It’s not true that you can’t adopt a dog if you work long hours. But although it doesn’t mean you can’t be a responsible dog owner, it means you’ll need some extra support to ensure your dog has plenty of opportunities to exercise. One way a lot of dog parents do this is by hiring doggy daycare services.
When hiring a dog daycare service, dog owners will leave their furry friends at daycare while they’re working instead of leaving them home alone. That way, owners don’t need to worry about rushing home because their dogs need a potty break.
However, while the idea of daycare for dogs may seem exciting for us, it’s not always the best choice for a dog. By knowing the risks and benefits of doggy daycare in advance, you can make an informed decision as to if it’s a great fit for your furry friend.
5 benefits of doggy daycare
Let’s start by analyzing the benefits of doggy daycare. You may already know about most of them and others can be new to you. The main benefits are:
- Exercise: most daycare facilities have play areas where dogs have the chance to play and run around for hours. Besides physical exercise, most facilities also have interactive toys lying around and staff that can help provide some mental stimulation. This means that, at the end of a long day in daycare, your dog will be so exhausted, it’ll just sleep in the rest of the day.
- Socialization: your dog won’t be the only one in daycare which means there’ll be plenty of opportunities to spend time and socialize with other dogs of all shapes and sizes. This is also a great mental exercise for your dog and a way for it to develop social skills.
- Trained staff for constant supervision: picking up on the first two benefits, one thing that is crucial when your dog is playing and interacting with other dogs, is to have trained staff to supervise everything. That way, they can prevent any behavioral problems such as aggression or any dangerous play which will help keep every dog safe.
- Peace of mind: besides knowing that your dog is being watched and having fun, if your dog tends to suffer from separation anxiety, you’ll know that your house will also be safe from any destructive behavior. Besides, it will give your dog some fun time away from you which will help it understand that it’s ok to not have you around all the time.
- Flexible schedules that fit your needs: most daycare facilities allow for full days as well as half days. That way you can arrange it so you leave your dog at daycare whenever is most convenient for you.
5 risks of doggy daycare
At this point, the benefits of doggy daycare may have you thinking that it’s the best thing in the world and you’d be crazy not to sign your dog up for it. But the truth is that not every dog will enjoy it and there are some downsides to it. Here are the biggest ones:
- Higher chance of injuries and illness: because your dog is going to spend more time around other dogs, there’s a higher risk of a disease spreading, such as kennel cough, or picking up parasites such as fleas. Most daycare facilities prevent this by requiring all dogs to be vaccinated, including against kennel cough. Also, there’s a slight risk of injury as dogs can hurt themselves during playtime or get into a fight.
- Too much excitement for some dogs: for dogs that already tend to be nervous and overly excited, it’s possible that a doggy daycare can make matters worse by feeding that behavior instead of controlling it.
- The cost can add up: the costs of a doggy daycare range from $12 to $38 for a full day, which can add up especially if you’re looking to have your dog there 5 days per week. It can be a heavy burden on the household budget.
- Risk of picking up or worsening behavioral problems: some behavioral issues such as jumping on people can get worse in daycare and, as dogs tend to learn from others, there’s a risk that they pick up behavioral issues from other dogs. Besides, if your dog starts getting annoyed at others, it can develop a habit of growling at other dogs and feeling like it has to defend itself which can be the start of aggression issues.
- Too much stress for fearful dogs: not all dogs enjoy playing and running. Some dogs have a tendency to be fearful. In these cases, all the excitement of a doggy daycare can scare them and make them nervous, anxious, and even start displaying aggressive behavior. These dogs usually end up exhausted as well but due to stress and fear and not because they had fun.
How do you know if doggy daycare is a good fit for your dog?
When making a final decision, make sure you’re considering it from your dog’s point of view. It should be something that is in your dog’s best interest. To make it easier for you to assess whether doggy daycare is a good fit for your dog or not, here’s a list that may help you make that decision. You should sign up your dog for daycare if:
- You work long hours.
- You have a social dog with a high tolerance for rude behavior from other dogs.
- Your dog has medium to high energy levels.
- You have a confident dog that can stand up for itself.
However, if you have a mellow dog that enjoys lounging around on the couch in a calm environment, then doggy daycare may not be the best option. In this case, consider hiring a dog walker instead. A dog walker will be able to take your dog out for walks without all the fuss of doggy daycare.
Making sense of it all
Right off the bat, dog owners may assume that there are only benefits to hiring doggy daycare services. Although they’re great for social and energetic dogs, not all dogs are like that and the final decision should be made with your dog’s unique personality in mind.
Most of the risks explained in this article can also be reduced depending on the facility’s conditions which means that research is a crucial part when picking the right place for your dog. Having well-trained staff and tight admission requirements is an important part when it comes to keeping a safe and healthy environment. So make sure you ask all the questions you need to before hiring these services.
If you end up deciding that daycare isn’t a good option for you, it’s ok! There are other options you can choose from, including a dog walker or sitter.