As a pet parent, I’ve always dreaded having to leave my pup in a dog daycare. Two weeks ago, that moment came, and I must say I was terrified! I didn’t know how to choose the right place; what things should I take into account, and what questions was I supposed to ask!?
Whether you are flying abroad, going to a non-pet-friendly place, or simply not able to take your pet with you, leaving your pup at daycare might be necessary. To make this experience less painful (and in order to spare you the headache of not knowing where to start), we’ve gathered all the tips and developed a dog daycare checklist, so that you don’t miss any details.
Choosing your dog daycare is a very important step in your journey as a pet parent. There are several things to assess before making the final call, so we’ve developed a 5-step guide to help you make an informed decision.
Check the reviews. Online reviews are the 2.0 version of a friend’s recommendation. Not all the reviews will be accurate and 100% reliable because experiences are subjective, but they will provide you with a brief snapshot of what you are dealing with. Besides, reading reviews will help you know how long the daycare has been running, or if they’ve had any specific problems.
Tour the facilities in person. Naturally, visiting the place takes more time than just seeing the pictures online, but I assure you it is worth it. Not only would you get to meet the people who will be in charge of your dog, but you will also be able to check if the place is clean, if it has security fences, appropriate ventilation, etc. If possible, take your dog with you for a day tour, so he can start getting acquainted with the place.
Cover all the possible scenarios. Don’t be afraid to ask: you are about to leave your best friend in a new place, it is beyond logical to have doubts and concerns, so you have every right to ask. Ask what’s the feeding protocol, if dogs follow a schedule, if they use leashes at any time, what they would do if a dog gets in a fight, etc. Anything that crosses your mind is worth being asked.
Ask whether your pup would be with other dogs or by himself. Dog daycares have different approaches. While some of them might have a designated area for each dog, others might have joint spaces for all of them. We can’t tell what is best for your pup as it will depend on your dog’s personality, character, health condition, etc...
- Ask about staff training. Don’t be shy to ask what’s the staff training, what are the studies that make them fit for this job, and how long they have been working in the field. Another important thing to ask about is the ratio between the staff and the dogs. Usually, one person shouldn’t take care of more than 5 dogs at once, especially if they are all together.
To conclude, ask if they have an emergency plan in case one of the dogs gets sick or hurt. Accidents can happen, even to the best of us, and it is essential to be prepared. Just as you have health insurance, the dog daycare of your choice should have an emergency plan to assist a dog in the worst-case scenario.
Important: Updated vaccination certificate
Almost every dog daycare will ask for the vaccination certificate of your dog, so make sure you have all the vaccines up to date. Don’t forget that some vaccines such as rabies and non-core vaccines (Leptospirosis, Lyme, Canine influenza, and Bordetella) are required annually.