There is a growing number of doggy daycares across North America but they are not all created equal. How can you tell the difference between a quality facility and one that is just out to make money?
Do they require proof of vaccination or health certificate? Do they do an assessment to determine the “personality” of your dog?
Ensuring that every dog that enters the facility is healthy is just as important as determining whether a dog has a nervous, boisterous, or calm temperament. A good doggy daycare will place the appropriate types of dogs together rather than having one large group. There should also be a policy in place so dogs with aggression issues aren’t allowed to attend the daycare.
What is the Adult to Dog Ratio?
Just like in human daycare centers, participant to adult ratio is important to ensure proper supervision. High ratios mean that your dog isn’t receiving the attention he/she deserves and at worst, it could lead to dog fights. It is often recommended that the ratio should be no higher than 10:1.
What type of training has the staff completed?
A good center employs staff that is trained in both animal first aid (accidents happen) and dog behavior. Staff should be able to recognize play vs signs that trouble is brewing. Learning how the staff handles inappropriate behavior between dogs is also an indication of the type of training philosophy, they use at this particular daycare.
What is the facility like?
A good center should have a special ventilation system (e.g HVAC) to keep a constant flow of fresh air inside the facility. There should also be quiet areas for the dogs to relax, as well as fully a fenced yard, to minimize the chances of a dog escaping the facility. The floor should be appropriate for dogs (not concrete) and be a non-slip surface. Some daycares even offer webcams, allowing you to watch your pet throughout the day.
What is the daily routine like?
Many lower quality daycares are simply large rooms that the dogs run around in. Having a play and rest cycle can help your dog have fun, without being overstimulated.
Although not all dogs will benefit from doggy daycare, many find it a fun and stimulating experience. By asking yourself these questions, you can feel better knowing that you have a daycare, that will keep your dog healthy and happy and safe.