6 min read

What's the Difference between Doggy Daycare and Wag! Drop-ins?



In a “pawfect” world, you’d spend every waking hour with your dog by your side. In reality, it’s not always possible for you to be there for your pup — all those minor inconveniences like work and your social life can sometimes get in the way.

But rather than leaving your dog home alone all day long, you’re a responsible pet parent who knows the importance of socialization, mental stimulation, and exercise for your fur-baby. For many dogs, the solution to this is to sign up for a regular visit to a doggy daycare facility. And while that’s a solid option for some pups, there’s another alternative that your dog will love even more: a Wag! drop-in.

Let’s take a closer look at how Wag! drop-ins work, how they compare to doggy daycare, and how to find the best care for your pup when you’re not at home.

spoil your doggy friend by booking a drop-in visit with Wag!

What are Wag! drop-ins?

A Wag! drop-in is an affordable and rewarding alternative to conventional doggy daycare. If you know you’re going to be out for a while and you’re worried about your dog, booking a drop-in visit for your dog will put a smile on their face (and put your mind at ease).

Here’s how it works. Simply use the Wag! app to schedule a drop-in visit for your pet — you can book a visit on demand or lock in your desired date and time in advance — and a trusted Pet Caregiver will stop by to check on your pet at home at the time you select.  

You can also specify your dog's care needs. For example, maybe your pup needs a quick play session for mental stimulation and to tire them out. Maybe they need to be taken out for a potty break at a specific time.

Whatever the case may be, a 5-star Pet Caregiver can give your pup all the care they need. Drop-ins last 20 minutes, and you’ll get real-time updates plus a pup report card so you know exactly what your fur-baby is up to.

What is doggy daycare?

You don’t have to be a “pawfessor” to work out what doggy daycare is — the name tells you pretty much everything you need to know. Doggy daycare is a lot like a boarding kennel, but for short-term stays instead. It’s a place where you can drop your dog off on your way to work in the a morning, then pick them up later in the day when you head home.

And while you’re slaving away at work, your dog gets to have a “grrreat” time enjoying some of their favorite activities.

For some dogs, that means playing with a whole lot of other pooches who are also staying at the daycare facility. For others, the highlight is one-on-one play with a member of the daycare staff. And with special toys, play equipment, and sometimes even pools for dogs to enjoy, it’s not like your pup will be slumming it while you’re at work.

Pros and cons of Wag! drop-ins

Is a Wag! drop-in the right choice for your dog? The answer really depends on your pup’s personality and your personal situation, but looking at the pros and cons of Wag! drop-ins vs. doggy daycare should help you decide.


  • Easy and convenient. Booking a Wag! drop-in through our app is a piece of cake. Just choose the date and time that suits your pup, and you can book on demand or schedule drop-ins in advance.

  • Affordable. Pet Caregivers on Wag! charge an average of $13–$16 for a 20-minute visit. That’s much cheaper than booking your pup in for a full day of doggy daycare.

  • One-on-one care. If your dog does best with one-on-one attention rather than a group daycare environment, they’ll love Wag! drop-ins. Best of all, you can tailor the visit to suit your dog’s needs.

  • 5-star Pet Caregivers. The experienced Pet Caregivers on Wag! are fully vetted and committed to giving your pup the best possible care.

  • Comforts of home. When you arrange a Wag! drop-in, your dog gets to stay comfy and cozy on their home turf. This is a big win for any pup that suffers from anxiety in unfamiliar situations.


  • 20 minutes may not be enough. A 20-minute visit may not be enough to satisfy your dog’s needs. If that’s the case, you may want to consider doggy daycare or book your dog in for a Wag! walk (more info on that further down the page).

  • Some dogs can benefit from socializing with other pups. If your pup loves being given the chance to socialize and play with other dogs, doggy daycare may be a better fit.

Pros and cons of doggy daycare

Doggy daycare also has its own benefits and drawbacks, so let’s look at the reasons why it may or may not be the ideal choice for your pup.


  • Socialization. Spending time at doggy daycare could give your pet the chance to play and interact with a whole lot of other pups, providing the perfect opportunity for them to work on their social skills.

  • Exercise and playtime. With special play areas, agility equipment, toys, and lots of other dogs to meet, daycare offers a great way for your dog to run off their excess energy.

  • Your dog is looked after all day long. If you’re facing a big day at work, daycare allows you to avoid leaving your pup on their lonesome all day long.

  • Plenty of options available. Most cities offer a wide range of doggy daycare facilities to choose from. And if you can find one that's conveniently located for your daily commute, even better. 


  • Can be overwhelming. Being sent into a daycare environment with a room full of unfamiliar dogs can be an intimidating and even overwhelming situation for many pups.

  • Unfamiliar environment. For nervous and anxious dogs, it can be hard to cope when thrown into a new and unfamiliar environment. If that’s the case for your pup, they might feel more comfortable staying at home.

  • Anonymity. Most doggy daycare centers specialize in group rather than one-on-one care. You can often book one-on-one play sessions for your dog, but they cost extra.

  • Expensive. While the cost of doggy daycare varies depending on where you live, it can be $40 a day or even more in some cases.

  • Inconvenient. While Wag! drop-ins offer the convenience of leaving your dog at home, choosing daycare means extra travel time as you drop off and pick up your dog on the way to and from work.

Other options to keep your dog busy during the day

Looking for something a bit longer than a Wag! drop-in to keep your dog entertained while you’re at work or if you’re going to be out of the house for a while? You can always level up to one of the other care options available on Wag!:

  • Book a dog walk. If your pup needs to burn some excess energy, book them in for a Wag! walk with a Pet Caregiver near you. Choose from a 20- or 30-minute stroll for pooches with average energy levels, or a deluxe 60-minute walk for the dog who’s always full of beans. You can use GPS technology to track your dog’s walk, plus you’ll get live photos and videos of your pup’s adventure.

  • Book overnight dog sitting. If you’re going away for 1 night or more, why not book overnight dog sitting with a Pet Caregiver on Wag!? This allows your pup to stay in comfortable and familiar surroundings while you’re gone, minimizing the risk of separation anxiety. And with the average cost of an overnight stay for one dog falling in the $39–$59 range, it’s an affordable alternative to boarding and other pet sitting services.

Which option is right for my dog?

The best person to answer this question is you. Take some time to consider your dog’s personality and care needs. For example, ask yourself:

  • How does my dog cope in an unfamiliar environment?

  • Do they like playing with new dogs?

  • What special requirements does my dog have (i.e., do they need to be given medication? Do they need regular potty breaks throughout the day?)

  • Would my dog prefer one-on-one care, or would they be happy being part of a group?

  • Where would I feel most comfortable leaving my dog for a day?

High-energy breeds who require a lot of exercise may prefer doggy daycare. Meanwhile, dogs who have separation anxiety or aren't fully socialized may feel best with drop-in visits from a Pet Caregiver.

At the same time, you’ll also need to take the cost into account. Think about how much you can afford to spend on care for your dog each week. This, along with your knowledge of the environment in which your pup will feel most comfortable, will help you decide on the right daycare option for your fur-baby.

If you’re searching for a convenient, affordable, and easy way to sort personalized care for your dog while you’re at work, book a drop-in with a Pet Caregiver on the Wag! app today.

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