Fetch some fun: How to choose the ‘paw-fect’ day care for your dog

With a multitude of options available, choosing the right day care for your four-legged friend can seem overwhelming

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For busy pup parents, dog day care can be a life-saver. From providing a safe and engaging environment to offering a range of benefits like exercise and socialization, dog day care helps ease owners' minds while keeping furry friends active and stimulated.

With a multitude of options available, choosing the right day care for your four-legged friend can seem overwhelming. Not only that, but suitable day care has to also provide a proper diet and appropriate regular exercise for your dog, which the American Kennel Club said, along with grooming and routine checkups, are necessary for your dog's health.

How to make sure which day care is a good fit for your dog? Read on for tips on choosing the right day care for your furry companions.

What is dog day care?

Dog day care offers a multitude of services that share some similarities with day care for children, except it is for canines. Day care facilities provide short-term, daytime care for dogs when owners are busy at work or otherwise occupied. A typical day care usually has designated play areas, either indoor or outdoor, that help stimulate social engagement and physical activities for pups. Owners have the options to choose between a full day and a half day for their dogs.

While dog day care doesn't come cheap — at $12-38 per full day and $6-25 per half day, according to DaySmart Pet — it comes with many benefits such as socialization, physical and mental stimulation, and in some cases, relieves separation anxiety.

What to look for when selecting a dog day care

According to the Professional Animal Care Certification Council, some things to look for when selecting a dog day care include the facility's cleanliness, whether it has secure fencing, if the area is hazard-free, and the staff-to-dog ratio.

The AKC provided a list of questions about day care centers that owners may find useful in their quest for the perfect facility. For instance, "What kind of training does the staff have?"

Staff qualification is an important factor to keep in mind, since the employees should have been trained in animal behavior, basic care, and safety procedures, according to the AKC. Trained professionals are crucial as they are also responsible for the well-being and safety of the pups while providing them with the necessary mental and physical stimulation throughout the day.

Similarly, the staff-to-dog ratio affects whether your pet gets sufficient attention and care. A high staff-to-dog ratio means each dog receives personalized supervision, proper attention, and a tailored experience that can contribute to their well-being while they're away from home.

Alternatives to dog day care

If dog day care doesn't seem like the best fit for you and your pup, there are other alternatives to meet your pet's needs such as dog walking, in-home pet services, or dog boarding. Choosing the "paw-fect" option helps ensure your dog's safety and well-being in your absence.

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