A few weeks ago, I admitted that Mike and I pay for Motley to attend doggy daycare. For those who have never heard of daycare for dogs, you may be raising your eyebrows or you may be interested in enrolling your own dog in daycare.
If you are intrigued by the idea of doggy daycare, but have no idea where to begin, I have some tips for you. Below are some things you should consider when choosing a daycare for your furry friend.
Where is it located?
One of the biggest factors in choosing a daycare is its proximity to you and your job. If you live in a dog-friendly city like Denver, there are many daycare options. I chose a daycare that was near the air force base so I could easily drop Motley off on my way to work.
You don’t want to drive 30 minutes out of your way to drop-off and pick-up your dog. Daycare is there to help you have a more relaxed day. It defeats the purpose if it’s not in a good location.
Is it priced appropriately?
Every doggy daycare is different. A single day can be priced anywhere from $12 to $30. Twenty day packages in the Denver/Aurora area can range from $250-$500. When I was in Missouri, I purchased a 20 day package for $320.
Prices vary and are typically based on amenities. Some daycares are small and offer just one yard for the dogs to play in. Others are huge with indoor/outdoor areas and pools with fountains for dogs to swim and play. Some daycares are open 24 hours with full-time night-shift workers, while others offer services from 7am-7pm.
Other amenities that affect pricing:
- Phone apps allowing you to see the yard where the dogs play so you can always “check-in”
- Standby veterinarian services for emergencies
- Location and clientele
Do some research. Peruse the website. Find what works for your price range and narrow the list.
Does it have good reviews?
Everyone writes reviews these days. I recommend checking Google and Yelp to see what people are saying about the doggy daycare you’re interested in. You have to be careful with Yelp, as they like to post the horrible reviews at the top. Simply organize the reviews by most recent and take everything with a grain of salt.
Consider what each review focuses on. If people are complaining about prices, they could be cheapskates, or the daycare may not offer as many amenities as other daycares. For example, the daycare I pay for is the cheapest in the area. I assume that is because they open at 7am (while others open at 5 and 6am), and while you can pick your dog up late in the evening, they put all the dogs in their own kennel space at 3:30pm. That means Motley will get to relax and sleep until 4:30 when I pick him up. Other places allow the dogs to play all day until you pick them up. If you’re expecting your dog to be exhausted at the end of the day, the daycare I use may not work for you.
Take reviews in stride. The best way to know is to tour the facility, which brings me to my next tip.
Do they require proof of vaccinations?
This is very important. At first, I thought this was an annoying prerequisite. However, I realize that the safety of Motley depends on this proof. If the daycare does not ask you about your pup’s vaccinations and require proof from the vet, walk away. You do not need your puppy coming home with Parvo or Kennel Cough. The Kennel Cough vaccine is an optional vaccine for your dog (much like a flu vaccine for humans), but it is worth it and most daycares require it. If they don’t, you might consider looking elsewhere.
Take a tour of the doggy daycare.
Once you’ve narrowed your options, tour the facility. I cannot stress this enough. It may feel awkward, but this is the best way to see if the daycare is a good choice. Photos and reviews only tell so much. Talk with the staff. Do they seem to like animals? Will they ALLOW you to tour the grounds? If they don’t, turn around and walk away. No daycare worth your time would say no to a tour.
When you move behind the scenes, you can evaluate if the dogs seem happy and healthy. Does the environment feel safe? Are the dogs being closely monitored? These are questions you need to ask yourself.
If you’re interested in doggy daycare, these are things you want to look at. I have never been to a bad daycare, but they are out there. Do some research, check the reviews, and take a tour before handing any money over. Hopefully, you can find an awesome doggy daycare that your dog will love as much as mine!
Let me know if you have any questions!