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You work long days and you find yourself considering if dog daycare is the way to help your dog to feel happy and cared for while you’re gone, right?  But is it right for you?  Is it right for your dog? This article shares some of the pro’s and con’s of doggie daycare so you can decide.

Dogs need some stimulation during the day.

No care vs. care:

Many people don’t provide a break for their dog during their workday at all.  I’ve heard them say, “my dog can hold it all day.” Or, “they just sleep while I’m at work.” That may be true, however did you know that ‘holding it all day’ can cause medical problems in your dog?  See the evidence for yourself: What Happens When Your Dog “Holds It All Day”?  And, did you know that a dog the ‘sleeps all day while you’re at work’ can become bored and lethargic because of lack of stimulation during the day?  Some high energy dogs would benefit from vigorous activity during the day and others would be better with less activity and more leisure.  Regardless of the energy requirements of your dog, t’s a fact that ALL dogs should get a chance to (at the very least) relieve themselves during the day.

Why dog daycare might be for you:

Dog daycare (aka doggie daycare) can be the right choice for you and your pet if you are looking for the following:

Exercise:

In a daycare facility the dogs (usually) run and play together and that means your dog will get plenty of exercise while he is there.  Some daycare buildings do NOT offer this, so be sure they do if you are looking for your pooch to get some exercise during your workday.  Your dog will more than likely be tired from all the energy he’s spent during his playday with other dogs.

Social Engagement:

With all the other dogs in a dog daycare building there is bound to be tons of socializing with other dogs.  If your dog loves other dogs this could be a great fit for you and your dog!

Why dog daycare may NOT be for you:

It adds more time and stress to your schedule:

If you are taking your dog to a daycare facility, you’ll have to add extra time (and sometimes hassle) on to your workday.  Unless the daycare facility offers some kind of drop off/pick up service YOU will have to be your dogs chauffeur.  Some places will close before your workday ends, so keep this in mind when choosing your day care.

Your dog might have the wrong temperament:

Some dogs just don’t play well with others. This is true for some dogs who attend daycare.  Unfortunately, you won’t know when you drop your dog off during the day if there will be a little doggie argument instigated by a sassy poodle that woke up on the wrong side of her kennel. We all think our dog is the perfect angel but you can never be sure of the other dogs that your dog will come in contact with at the facility.  You will be the best judge of your own dogs temperament and character.  Does he get along well with other dogs? Or is he more comfortable on the home front?

It might be stressful for your dog:

sad dog in pen

Close-up portrait of unhappy dog in pen

It’s hard to keep in mind that what we might consider fun (playing all day with our friends) may not at all be a happy time for your dog.  Some dogs don’t play when in the day care atmosphere because they are fearful.  They stay by themselves or on high alert because being in an unfamiliar environment with lots of stimulation causes them stress and discomfort.

Still can’t decide?

Here are some great questions to ask the daycare to get a better feel if this is the right choice for your particular dog:

  1. Is there group playtime available? If so, how many dogs are in each group?
  2. Are the dogs divided into size and temperament in the groups?
  3. How many staff members are in the room to care for the dogs when they are playing together?
  4. How is it determined which dogs are let into the facility?
  5. How is the staff trained to care for the dogs (is special training necessary before they hire?)
  6. Is there a time-out area for overstressed dogs?
  7. What happens if one dog fights with another (what is the policy)?
  8. Do they allow your dog personal items that might make him more comfortable?
  9. Do they have an outside play area?

Alternatives to dog daycare

Use your lunch hour

Many people use their lunch break to go visit their dog.  It’s a good way to break up your day AND spend a bit of time with your favorite pup.  This can be stressful or even impossible for some people, so it’s not a good option for everyone.

Hire a dog walker

Can’t get away for lunch?  There are alternatives to doggie daycare that might be a perfect fit for you and your dog.  If your dog is fairly calm (middle to low energy level) and would enjoy a little break time (even a short walk) during the day, then maybe a mid-day break from a professional pet sitter will work well for you and your dog.  Hire a pet sitting or dog walking company to come during your workday (like The Pet Parlor) to provide a much needed potty break, a little walk, some playtime and a treat. Learn how to find the perfect pet sitter – It’ll break up the day, and give them (and you) some comfort and peace of mind.

Dogs shouldn’t be left alone for your whole workday

There are many different ways you can keep your pooch happy when you have to work. Once you determine the temperament of your pup and your own requirements your solution should be easy.  Then everyone will be happy!