In one of my previous articles, I discussed how you can find the best dog daycare for your dog. However, there is one question that has been known to plague many dog guardians. This question is, “is dog daycare a good option?”. If you are a dog parent looking for the answer to this question, you have come to the right place. Keep on reading to find out if dog daycare is a good option for your dog or not.
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The prime reason why dog parents prefer to send their dogs to daycare is so that the dogs receive the right level of mental stimulation and physical exercise. Furthermore, for those people who have to work long hours every day, doggy daycare can ease the worry of how their dog is doing when they are at work.
No one wants to have their dog stuck in the crate for the entire day while they go to work. This way, the dog will not have any freedom to walk around, and there will be no mental stimulation or exercise. Therefore, a dog daycare may sound like an amazing option. Most dog parents prefer the idea of their dogs having an amazing day at the daycare with all the dog activities, snacks, and games. However, doggy daycare is not necessarily meant for all dogs. You need to first understand if your dog is the right dog for doggy daycare.
What you may think to be an amazing experience may turn out to be a nightmare for your pup. Your pup may come out of the dog daycare feeling scared, high on anxiety, and stressed out. Furthermore, you also must figure out if the daycare you have selected for your dog is right for your dog or not.
What are the advantages of sending your dog to the doggy daycare?
Doggy daycare is an amazing place where your dog will care for the entire day while you are otherwise occupied. Good doggy daycares provide companionship, supervised playtime, snacks, and compulsory nap time so that your dog gets the rest that they need before they start to play again.
Most doggie daycares have the following features:
- They provide a physical activity that is based on the needs and requirements of the dog and its breeds.
- Most often, the dogs are grouped either on the basis of their size or temperaments. This prevents unwanted aggression and fights amongst the dogs.
- An amazing option for dogs who suffer from separation anxiety.
- The right levels of physical activity
- Constant supervision by a responsible staff member.
- A compulsory naptime that allows your dog to rejuvenate the energy lost by constantly engaging in physical activities.
- Medications and meals are available as per the request of the dog’s parent.
- Physical activities that are based on the needs and requirements of every dog.
- Some doggy daycares also offer additional benefits to the dog parents like grooming the dog.
- Other benefits that a good doggy daycare can provide are dog training and curbing negative behaviors.
- Some doggy daycares also have boarding facilities.
When is opting for a dog daycare the beneficial option?
There are a variety of conditions when opting for a daycare may be an excellent option for your dog. A few of these conditions might be:
You work all-day
If you have to work all day, it is obvious that maintaining the walk and poo time will be difficult for you to manage with your strict schedule. Under such circumstances, opting for a dog daycare is an excellent option. You can work peacefully knowing that the well-being of your dog is in extremely capable hands.
Your dog suffers from separation anxiety
When the COVD pandemic hit, all dog parents started to stay at home or work from home and spend time at home with their dogs. This made the dogs very happy. However, when the dog’s parents had to go back to work, the transition turned out to be the hardest on the poor dogs. They were the ones who were left alone at home for most of the day.
Under such conditions, many dogs developed separation anxiety. Separation anxiety in dogs is defined as a condition when your dog starts to display unwanted behavior in the absence of the dog’s parent
Signs of separation anxiety
- Excessive chewing behavior causes the destruction of furniture.
- Excessive barking
- Constant howling
- Urine marking
- Defecation in the house
- Chewing up fences, windows, door frames, etc in an attempt to escape.
If your dog is displaying such behavior, they are suffering from separation anxiety. The primary way to deal with separation anxiety is to not allow your dog to be alone. If you are someone who works long hours in the office, dog daycare can provide company when you are at work. In a doggy daycare, your dog will engage with other dogs, stay busy, and learn new tricks and commands in the process. However, to get your dog used to the dog daycare environment, you may have to conduct a few trials to allow for an easy transition.
You are unable to provide an ample level of exercise to your dog
Being a dog parent does not mean that we get to spend the entire day with our dogs. We have to earn so that we can provide the best possible care to our pups. Unfortunately, the work hours nowadays are very long. By the time you reach home, you are tired to the bone. However, your dog, who was alone at home the entire day is a bundle of energy and wants you to play with him.
Not providing the dog with the needed physical exercise would be unfair to him. Excessive pent-up energy also causes aggression and destructive behavior. Thus, this would be another scenario where a dog daycare can be of huge help to you. While on your way to your workplace, you can drop off your dog at the daycare and pick him up on your way home.
You will not have to feel guilty about not providing enough mental and physical stimulation to your dog. These activities will get covered at the daycare. You can look at daycare as a doggy school. Being in doggy daycare will also help your dog learn socialization and how to deal with other dogs. Thus, it is a win-win situation for both you and your dog.
You do not have time to engage your dog in physical activity
Even if you are someone who has a job that involves working from home, it does not necessarily guarantee that you will have time to provide enough hours of exercise to your pup. If you have a dog that belongs to one of the high energy breeds like Siberian Husky, Alaskan malamute, German shepherd, pit bulls, etc. who require at least two hours of exercise on a daily basis, a dog daycare may be a good option for you. Your dog will get the necessary levels of physical and mental stimulation at the doggy daycare while you can work peacefully from home without feeling guilty that you are not able to provide your dog with the level of exercise that he needs.
Your dog needs socialization
if you have a mildly shy dog, dog daycare can be an amazing option for your pup. Since they are many dogs at the daycare, your dog will learn:
- How to socialize with other dogs
- How to greet new dogs
- How to be friendly
- Finally, how to play well with other pups.
