’s individual needs. Every daycare is a little different and every dog is unique – so how do you find the right match? There are lots of criteria to consider for your individual situation.
This article will cover everything you need to know when considering dog daycare, so you can make the right choice for you and your dog.
Benefits of Daycare for Your Dog
One of the most important parts of being a responsible dog owner is making sure their needs are regularly fulfilled even if you don’t have the time or ability to do so yourself. Daycare can fill in the gaps for households where all humans are busy working or going to school during the day. It’s also helpful for people who don’t have a yard or park nearby for them to run around in. Additionally, you may only have one dog and no access to other dogs for yours to play with and have regular socialization. Here is a list of the many benefits of enrolling in a daycare program:
Your Dog Will Get Exercise
If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, it may become anxious and destructive. Dog daycare should provide an environment for them to get the exercise they need to stay healthy and happy. How much exercise does your dog need per day?
Your Dog Will Be Well Socialized
Dog daycare offers an excellent opportunity for your dog to play with other dogs and develop favorable social skills. This is a very important step to ensure your dog is comfortable around other dogs and won’t act aggressively when around them in public.
Your Dog Will Be Less Stressed & Anxious
Dogs who are left alone for long periods can become bored, stressed, and anxious, which can lead to health and behavior problems. Daycare provides them with the mental stimulation that helps them feel fulfilled and happy.
Your Dog Will Form a Bond With the Daycare Staff
Having interaction with other humans is especially important. It allows them to develop friendships and helps them to be more confident and comfortable around other people.
BONUS: Reinforces Good Behavior
Some daycares will use basic dog-training techniques to teach good behavior. This training will carry over to their home life and help reinforce the training that you work on at home.
Different Types of Daycares: Which is Best for Your Dog?
There are different types of dog daycares, so it’s important to choose the one that’s best for your dog. The type of daycare you choose should depend on your dog’s needs and personality.
1. Outdoor Dog Park
An outdoor dog park is a fenced-in area where dogs have room to run, play, and socialize. This type of daycare is great for active dogs who need to burn off some energy, which is true for dogs of most ages and breeds.
- Pro: Dogs love to be outside, sniffing and exploring.
- Pro: Your dog will get plenty of exercise, running around in wide-open spaces.
- Con: Weather can be a factor. Ask these outdoor daycare’s how they handle inclimate weather.
- Con: Playing around outside can lead to your dog coming home a little bit dirty (or a lot). It’s part of being a dog.
2. Indoor Facility
Indoor-only facilities are a common daycare option. They are often in industrial-style buildings and can often also function as a kennel.
- Pro: The environment can be better controlled in terms of temperature and weather.
- Pro: Indoor facilities have easier access to electricity to have live webcams set up.
- Con: Indoor daycares can be noisy and crowded.
- Con: Dogs may not get as much exercise as they would at an outdoor daycare with less room to run.
- Con: The floor surface may not be as dog-friendly for running and playing as outdoors.
- Con: Dogs need to go potty and often in a social daycare environment and may not wait to be brought outside. Be sure the indoor daycare service keeps a clean space.
3. At Home
At-home daycare is when a daycare provider brings your dog to their private place of residence.
- Pro: Your dog will receive more one-on-one attention.
- Pro: The environment is usually calm and quiet.
- Con: At-home providers often can’t have as many dogs at their home for socialization and play.
- Con: Private residences rarely have the space for running and exercise as other types of daycare.
- Con: The City of Newton does not allow dog daycare businesses to operate in private residences, so be sure to understand the legality of this type of daycare.
4. Dog Walking
Dog walking is when the service provider takes your dog for a walk, typically around where you live. This can be a good option if you just need someone to take your dog out to relieve themselves.
- Pro: A good option for dogs who aren’t well socialized.
- Pro: It is typically cheaper than daycare.
- Con: Your dog won’t have as much of an opportunity to socialize with other dogs.
- Con: Walks don’t typically include off-leash time, which is how dogs get most of their exercise.
