Choosing A Doggie Daycare Near You

Does your dog's safety when you are at work worry you? Use these tips to find the right doggie daycare.

They say a dog is man's best friend. If that is true for you and your pooch, you probably want to protect him or her at all times. Your dog's happiness is most likely also a top priority for you. That is why you may feel horrible leaving your dog home alone each day when you go to work. If so, it is time to find an alternative.

One of the best solutions for keeping your dog safe and happy while you are working is to use the services of a doggie daycare. A doggie daycare is a home or facility that cares for dogs throughout the day, and sometimes overnight. A good doggie daycare provides several benefits, including allowing your dog to socialize with staff members and other dogs. Your dog can also exercise daily at a daycare, rather than spending long periods cooped up alone in your house. However, once you have decided to use the services of a doggie daycare you need to take the time to find one that is right for your pooch. Not all daycare facilities are the same. Here are some tips to help you choose a doggie daycare near you.

Investigate All Doggie Daycare Options

You may want to enroll your pet in the doggie daycare that is most geographically desirable, but the closest one to your home is not necessarily the best in your area. If you are willing to drive a small distance, your options may expand substantially. Check a website like to get a list of all daycare centers for pets within a certain distance from your home. Then prepare to visit those locations to see which one is the best fit for your dog. 

Also, there are different types of doggie daycare facilities of varying sizes. For example, you may want to enroll your dog in a rural facility with fewer other dogs and more outdoor space to play. Similarly, a small in-home doggie daycare service might be best for your bet, especially if he or she needs one-on-one attention. On the other hand, a commercial brick and mortar facility with a trusted reputation may provide the services you want. It might also give your dog more social interaction opportunities.

Visit the Doggie Daycare Unannounced

Visit each doggie daycare on your short list unannounced to get the best impression of day-to-day activities. Making an appointment ahead of time may cause staff members to put extra care into facility maintenance and dog interactions specifically for the interview. Catch the staff by surprise to  get a better sense of their personalities and how they treat the pets in their care. When visiting unannounced, pay attention to small details, such as whether clean water is readily available for the dogs.

Use Your Senses to Assess Each Doggie Daycare

When you visit a particular doggie daycare, your senses may tell you right away if it is a good fit for your dog. Sights, smells, sounds, and gut instincts must all play a role in your decision. Start with your sense of smell. Odors of feces or urine may indicate the daycare is not cleaned as often as it should be. Here are some other senses to use:

  • Sight – Make sure the facility looks clean and play areas have good fencing.

  • Hearing – If dogs are barking or whining excessively, their needs are probably not being met quickly enough.

  • Touch – Check the indoor portions of each facility for excessive dust or dirt. Also, make sure the temperature is comfortable for the dogs and the human staff members.

Check Enrollment Policies

A proper doggie daycare does not enroll dogs immediately. Make sure the daycare requires your dog to pass an assessment to enroll. That means other enrolled dogs have also passed similar assessments, which can give you peace of mind. Such tests are necessary to make sure your dog can get along with staff members and other dogs. Certain doggie daycare centers may also care for other pets, such as cats. Therefore, your dog may also need to get along well with animals in general. Additionally, a trustworthy, well-run doggie daycare may require your dog to be spayed or neutered to enroll and always requires proof of up-to-date vaccinations. 

Check Custom Care Options

Some doggie daycare centers have large open areas where the dogs play and rest freely all day as they wish. However, many facilities also have custom care options. For example, you may have the option of having your dog take obedience class during daycare hours. The center may also provide special play areas for dogs of different sizes or ages. Ask about any special features offered and additional costs associated with those features before selecting a permanent doggie daycare for your pet.

Ability to Monitor Progress

Custom care may also extend to monitoring your dog's daily progress. For example, a facility may offer a daily verbal or written explanation of how your dog did during the day. You can also look for a facility willing to provide you with access to a live video feed so you can check your dog while at work. A perk like that is excellent because the word of staff members is not always as accurate as recorded video. 

Consider Doggie Daycare Costs

The cost of enrolling your dog in daycare is an important consideration. It might help you decide between two otherwise equal facilities. However, the cheapest choice is not always the best when it comes to getting the proper care for your pet. Doggie daycare costs are influenced by many factors, including:

  • General Location – Urban facilities often charge more than rural facilities, though there are exceptions.

  • Facility Size and Amenities – Facilities offering more services often charge higher amounts.

  • Single Provider Versus Company – A person providing in-home doggie daycare often charges less than a facility.

A full day of doggie daycare may cost you as little as $15 or more than $40, depending on the facility you choose and the programs or amenities you select. However, discounts are often available. Some types of discounts for which you may qualify include:

  • Half Day Enrollment Rate

  • Discounts for Enrolling Multiple Dogs at Once

  • Upfront Multiple Day or Multiple Week Payment Discount

Weigh the Pluses and Minuses Carefully

Ultimately, you may not find a doggie daycare that gets top marks in all of the above categories. You may need to weigh the pluses and minuses of each one on your short list carefully to come up with a final choice. That is why the final factor in choosing a doggie daycare is gut instinct. Make sure you feel comfortable leaving your dog in the facility you select. Even if it looks perfect, listen to your instincts. Never leave your dog at a facility you do not trust.