One crucial point to remember here is that you must let the daycare staff know that your dog is shy and has not been socialized much. They will keep it in mind when they introduce your dog to other dogs. They will also conduct the introduction process in a gradual manner allowing your dog to feel comfortable every step of the way. You will be dropping off a shy dog at the daycare but within a few days, you will get back a dog who is much more open and loves to meet other dogs.
Your dog gets bored at home
You provide your dog with two hours of exercise on a daily basis and enough mental stimulation activity. However, you feel that your dog is still getting bored and would probably do well in the company of other dogs. Under such conditions, you can either get another dog to ease the boredom of your dog or you can enroll your dog in a doggy daycare. With the doggy daycare, you will never have to worry about your dog getting bored when in the dog daycare.
You have to get out of town for a few days
Most of the doggie daycares also have a day boarding facility. In case you suddenly have to go out of town for a few days to run a personal errand or on official work, you can leave your dog in the daycare. Since your dog goes to the daycare every day, he would be comfortable with the environment. Thus, staying in the daycare for a few days will not be a traumatic experience for your dog.
When is a doggy daycare not a good option?
A dog or puppy daycare is not always the answer to all your problems. There may be certain situations when a dog may not be suitable for the daycare environment or vice-versa. The following are conditions when your dog should not go to the doggy daycare:
Your dog is not properly vaccinated
Sending your dog off to the dog daycare is not an option for you if your dog has not been fully immunized against all kinds of canine viral and bacterial infections. This is especially important for young puppies. If you have a puppy, who is still awaiting vaccinations, do not send your puppy to the puppy daycare.
The daycare staff will also ask you for the proper documents indicating that your dog has been vaccinated before they allow your dog to attend the dog daycare. Therefore, make sure that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date before you even consider sending your dog to dog daycare.
Your dog is sick
Do you like to go to the office when you are sick? Do you prefer sending your kids to school when they are sick? If your answer is no, then it is a no-brainer that you should not send your pup to puppy daycare if the puppy is sick. If you allow your puppy to end attend puppy daycare even when sick, chances are that the rigorous playing and physical activities would worsen the health issue of your pup.
Furthermore, if your pup is suffering from infectious diseases like kennel cough, the other dogs at the daycare may also acquire it. Thus, it is a wise decision to allow your puppy to stay at home rest, and heal before they go back to the puppy daycare.
Your dog feels anxious in presence of other dogs
If your dog is slightly shy but loves new doggy friends, then sending your dog to a dog daycare is a good option. However, if the presence of other dogs makes your dog feel anxious and scared, your dog is not meant for a dog daycare. Under such conditions, if you send your puppy to the puppy daycare or your older dog to the dog daycare, chances are that the experience will be very stressful and mentally exhausting for your dog. Thus, it is advisable that you do not send your dog to a dog daycare if they face such difficulties.
Your dog is aggressive
This point is again a no-brainer. You would not want to put the lives of other dogs at risk at the daycare. Therefore, if your dog has aggressive tendencies, you should consult a dog behaviorist or get a dog trainer, to work on the problem and when your dog behaves better, you can consider sending the pup to the dog daycare. However, if you knowingly send an aggressive dog to the daycare, you’re not only endangering the lives of other dogs but also that of the staff members.
Your dog has resource guarding tendencies
Resource guarding means that the dog tends to protect what he thinks is his. Resource guarding can be done in form of being possessive over toys, food, etc. If your dog displays resource guarding behavior over toys or meals, he may carry over this behavior while at dog daycare as well.
He may find a toy that he likes and start to guard it against every other dog. He may decide to show resource guarding behavior even during mealtimes. This can lead to a potentially dangerous situation for both the dogs and the staff members. Hence under such conditions, you should not send your dog to the daycare. As I mentioned before, work with a dog behaviorist or dog trainer and solve the kinks in the behavioral issues. Once your dog starts to behave better, you can send them to daycare.
Your dog is happy at home
Some dogs are very laid back and do not require a ton of mental stimulation. If you notice that your dog is doing well at home and is not showing signs of boredom, like begging you to play every five minutes, destroying furniture because of boredom, barking, or howling excessively, your dog may not require the mental stimulation of doggy daycare. If your dog is happy at home, let him be.
I have never had to send Delta to a dog daycare. He prefers to be alone and not with other dogs. He is happy as long as he can see me. Since I am a blogger and YouTuber, my work involves long hours but can be done from the comfort of my home. Thus, Delta prefers to lounge on his cushy bed next to my table while I work.
Use the above-mentioned points to identify if your dog is suitable for dog daycare or not. If the option of dog daycare is not for you, you can explore other alternative options like getting a pet sitter, dog walker etc. This way, your dog will get the necessary exercise and physical stimulation that he needs without going to the dog daycare center.
However, if you do decide to go for dog daycare, make sure to go for one that has the following:
- Boarding facilities
- Adequate staff to dog ratio
- Medical facilities
- Emergency vet services
- Use dog-safe materials for cleaning etc
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Does your dog go to the doggy daycare? How did you find the best doggy daycare for your pup? What do you think are the most important characteristics of daycare that a dog parent should check for? Please share your experiences and opinions in the comment section below. If you have any queries pertaining to this blog post or any other on The Happy Puppers blog, please feel free to reach out to me on either of my social media channels or via email. You can also use the contact form to get in touch. I will be happy to help.
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