- Con: Walks are often much shorter than a daycare service.
What to Look for in a Dog Daycare?
When you’re looking for dog daycare, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Transparency: You should be able to see where your dog will be going for daycare and meet the people who will be taking care of them. The daycare should have a clean, safe environment for your dog to enjoy.
- Strong communication: The daycare provider should be able to answer any questions you have about their business. They should also keep you updated on how your dog is doing while in their care.
- Licensed and insured: The daycare provider should be licensed and insured. This will protect you in case something happens to your dog while they are in care.
- Pick-up & drop-off services: It’s very convenient when daycares offer pick-up and drop-off services. This will save you time and hassle.
- Plenty of room for dogs to run and play: Dogs need room to run and play, so make sure the daycare has plenty of space for exercise. There should also be a variety of activities to keep your dog entertained.
- Kind and nurturing staff: The staff should be kind and loving towards all of the dogs in their care, and should form a friendship with them. They should also have a good amount of experience working with dogs and dealing with different personalities and situations.
- High ratio of staff to dogs: A good dog daycare will have a high ratio of staff to dogs. This ensures that each dog will get the attention they need and won’t be left in unsafe situations. A common ratio we’ve seen online is one staff member per fifteen dogs. We think that is too many dogs per person and advocate for more staff per dog than 1:15.
- Staff uses proper methods to correct behavior: The staff at a good dog daycare will use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior and redirect or discourage bad behavior without punishment.
- Staff is attentive and engages the dogs with activities: A good dog daycare will have attentive staff that engages the dogs in activities throughout the day. This helps to challenge the dogs and stimulate them mentally.
- Safe and clean environment: Choose a facility that is clean and free of debris. The staff should also be trained in proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures.
- Admission process: A good daycare will require all dogs to undergo a temperament evaluation before being accepted for daycare. It should have a meet and greet to ensure all dogs are safe and non-aggressive.
- Welcomes your dog into the pack: You want to make sure that the daycare you’ve chosen recognizes your dog as an individual and not just another number. A good way to gauge this is to see how the staff interacts with your dog when you first drop them off – do they take the time to get to welcome them and make them feel comfortable?
- The dog is excited to go back: This is the best way to know that your dog enjoys going to daycare. Do they know when it’s time to be picked-up-for or dropped-off-at daycare and look forward to it? That’s a great sign that your dog loves daycare.
Here are six more things to consider before choosing a daycare provider:
See the Daycare in Person
If possible, tour the facility before you leave your dog there. This will give you a good idea of what the environment is like and whether it is a good fit for your dog.
Cost of a Daycare Service
The cost of a daycare service can vary depending on the length of time your dog will be staying, the number of days per week they attend, and the services included – like pick-up and drop-off.
Find out what the daycare’s emergency and safety protocols are. This is important in case your dog gets hurt or becomes ill while at daycare.
Be sure to ask if the daycare requires all dogs to be spayed or neutered. This is important for the safety of all the dogs in the daycare. To avoid aggression issues, most daycares require dogs to be spayed or neutered by 1 year of age or soon after.
The daycare should require all dogs to be up-to-date on their vaccinations. This is for the safety of all the dogs in the daycare. The standard requirement is that all dogs must be current on Rabies, Distemper, Parvo, Bordetella, and other standard vaccinations.
Ask for a Referral for a Client
A good daycare will be able to provide you with a referral for a client who has used their services. This is a great way to get an unbiased opinion of the daycare.
Choosing the right dog daycare can be a daunting task. But, with a little bit of research, you can find the perfect fit for your dog. Make sure you look at the different options and consider the pros and cons to decide what’s best for you and your dog. Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor daycare, there’s are lots of local businesses or individuals out there who can meet your needs.
Dog Daycare in Newton, MA
Modern Mutts provides daycare and boarding services with at-home pick-up and drop-off included in the price for Newton residents. See our complete list of daycare providers in Newton, MA to explore the other business that are located in town or provide pick-up and drop-off services to residents in Newton, MA.