While we would all love to stay at home everyday with our little puppers, that is not always possible given our busy work schedules. After all, someone has to pay to maintain that puppy lifestyle! The good news is that many cities have doggy daycare options, which offer a great alternative for your puppy during the day, so that he/she won’t be stuck at home by him/herself.
What is doggy daycare and why is it necessary?
Doggy daycare, as the name suggests, is like child daycare: a place where you can drop of your puppy for a few hours or for the day to be looked after for a fee. The reason many dog owners turn to this service, as opposed to using a dog walker or sitter, is three-fold:
- It’s a way for their dog to not be alone at home unsupervised
- It’s a great way for their dog to socialize with other dogs
- It also allows for their dog to get exercise and be active
Doggy daycare services are in high demand, especially in cities. This is in part because couples and individuals who don’t work from home see it as an option that allows for their pets to have company while they are away at work.
Are you thinking about doggy daycare? Is your dog ready for it?
If you’re considering doggy daycare, the first step is to do your research. Every city has different options and rules, so it’s best to look around to see if this option is right for you and your dog. We’ll run through some of the regulations we have seen across doggy daycares in New York City, but these might differ depending on your location.
You should also consider whether your dog has the right temperament for doggy daycare. Some questions to keep in mind include: Does he/she get along with other dogs? Is he/she afraid of other dogs and strangers? Does he/she have any health conditions that are contagious? Does he/she suffer from any health conditions where overstimulation might harm him/her?
What is the right age for your dog to start going to daycare?
Here are some rules and regulations we came across while doing research on dog daycare options in New York City. Most doggy daycares in New York welcome puppies as young as four months old, as long as they have received all their necessary vaccinations.
There is no “right” age for you to start sending your pup to doggy daycare. Other than the mandatory vaccines your dog must have, the decision of when they can start going to daycare depends on your dog’s personality and your comfort level of leaving him/her with other dogs.
How old is too old for doggy daycares?
We could not find any doggy daycares in NYC with a strict maximum age limit, but here are some basic guidelines you could follow in determining if your dog is too old for dog daycare. Your dog’s energy levels and how active he/she is should be the core factor in determining if they should continue going to doggy daycare. Some other factors to keep in mind include:
Medical Issues: If your dog suffers from any chronic medical conditions, it might be a good idea to cut back on time spent at daycares. That being said, if your dog is relatively young and still pretty active, there might still be many benefits of spending time with other dogs and having an active lifestyle at a daycare, even if they suffer from a non-contagious medical condition. It’s always best to consult with your vet when making your decision.
Preference of being alone: Some dogs as they age might just prefer to spend time alone in the comfort of their home, rather than with a bunch of rambunctious dogs. If your dog is spending his/her days trying to avoid other dogs at the daycare, then it might be better to simply keep him/her at home.
At the end of the day, the key to deciding if your dog is too old for dog daycare is really entirely up to you and your dog.
What are the requirements for your dog before putting them in doggy daycare?
Here are some of the essential requirements that your dog needs to fulfill before going to a daycare. Again, these might vary from city to city and daycare to daycare, but here are some common requirements:
Spay/neuter: Some daycares require dogs to be neutered or spayed by the age of nine months. This restriction could be lifted if the dog doesn’t seem aggressive or on a breed-by-breed basis, however most daycares require female dogs to be spayed to avoid any accidental mating.
Vaccinations: All dogs are required to show that they are up-to-date on their vaccinations before they are allowed to go to daycares. In fact, if your doggy daycare does not require this, it might be a good idea to find a different daycare for your dog!
General health: It is important that your dog is generally in good health before taking them to a doggy daycare. Dogs with arthritis or other chronic bone issues might not be eligible for doggy daycare, or will need to be taken to a specialized daycare. If your dog gets sick, and is suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, you should refrain from taking him/her to the daycare until they have fully recovered.
Some daycares might also require certification or notes from vets confirming that your dog is free from any contagious diseases, including transmittable illnesses like canine cough and parvovirus, and internal or external parasites like fleas and worms.
You will be required to provide documentation, so always keep important records on hand when applying to daycares.
Behavioral issues: Your puppy must be non-hostile towards other dogs and people. Dogs with aggression problems are not accepted at daycares. Of course, you might not know that your dog is aggressive before you take him/her to a doggy daycare, which is why it’s important to monitor their interactions closely, to determine if daycare can be an option.
Are certain breeds not allowed at dog daycares?
In general, in our research, we did not see any restrictions based on breeds in NYC, but this might be different in your town or city. In NYC, the restrictions appear to be based on the individual dog’s personality, and there doesn’t seem to be a blanket ban on certain dog breeds.
How long can your dog be kept in doggy daycare?
Again, there are no restrictions on time limits for doggy daycare, and how long your dog can stay is based on three main factors: your work schedule; the hours of the doggy daycare; your dog’s personality and temperament.
Most daycares in NYC are open from around 6 AM to around 7 or 8 PM during the work week, allowing individuals who work full days the opportunity to drop off and pick up their pups before and after work. That being said, your dog might not be comfortable or able to spend a whole day at the doggy daycare, for health or other reasons. In that case, half days might work better for you.
Anything less than a half-day might not be worth it, so if you’re dog can’t handle staying there for that long, you might want to look for alternative options, such as a dog walker or sitter.
How to choose the right daycare?
Some factors to keep in mind when choosing the right daycare for your dog include:
- Hours of operation: Are they open at the hours that are convenient to your work schedule? Are they open late enough for you, where you don’t have to rush back home?
- Location: Are they located close by to either your home or work? How long is the commute to get to there? Do you have to drive?
- Cleanliness and spaciousness: Before you commit to a daycare, make sure to visit it to see if you’re happy with how clean and how big the space is.
- Availability of live stream cameras: Most daycares these days offer a live stream camera that you can log in to check out your pup at any time in the day, which allows you added ease of being away form your little one.
- Number and expertise of staff: Does the daycare have enough people to look after the dogs? Is the staff well-trained and able to manage a group of dogs? Will your dog get enough individual attention?
Can your dog be kicked out of doggy dog care and if so what should you do?
So you finally make the decision of putting your dog in a daycare and you find out that he/she is not getting along with the other dogs and the daycare is now refusing to accept him/her. Although that is not great news to hear, there is no need to get frustrated.
Don’t panic: If your dog behaves well with your family and other dogs he/she interacts with, your dog might be fine and is probably just not a fan of being around so many dogs at one time at the daycare facility. It just means that doggy daycare might not be a fit for your dog.
Look for another daycare: You might also consider checking out another daycare, before giving up on the idea completely. Maybe try a daycare with fewer dogs and/or more staff, so that your dog can get more attentive care.
Try a dog sitter or walker: If you realize that doggy daycare is not an option for your pup, hiring a dog walker or sitter might be a good alternative option while you’re away at work. Make sure to do a “meet and greet” to ensure your dog is comfortable with whoever you decide to hire.
What is the cost of doggy daycare in a big U.S. city?
While this may vary by city to city, the average daily rate of doggy daycare in NYC is $45. Most daycares in NYC offer package deals, so the daily price might be lower if you purchase a weekly or monthly deal.
At last the big day has come! Are you ready?
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind before preparing for the first day of doggy daycare:
- Take a tour of the facility to ensure your dog will be comfortable (and you’re comfortable!) with the space
- Bring your puppy’s medical records with you
- Give your contact numbers in case of emergencies
If you work a full day and will be away from home, doggy daycare is a great option for your pup. It’s a place where they can play with others dogs, get plenty of attention, and not be home alone. We hope the above guide gives you the information you need to determine if doggy daycare is an option for you.