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How to Choose the Right Doggy Daycare Facility for Your Pup


Written by Emily Bayne

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 11/12/2021, edited: 11/12/2021


Choosing a quality doggy daycare facility is crucial, especially if your dog will be spending a lot of time there. To ensure your dog receives the level of care they deserve, we’ve created this handy checklist for you to reference when checking out doggy daycares in your area. We’ll also provide you with affordable alternatives if doggy daycare isn’t in the cards for your woofer.

How to choose the right doggy daycare facility for your pup

The process of vetting a daycare facility can be daunting, so we’ve compiled this list of helpful tips and inquiries to help you make the best decision "pawssible" for your fur-baby.

Take a tour of the facility

The first thing you should do when checking out local dog daycares is ask for a tour of the facility. You can learn so much about how the facility is run just by exploring it during their open hours.

Here are some questions you should consider when touring doggy daycares:

  • How clean is the facility? Do you see any unattended pet accidents or notice unpleasant odors?
  • Are there any holes or gaps in the fencing? Do the gates on enclosures function correctly?
  • Is the facility climate-controlled? Do dogs seem to be too hot or cold?
  • Is there an appropriate number of staff in comparison to the number of dogs?
  • Do you see any blatant safety risks (e.g., unattended cleaning chemicals, live electrical cords, or choking hazards) within the dog’s reach?
  • Are the dogs engaged in active group play, or are they sequestered in kennels? 
  • Do the dogs seem happy and well cared for?
  • Is there play equipment and toys for dogs? If so, do they seem to be in good condition or damaged?

dog daycare facility

Ask the facility staff lots of questions

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions when exploring local doggy daycares. Facility staff should be open and willing to answer any question or direct you to someone who can.

Below are some basic questions you should ask daycare providers to see if their facility is safe and appropriate for your beloved fur-baby. 

  • What is the usual daily routine for daycare participants?
  • Does staff implement positive reinforcement methods like treats and pets for good behavior?
  • Does staff use negative reinforcement tactics such as crating, time out, shock collars, or hoses to deter or correct dogs?
  • How do staff handle scuffles between dogs?
  • Is staff trained in canine CPR and the canine Heimlich maneuver?
  • Is staff certified in canine first aid?
  • Does staff have training for reading canine body language?
  • What procedures are in place if a pet gets injured or sick on the premises?
  • What cleaning chemicals do staff use? Are they pet-safe?
  • Do staff use crates for daycare participants? If so, when, and for how long?
  • Does the facility have separate areas for dogs with differing play styles? What about large and small dogs?
  • Does the daycare provide meals, or will I need to bring my own dog food?
  • Does the daycare offer regular potty breaks and outside playtime?

Other things to consider when choosing a doggy daycare

Even if the doggy daycare ticks all the boxes for safety and enrichment, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a good fit for your canine. You should also consider these factors when choosing a daycare for your pup.

Temperament testing

Most dog daycares require mandatory temperament testing before dogs can enroll in their programs. The time length for these tests can range between 2 hours to a full day of daycare. During this time, staff will observe dogs to see how they interact with other dogs.

Unfortunately, not all dogs will pass these temperament tests, and the ones who don’t are ineligible for daycare services. What’s more, many daycare facilities charge pet parents for these mandatory temperament tests.

Vaccination requirements

If your dog is unvaccinated (whether for medical or personal reasons), chances are they’ll be denied admittance into daycare programs. Most facilities require daycare participants to be current on all their core vaccines, and some also require dogs to have the kennel cough vaccine.

Spay and neuter policies

A lot of dog daycares require dogs to be spayed or neutered before enrolling. The few that don’t often will turn away in-heat females during their estrus cycle due to the potential for accidental pregnancy and sexual aggression.

Your dog’s personality

Lastly, consider your dog’s personality when deciding if doggy daycare is right for them. Dogs who are shy, skittish, or reactive probably aren’t the best candidates for dog daycare. While dog daycare can be a fun experience for outgoing pooches, it may be overwhelming for more reserved dogs.

Are there any affordable alternatives to doggy daycare?

YES! Drop-in services with Wag! are a terrific (and wallet-friendly) alternative to doggy daycare.

During your 20-minute drop-in visit, a Pet Caregiver near you will come by and tend to your pet’s needs. Pet Caregivers with Wag! will be happy to let your pup out to potty, refill their food and water bowls, and give them love while you’re away.

Drop-in services through Wag! aren’t limited to potty breaks and refills, either. Pet parents are encouraged to use the Wag! Chat feature to communicate their service expectations and pet’s needs to ensure complete satisfaction with the booking.

Drop-in caregivers through Wag! set their own prices, which average just $13 to $16 a visit. When you book a drop-in service, you’ll receive a price estimate and a final total once you pick your "pawfect" caregiver.

Try Wag! drop-ins to make sure your pooch is in great hands during your time away! For more information on Wag! drop-in services, check out our support page.

Does your pet need more than 20 minutes to handle their business? Book a 30- or 60-minute Wag! walk instead and use the Wag! Chat feature to detail specific instructions for your Pet Caregiver. 

When you book with Wag!, you can leave your dog in confidence, knowing they’ll be cared for by the best of the best. Caregivers through Wag! go through extensive testing and background checks to ensure the safety of our furry clients.

What are you waiting "fur"? Download the Wag! app from the Play Store or the App Store today and start searching for your fur-baby's new BFF!

Comments (1)

dana hue


She has to consider that her dog is prone to allergies, so it is essential for her to find a doggie daycare that keeps its facilities clean and sanitized. https://tribecapet.com/services-pricing/

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