Ah, the great pet care debate: isn’t doggy daycare a better option for my dog than hiring a dog walker? I mean, my dog will get a full day of playing with other dogs compared to just one or two visits from a dog walker, right?
These are common questions that we hear most of the time from clients who are looking for the best option for their dog while they are at work. These are completely valid questions and in theory, it sure does look like doggy day care is the best option for your dog right?
However, most pet parents don’t look at the whole picture when debating between doggy daycare and a dog walker. Often times the “length of time” and the price are the only things that they focus on but in reality there is so much more to factor in before you make your decision.
The following are 5 things that might make you reconsider taking your dog to doggy daycare:
1) Your dog will not be getting much one on one attention. It’s just not possible for a daycare facility that often has anywhere from 15-50 dogs at a time, with one or two staff members, to provide your dog with individualized care. The staff is there mainly to break up any fights that might happen, keep up on cleaning up pee and poo and to make sure no one is getting hurt. Beyond that, your dog is on their own.
2) Your dog is at a high risk of injury. Your dog can get injured from rough-house playing or getting into a fight with another dog. And YES this DOES happen. I took my Golden Retriever, Copper to a daycare in Novi for the day so he could play and socialize with other dogs. Within an hour of play, I received a call from the facility saying they were rushing my poor boy to the vet because another dog attacked him and tore his ear into two halves. When there are that many dogs in one place interacting with each other, it is absolutely impossible, no matter how much pre-screening a doggy day care does, to prevent fights from breaking out.
3) Playtime with other dogs is great but too much play with no structure and no mental stimulation can create behavioral problems. Dogs thrive off of structure and having rules. When they do not have to follow any structure of any sort, they start behaving like animals rather than our trained companions.
4) Get ready to do some driving and rearranging your schedule. Doggy Daycare facilities all have pick up/drop off times of some sort. So, you need to plan extra time in your morning commute to drop your dog off at the facility, plan extra time driving home and be sure you leave in enough time from work to make the pick up deadline otherwise you incur extra charges or your dog is forced to stay overnight in boarding.
5) Your dog will be at risk of infections and illnesses from other dogs. Most doggy daycare’s require vaccinations including Bordetella vaccinations. However, those are not the only illnesses that dogs can pick up from each other and there is no way for a large facility to health screen every single dog beyond having their vaccinations up to date.
Doggy Daycare is certainly not an evil place with only negative sides to it, otherwise they wouldn’t be around! However you need to really evaluate your dog and what you’re willing to expose him to and what he can handle. Not every dog is the same and your decision to take him to daycare should be based on more than just the amount of playing he can do or the price.