It’s a dog’s life. Especially when the “dog days” are filled with running, jumping, treats, toys and a little butt-sniffing among friends.
With a huge increase in pet ownership and fostering, day care and boarding options are growing in numbers and popularity along with it. From small, local operations to sprawling multi-location facilities, there is something for everyone from the mini chihuahua to the mighty great dane, and literally everything in between.
Mark Klaiman, Senior Counselor at Pet Camp in San Francisco says, “Done correctly, doggie day care is a benefit to social dogs, non-social dogs and even to pet parents. Gone is the ‘mosh-pit’ approach to doggie day care where all the dogs are placed together on one large room. Today, pet care facilities offer a range of group play options to meet the various needs of social dogs as well as K9 Enrichment programs to meet the mental and physical needs of dogs that are better in a non-group play environment. The result is a happy, relaxed, and tired dog and a pet parent who can spend the day taking care of the million things we are all faced with knowing their dog is having a great day.”
Learn the ins and outs of doggie day care and boarding and you’ll soon understand why your pup is already in the car—and honking the horn.
- What Are the Benefits of Doggie Day Care?
Most dogs just enjoy life more with other animals and humans around. After all they are pack animals, so it makes perfect sense. With increasingly busy schedules, keeping your dog mentally and physically active and healthy can be an additional challenge, not to mention time commitment. And whether you work from home or not, they need as much attention, exercise and bonding as ever.
Being with other pets and people eliminates boredom and loneliness. It also helps your pup with separation anxiety and the potential for destructive behavior at home. So while you work during the day or travel for days at a time, your pet will enjoy endless attention from other dogs and staff.
- Why Do Dogs Love It So Much?
There are so many things to love about pet day care, for both you and your dog. With trained staff—who of course love dogs—your pets will thrive. From the social stimulation to plenty of playtime and belly rubs, these licensed, insured and/or bonded facilities get the job done…and then some.
Dogs are usually grouped together by size, age, breed and temperament for safe interactions and plenty of fun with their new best friends. They are kept comfortable indoors with temperature control, and many have outdoor areas with wide-open spaces and even pools for splashdowns to cool off in warmer weather. What’s not to love?
- What Services Are Offered?
When you’re picking the best place for your pup, ask about the extras, amenities and add-ons. In addition to the basics, there’s a lot to choose from. Services can include veterinary care, training, grooming, spa treatments (blueberry facial, anyone?) and more. And with all that activity, some pups need their quiet time as well. Many day cares have private spaces or kennels for a little downtime, so it’s a great balance.
Really want to know what goes on all day? See if they offer LIVE webcams so you can check in and see how your pup is getting along. Or ask about “report cards” on daily activities, eating habits, and if they did their “business.” Plus, if it’s too far or you’re short on time, many facilities offer door-to-door pick and delivery services. Your pup will be ready and waiting to give welcome home kisses.
- How Do You Find the Right Pet Care Facility?
It takes some homework and research, as there are lots of options. Start with an online search to find ones nearest you, or with the best reviews. And always go visit in person to see what it’s like for yourself. If you’re checking for Puppy Socialization Classes, ask for references and check their credentials. If you like it, be sure to talk with the owners and staff. Are they happy there as well? And get referrals from friends, family or other pet owners.
Once you find the right place, you’ll be just as happy as your pup when you drop them off…well, almost.