4 min read

Is Doggy Daycare Worth the Investment?


Written by Emily Bayne

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 11/23/2021, edited: 11/23/2021


As pet parents, we want to spend as much time with our fur-babies as "pawssible". Unfortunately, due to work and other commitments, we sometimes have to leave our fur-babies behind.

Dogs may be able to stay in their crate for short outings, but pet parents who have to be away for long hours often have to make other arrangements for Fido. Many first-time pet parents look to doggy daycare as a solution and are shocked when they see the service prices.

It’s no secret that doggy daycare is costly, but is it worth the investment? We’ll explore the ins and outs of doggy daycare, including pricing and what’s included in the membership, to help you decide if it’s worth the cost. We’ll also discuss some affordable alternatives you can turn to if doggy daycare isn’t an option.

dog biting toy - how does doggy daycare work section

How does doggy daycare work?

Doggy daycare facilities care for and supervise multiple dogs during the day. Think of it as short-term dog boarding without the cages — pet parents drop their fur-babies off in the morning and pick them back up after they’re finished with work or errands.

So what’s included in the memberships? A great doggy daycare should provide the following for their program participants:

  • Playtime 
  • Socialization opportunities
  • Mental stimulation
  • Mealtimes
  • Potty breaks
  • Naptimes
  • Medication administration (when needed)
  • Play equipment

Many dog boarding facilities have additional services available for pet parents, including dog boarding, obedience training, and grooming, though these services are additional to the regular daycare price. 

How much does doggy daycare usually cost?

Daycare rates vary considerably depending on the location and facility. The average price for a full day of daycare ranges from $30 to $50. Half days, on the other hand, can run anywhere from $20 to $35. Depending on the facility, whole days are typically 8 to 12 hours, whereas half-days are usually less than 6 hours of pet care.

Sure, it’s important to look at the daily daycare rates, but it’s equally important to look for hidden fees too. For example, some daycares require pet parents to submit an application fee to be considered for a spot. Most daycares also require pet parents to pay for a mandatory temperament evaluation, which can cost anywhere between $15 and $50.

Lastly, be careful requesting a la carte services like treats and one-on-one playtime since these will likely cost extra.

several leashed dogs standing in line against pink backdrop

Is doggy daycare right for my dog?

Many dogs — especially fully vaccinated puppies and outgoing dogs — do well in doggy daycare. It gives them a chance to socialize, expend some energy, and get out of the house for a while. Doggy daycare can even help some dogs overcome their separation anxiety. Unfortunately, daycare isn’t an option for all dogs. 

There are many reasons why dogs might be ineligible for daycare services. For one, many daycares have strict policies on spaying and neutering, so intact dogs — especially those in-heat — may be turned away. What’s more, some daycare facilities impose breed restrictions for certain dog breeds. 

Even if your dog is eligible, there’s no guaranteeing they’ll pass the temperament test. Daycare staff may deny entry to any dog they deem skittish, aggressive, undersocialized, or reactive. But this isn’t always a negative thing since these types of dogs typically have a hard time adjusting to a daycare setting. 

Another thing to consider when deciding if doggy daycare is right for your dog is the potential for injuries and illnesses. Doggy daycares are lively places, and dogs can accidentally get stepped on or injured by other dogs in daycare.

Even with temperament testing and careful supervision, dog fights do happen, and dogs can become injured in the time it takes for staff to respond. Contagious canine illnesses can also quickly spread within the close quarters of doggy daycares, even with regular sanitation procedures.

woman in green shirt playing with dog

Is there a cheaper alternative to doggy daycare?

Wag! drop-in services can provide your pup with the care they need while saving you money on doggy daycare costs. During your 20-minute drop-in visit, a Pet Caregiver will come to your home and handle your pet’s needs while you’re away. 

Examples of things drop-in Pet Caregivers can do include feeding and watering your dog, taking them out to potty, and administering medication — but that’s not all! Pet parents can use the Wag! chat feature to specify the exact services their pet requires. If 20 minutes isn’t enough time to meet your pet's needs, feel free to book a 30- or 60-minute Wag! walk and use the chat feature to detail your expectations for the visit. 

What’s more, Wag! walks and drop-in services are a convenient pet care solution for dogs who are ineligible for daycare. Plus, instead of having to drop your pet off and pick them up every day, Pet Caregivers with Wag! will come to you!

Is doggy daycare worth the investment?

Whether or not doggy daycare is worth the investment depends on your dog and your budget. Doggy daycare can be a fun and stimulating environment for canines, but it’s not for every dog. If your dog is reserved, reactive, or nervous, chances are they won’t thrive in a multi-dog setting like doggy daycare.

Even if your fur-baby excels in doggy daycare, it might not suit your budget. Doggy daycare can cost over $500 a month, and many pet parents can’t afford to pay that much for pet care.

Is doggy daycare not working out? You have options! Book a Wag! drop-in visit for an affordable and convenient solution to pet care while you work.

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