Key Information When Choosing your Dog’s Day Care Provider

You’ve decided to send your dog to day care, you’ve spoken to friends and family, you’ve shopped around, and now it’s time to make a decision. What next?

Here’s our definitive guide to the top four things to consider when choosing doggy day care.

Always Visit the Site

Think of doggy day care as a children’s nursery. You wouldn’t dream of sending a child along without visiting first. See where they will be, who they will be with and what they will be doing throughout their day.

Book in for the visit when the day care is in full swing! See the fun and frivolity for yourself….and more importantly see whether your dog will be suited to this environment and we likewise can do the same!

The Positive Checklist:

  • Are the dogs friendly and social and happy together?
  • Is it calm and quiet or noisy and chaotic?
  • Would you be happy with your dog mixing with every type of breed there?
  • Do the staff look like they love the dogs and their jobs and are they actively engaging with the dogs?
  • What is the indoor and rest space like?
  • Is there enough open space for the dogs to spread out or are they cramped? Too many dogs in close confines leads to scuffles and boisterous dogs, which can overwhelm quieter or older dogs and puppies.
  • How many dogs do they have together in one space?

Don’t’ Ever Be Afraid to Ask questions

While you may be met by a more senior member of staff, it’s important to also chat and ask questions of the dog carers themselves as they will have direct day-to-day contact with the dogs.

And don’t be afraid to pose difficult questions:

  • What is the staff-to-dog ratio? As a guide, March of The K9’s operates on a ratio of one dog carer to ten dogs (at an absolute maximum).
  • How often do dogs get injured and what happens?
  • Have they expelled dogs and how often does this happen?
  • Are there certain breeds they don’t accept?
  • Do they throw balls/have toys/etc? While this sounds fun, in a group dynamic many normally placid dogs become competitive and may nip.
  • Are the dogs transported and if so for how long versus time spent in the fields?
  • Do they take un-neutered (entire) males that are over 12 months old? The answer should be no. This is generally the case for experienced day care centres, but not so for inexperienced or new operators who need to fill spaces. In a group dynamic, testosterone is not a good thing!
  • Will my small dog/puppy be bullied by bigger dogs? If there is enough space and only friendly social dogs are accepted this is not an issue. Some day care centres divide dogs by size, but this seems rather unfair as small dogs can form natural bonds with larger dogs. We check the situation but as a dog owner myself of a small, medium and large breed who have an amazing bond and relationship, I feel it is unnecessary to divide the breeds due to size.

Be Prepared To Commit

Just like children’s nurseries and schools, you must be prepared to commit for the sake of the child, or in this case the dog.

At March of The K9’s Doggy Day Care Centre, we ask our clients to enrol their dogs for at least one day per week. This means that regular customers bring their dogs into a happy and established dog group dynamic. When people see our dynamic and how well the dogs interact, they realise that committing to at least one session per week makes absolute sense.

Understand The Effect Of Pick Up And Drop Off Times

Most doggy day care centres collect and drop off your dog; it’s all part of the service. But how long does your dog spend travelling? Longer opening hours doesn’t necessarily mean more playtime.

This is the reason for predominantly providing a pick of and drop off point service which is in accordance to many other day care services.

Therefore, look out for earlier starts. We collect at 8am-9:30am and return between 4pm- 5:30pm. This seems to fit in to the majority of people’s travel to and from work hours. Other exceptions can be discussed.

And make sure they use dog-friendly air-conditioned vehicles with vet-approved crates. You may not like the idea of your dog being in a crate, but safety in confined numbers is paramount. The dogs should not be altogether in one space – for example a Golden Retriever in the same space as a Chiuaua isn’t a great idea of obvious reasons! The crates also mean the driver can open each crate one at a time when the relevant dog is safely home, rather than opening one door with the risk of all the dogs escaping.

Overall, choosing your preferred doggy day care provider should be fun and rewarding, for both you and your dog. They’ll certainly thank you for it!

The nice things they say!

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