What to Expect at a Dog Daycare

Thinking of placing your pet in dog daycare? If dog daycare is a new experience for you and your pup, we have put together a list of some common questions and basic information about this popular dog care service.

What is Dog Daycare?

Dog daycare is a fun, exciting way for your dog to play and socialize with other dogs. Usually, you drop your dog off for anywhere from a few hours to a full workday to a building. Some dog daycares have an outdoor play area while others do not.

Is Dog Daycare Right for my Dog?

First, let’s start by debunking a myth: doggy daycare is where you take your dog to learn socialization.

No, that is not where your dog goes to learn to socialize. Your dog should already be socialized. An unsocialized dog in a chaotic space with other dogs could spell trouble. So, if you are looking to teach your dog socialization, start with obedience training.

If your dog is lonely, needs more supervision, or more stimulation, then doggy daycare might be the right place for your dog.

Benefits of Doggy Daycare

There are so many wonderful benefits to dog daycare. Here are some of the most important reasons:

  • Confidence: Dog daycare can help shy dogs come out of their shell and gain some confidence around other dogs and people. They will learn to pick up on social cues they might never learn without being around other dogs.
  • Anxiety: Dogs stuck at home for too long tend to show some bad behaviors. We’re talking destruction such as going through the trash, chewing furniture, and scratching doors. In addition to destroying your home, they may hurt themselves doing these things. Plus, the added stress from separation anxiety could change your dog emotionally.
  • Exercise: Dogs need to exercise. If you have an energetic dog, dog daycare will give them the outlet they need to get it all out before coming home. As we will discuss later, your dog may come home very tired indeed!
  • Socialization: From puppy age, dogs need to learn how to socialize. Once they are ready for doggy daycare, this activity can be a great way for your dog to learn to socialize with other dogs and people. Even old dogs benefit from the activity and stimulation!

Preparing Your Dog for Daycare

Most doggy daycares will want to make sure your dog is healthy and updated on all their vaccinations before attending daycare. They will likely insist on proof of vaccination with a letter from your veterinarian.

Then, the daycare will want your dog to come in before their first day for a “trial.” These special few hours will gauge how well your dog will do in daycare. They will place your dog with other dogs for optimized socialization. Not all dogs get along, and most daycares have multiple dog groups where various dogs are placed together based on staff observations.

Lastly, you’ll want to tell the daycare center anything they need to know about your dog, like the need for snacks, medications, and other needs.

How Your Dog May Feel After Daycare

After daycare, your dog might act a little differently. Here’s what to expect:

Fatigue

Dogs playing all day get tired! When they come home, you can expect them to be tired.

The Occasional Ouchie

Dogs are rough. They play with claws and teeth. This is perfectly normal! If your dog is particularly active, you might notice some occasional ouchies.

Cooties

Like daycare for kids, dogs in daycare are more likely to get sick. While daycare centers work hard to clean the space and maintain safety protocols, a cold can make its way around the dogs. If you notice your dog isn’t feeling well, you should keep them home to avoid spreading the illness.

Hunger and Thirst

With all the extra exercise they are doing, your dog is likely to be hungrier and thirstier. So, make sure you have lots of water ready for them when they return home. While they were having a good time with their new friends, they may have forgotten to drink!

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