If you have the kind of dog who loves being around other dogs, then doggy daycare might be the right choice for you! If you’re thinking about daycare, here are some pointers to help you find the best fit for your pup:
Professional associations and certifications. One of the indicators of good facility management is an affiliation with one or more of the major professional pet sitting associations, such as NAPPS, PSI, or IBPSA. Although membership is not mandatory, it says a lot about a business if they are voluntarily willing to adhere to industry-wide standards. (It’s like going the extra mile.) Tip: look for signs that say staff has been trained/certified by experts like FetchFind, The Dog Gurus, or PACCC.
Philosophy. How is the business marketed – is it a “big play group all the time” type of place, or do they offer individualized attention geared to your dog’s personality? Some dogs can run all day long and be happy campers, but other dogs need to socialize (or not) on their own terms. Tip: Make sure play groups are age- and size-appropriate for your dog.
Facility. Doing an in-person visit of the facility (preferably during the day when other dogs are present) is absolutely essential. You’ll want to keep an eye out for such things as hygiene and sanitation (of common areas as well as individual spaces), the staff-to-client ratio, and the general appearance of the space. Tip: Pay attention to the level and quality of the noise while you’re there – happy, well-tended dogs sound very different than stressed out dogs.
Health and hygiene. It’s very important for all pet care facilities to require the appropriate vaccinations and adhere to best practices when sanitizing the premises. When you’re filling out the application forms, make sure they ask about vaccination records; when you’re touring the facility, ask them about their protocols in case of a canine influenza or kennel cough outbreak. Tip: keep an eye (and nose) out for the prevalence of mop buckets and sanitation stations.