The emotional and physical well-being of your dog can often be compromised given our busy schedules. Canine daycare provides love and attention, tons of exercise, and the very important socialization skills required by every dog so that they may feel confident and serene in their life with you at home. If you have a dog that requires an outlet for their boundless energy, a dog daycare can provide the safe, healthy and fun environment they needs to help him/her stay out of trouble at home!

How do you select a good dog daycare center?

You want what’s best for your dog, so here are a few questions to ask when choosing a daycare for your loyal companion.

  • How many dogs play together at one time? Too many dogs can be unsafe no matter how well tempered they may be
  • How are the dogs categorized into playgroups? Size is not necessarily the best way. It is better to group dogs according to temperament so that dogs of similar temperaments play together
  • Is the overall appearance of the daycare clean and fresh? The care paid to the facility reflects the care paid to your pet
  • What’s done when dogs show aggression, growl, or play too rough with each other? Separating aggressive dogs is good, but are they crated as punishment, rather than for “down time” or naps?
  • Are the dogs struck (with objects or the hand) as a form of discipline? This has no place in today’s society!
  • How often are the dogs let outside to play? If there are no outside facilities, are the dogs taken for outside walks several times a day for fresh air and to relieve themselves?
  • Where do the dogs go to relieve themselves? Are the dogs forming bad habits to bring home by learning to “go” indoors? This is especially important for young puppies that are just learning house training, or for dogs that occasionally have accidents in the house; a behaviour that should not be encouraged at daycare
  • Can you see the washroom area, does it have good drainage and is it kept clean at all times? This is important because many common diseases and parasites are transferred via the feces of other dogs
  • Do the dogs get “down time”, where they may rest without being harassed by other dogs? Many dogs in the company of their playmates don’t know when to quit and easily over-exert themselves
  • Can you take a tour of the daycare at any time? This will indicate how well cared for the dogs are when Guardians or visitors are not expected
  • Are the dogs ever left unsupervised? Scuffles or injuries can happen in a matter of seconds!
  • What is the ratio of staff to dogs? Are there enough staff to adequately supervise the number of dogs in the daycare?
  • Are the dogs’ collars left on at nap time? Even under supervision a dog can easily become hung up by his/her collar when in a kennel, and panic, preventing anyone from helping him/her

Perhaps you already take your dog to a daycare, and are wondering how to evaluate it?

  • How often is your dog in a crate or exercise pen when you pick them up? If your answer is “always” or “often”, stop in randomly to ensure he/she is getting out for enough playtime during the day
  • How knowledgeable is the daycare staff? Being Guardians is a good start, but do they have the training to be able to “read” the dogs in their care, to prevent fights or other unwanted behaviours? This takes more than just loving dogs and wanting to work with them
  • Has there ever been a dogfight in the daycare? Have dogs ever been injured in fights or otherwise? How did it happen, what was done to prevent it from happening? Where was the staff at the time?
  • Most importantly, what is your instinctive reaction to the facility and its staff? If something does not seem right to you, you have the responsibility to your pet to investigate further, or choose another daycare for him or her
  • When paying for daycare services, you have the right to expect the best of care for your pet at all times, and increasing your own knowledge is the best way to ensure that care is given!