What to Look for in a Dog Daycare
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What to Look for in a Dog Daycare

Your dog is part of your family, and you want to make sure he's well cared for. Unfortunately, with today's hustle and bustle, many people's jobs require that they spend long hours away from home, therefore, leaving Fido alone for many hours during the workweek. Daycare can provide a much needed physical outlet for high energy, dog-friendly canines who enjoy social interaction.

So, what is dog daycare? Dog daycare is exactly what it sounds like! It is a place where your dog can spend the day getting much needed exercise and socializing with both humans and other dogs. It is an excellent alternative to leaving your dog home alone all day.

However, not all dog daycares are the same, so before you send your dog off, do your homework! Plan a visit and make sure you are comfortable with where your dog will be spending his days. Here's what to look for:

Cleanliness, Organization and Space

When you walk into the daycare area, observe whether or not it is clean. The area should smell fresh and should look tidy. There should not be clutter lying around or visible dirt on surfaces. An "off" smell can be a sign that deep cleaning is lacking. You want to make sure that anywhere your dog is staying is clean.

Dogs should have access to plenty of fresh, clean water at all times, both indoors and out. It's also important that any outdoor areas have shaded spots where dogs can rest out of the sun.

Take your dog's personality into consideration, as well. If you have a dog who loves to run, then a place where he will have space to do this is best. A quiet or older dog who prefers to hang out with one or two other dogs will prefer a lower-key area without as much activity. Some daycares can handle all types of dogs by offering multiple play spaces, but some are best suited for certain temperament types.

Vaccinations and Safety Measures

All dogs should be required to show proof of vaccinations before being allowed to participate in dog daycare. Standard vaccinations include; rabies, distemper, and bordetella. However, the facility you are considering should also require the canine influenza vaccination as well due to the fact that many cities have been ravaged with canine flu. The facility should have access to a veterinarian, not necessarily on site, but in case of an emergency, there should be a way of transporting your dog to the vet (and not in an employee's vehicle).

How safe will your dog be there? Check the doors, gates and latches. Everything should be in working order to ensure that your dog won't be able to escape into a busy street. Ideally, there should be at least two doors between the main pet area and the front street. All outdoor areas must have sturdy fences that are at least six feet high, to prevent jumping. When you visit, ensure that the staff is in the "habit" of latching gates and closing all doors behind them. No gate or kennel doors should be left open. Accidents (escapes) happen quickly.

Any areas where multiple dogs are playing together should be under supervision at all times. It may be necessary from time to time for play attendants to stop a potential fight between two dogs. They should be trained on how to do so safely, and the equipment necessary to break up fights between dogs should be available to them at all times and in all play areas.

Knowledgeable and Experienced Staff

The people working with your dog should be comfortable with all types of dogs! Visiting the daycare to observe them will give you a good idea of whether or not you want the staff handling your dog. Play Attendants should be focused on the animals and able to read the dogs' signals.

Do the dogs seem happy and eager to see the Play Attendants? Would you be required to complete a Group Play Application before your dog's first day so the staff could get to know your dog before he joins the pack? Does your dog have an opportunity to do a free evaluation day before starting? Does the facility offer a continuing education program for their staff to further their knowledge of dog behavior?

Other Services

Does the dog daycare offer other services for your dog? At Taming the Wild, we offer training services for our daycare clients such as Day Training and basic grooming services such as baths and nail trims.

Once you've chosen your dog daycare, note how your dog behaves at home. If you start to observe any negative behaviors, address it with the daycare immediately. In a good daycare, your dog will come home tired, but always ready to go back the next time.

We encourage you to stop by our facility and see if you think your dog would be a good fit for our pack! At Taming the Wild, you never have to make an appointment to come by for a tour. We are always ready to welcome you!

Posted by Bryan Bailey at 12:14 PM

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