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How Often Should My Dog Get Doggy Daycare?

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Overview

As much as you hate leaving your pup behind when you head off to work each morning, you might have a hard time convincing your boss to allow dogs at the office. Unfortunately, some dogs, like puppies and seniors, can't handle being left home alone 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. So what's a pet parent to do?

To ensure their fur-babies get the care they need, many pet parents turn to doggy daycare. How often should you send your dog to daycare? Can dogs go to daycare every day? Read on for answers to these questions, plus tips on how to choose the right facility for your pup.

dog walking alongside owner in a living room

Does my dog need daycare?

Before you ship your doggo off to a daycare facility, consider whether your dog really needs it. To determine if your dog needs daycare, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my dog's exercise needs?
  • Does my dog suffer from separation anxiety?
  • Does my dog play well with other dogs?
  • Is my dog likely to engage in destructive behavior if left home alone?
  • Does my dog follow basic obedience commands?
  • Is my dog adequately socialized with other dogs and people?
  • How would my dog react to a busy daycare environment?
  • Can I afford doggy daycare?
  • Am I able to transport my dog to daycare each day?


Can dogs go to daycare every day?

The answer to this question depends on your dog's temperament and the facility's rules.

Many facilities limit the number of days dogs are allowed to attend per week. For example, some daycare facilities set a maximum stay of 4 days per week.

Even if your local daycare allows dogs to attend 7 days a week, all dogs need to learn how to be home alone. Just like humans, dogs need time to themselves in quiet environments away from other animals and people. Too much stimulation can lead to sensory overload and the undesirable behaviors that come with it, like excessive barking and hypervigilance.

Ultimately, just because dogs can go to daycare every day doesn't necessarily mean they should.


How often should my dog go to daycare?

This depends entirely on your needs, budget, and schedule.

If you work or attend school full-time, you'll need to arrange some form of pet care for your fur-baby, especially if they're prone to destructive behaviors. Putting your dog in a crate before you leave for work isn't an acceptable solution. Dogs should never be crated for longer than they can hold their bladder. For puppies, this can be as short as 2 hours.

The hidden costs of doggy daycare

"The average cost of a full day of daycare is $43."

Doggy daycare can get expensive fast. The average cost of a full day of daycare is $43. That means, if you need doggy daycare services 5 days per week, you'll end up spending over $800 per month on pet care.

To work out how often your dog should go to daycare, ask yourself these questions:

  • How much can I afford to spend on doggy daycare per week, including transportation costs?

  • Does my preferred facility limit the number of days my dog is allowed to attend?

  • Do extra fees apply? (These may include application fees, temperament test fees, and a la carte services like medication administration.)


What to do if doggy daycare doesn't suit your schedule or budget

dog walker in Portland is walking a leashed dog

If you can't afford doggy daycare or the facility's opening hours don't work with your schedule, don't fret just yet. 

Book a drop-in visit with Wag!

Book a drop-in visit with a Pet Caregiver on the Wag! app to ensure your pup gets the TLC they need while you're gone. During these 20-minute visits, your Pet Caregiver will stop by to feed your dog, take them out to potty, and make sure they're comfortable.

Book a walk with Wag!

Does your doggo need some extra attention? Book a 30- or 60-minute Wag! walk. You can follow along your dog's walk via GPS and chat with your Pet Caregiver right in the app. At the end of the walk, you'll receive a report card so you know how well your woofer behaved on their adventure.

Download the app today and start searching for your mutt's "pawfect" match!


Things to consider when searching for doggy daycare facilities near you

Okay, so you've decided that doggy daycare might be a good fit for your fur-child. Now what? It's time to start searching for the right facility. Here are a few things to keep in mind when researching your options.

Temperament testing

Most doggy daycare facilities require pets to pass a temperament test. This ensures all dogs will play well together, preventing dog fights and other mishaps.

To pass a temperament test, dogs will need solid socialization skills with both dogs and humans, as well as a good grip on basic obedience commands. Facilities may also impose their own requirements on vaccinations, spay/neuter, and other health concerns.

Exercise offerings

High-energy breeds may benefit from doggy daycare. However, not all daycare facilities are created equal. While some daycares offer vast off-leash exercise areas complete with agility equipment, others might only provide a basic walk.

If you're the proud parent of a Border Collie or similarly boisterous breed, chat with daycare staff before booking your dog's stay. Ask if their exercise routines are one-size-fits-all or personalized for each dog.

Your dog's age

Many pet parents look to daycare as a way to socialize their puppies. And sure, daycare can be a good way to meet new pups and people. However, socialization is a gradual process that requires your participation. In other words, don't expect doggy daycare to fulfill all your pup's socialization needs!

Doggy daycare might even be overwhelming for young puppies. Many pet parents incorrectly assume doggy daycare is a good way to tire out a puppy. In fact, it might do the opposite.

Puppies need lots of sleep each day — we're talking up to 20 hours. If puppies attend daycare for a full day, they may not get enough sleep, which could cause them to become overtired and increase their risk of injury and illness.


Is doggy daycare the right choice for your dog?

If you require doggy daycare services 5 days per week, you may struggle to find a facility that fits your needs and budget. Consider booking Wag! drop-in visits instead. 

Our drop-in visits start at just $13 per 20-minute visit on average, saving you hundreds of dollars a month on doggy daycare! Curious about how our drop-in services work? Check out our support page for more info.


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