If you’re headed back to the office and don’t want to leave your dog at home alone all day, consider doggie daycare. It’s a great option for busy pet parents who want their dogs to spend time socializing with other dogs, get some exercise during the day, and enjoy themselves while they’re away at work. We put together a list of everything you should keep in mind before you bring your dog to daycare for the first time.
Why Dog Daycare?
To some, doggie daycare seems like overkill, but for others, it’s become an essential part of their dog’s life. And that’s because of the many benefits that dog daycare can provide. It’s a great way to help your pet learn how to socialize with other dogs in an environment that is supervised and a bit more structured than the free-for-all that is so often the dog park!
But socialization isn’t the only thing your dog has to gain from daycare. It also beats boredom and can help with the many behavioral issues that can stem from boredom. If your pup is anxious when left at home or bored, there’s no telling what you might come home to. While chewing up a roll of toilet paper is pretty harmless, breaking into the garbage and eating something toxic can be dangerous. So can many other behaviors associated with stressed pats, which is why it’s important to help keep your dog engaged and entertained during the day. Daycare is a great way to do so.
Dog daycare can help your pet get regular exercise, as well. Exercise is essential to your dog’s overall wellness and it can be tough to get outside and go for a walk every day when you have to commute to the office. Daycare helps ensure your dog never misses out on activity!
Choosing A Dog Daycare
It can seem overwhelming to try to choose the perfect daycare for your dog — there are more options than ever! Keep these things in mind while you’re considering locations for your dog. They will help you choose a facility that is safe and suitable for your dog.
Make An In-Person Visit: Do not choose a daycare for your dog without visiting it first. No matter how great a place looks online, it’s important to check things out for yourself and for you to make sure it lives up to your expectations. Many facilities also allow dogs to come along for visits so you can see what your pup’s first impression of the space is, as well.
Keep your dog’s needs in mind: There are all different kinds of daycare facilities that are appropriate for different dogs. Some include training sessions during the day, others include obstacle courses and coursework during the day while others still have smaller, quieter spaces for mellow dogs. Choose a daycare that fits your dog’s needs.
Check for certifications & safety: You want to feel good about the daycare you’re leaving your dog at all day, so it’s essential to look for facilities that have trained and certified staff. It’s also a good idea to ask about cleaning practices and the safety checks that are in place so you know your dog will be in good hands while you are away.
Ask about staffing: Your dog should always be supervised while at daycare, so you may want to ask about how many staff there will be on hand and the staff-to-dog ratio at a facility before you decide to bring your dog there.
Make sure there are health services: Accidents happen, no matter how careful you are with your dog — and the same is true at daycare. Make sure the facility has an emergency plan and access to health services in the event that your dog does get hurt while at doggie daycare.
Ask about the hours: If you are planning to drop your dog off on your way to work and pick him up at the end of the day, make sure you know the daycare’s hours. Some charge extra if you are unable to pick up your pet after a certain time and others still require an overnight stay if you can’t come back to the facility before evening. Be sure your schedule can accommodate the hours of the facility!
Ask what’s included: While this might seem obvious, all daycare facilities function very differently so it’s best to clarify everything you can think of upfront. Make sure you ask what is included in the price and the cost of any and all add-ons.
What’s required? Many daycare facilities require vaccinations and up-to-date Vet records on hand. Find this out beforehand so you’re not surprised and without the proper paperwork on your dog’s first day. Many daycares also require dogs to pass a socialization test and/or have a trial session before they are welcome for regular daycare sessions. It’s a good idea to ask about all of this so you can make sure your dog is prepared for his first day of daycare.
How To Prepare Your Pet For Doggie Daycare
Once you have picked the perfect daycare for your dog, it’s time to get him ready for his big day away from home. If your pup isn’t used to spending time outside of the home without you, it’s a good idea to start slowly and try daycare for a few hours or a half-day instead of diving in with a full-day stay right off the bat! Here are some other things to help you prep your pet:
Practice the basics: As mentioned, your dog will probably have to pass a socialization test that includes general and basic commands. Brush up on your dog’s obedience before you drop him off for the first day so he’ll pass his test with flying colors!
Get to the Vet: You want to make sure your dog is at his healthiest before heading to daycare for the first time. He should be up to date on all medications but should also be checked for his overall wellness.
Gear up: Make sure your dog has the proper identification to keep him safe while at daycare. Microchips make it easy to know your dog is always identifiable in case of emergency, but at the very least your dog should be wearing a collar with ID tags.
Pack your dog’s favorites: Make sure you send your dog to daycare with something that will bring him comfort in case he is missing you during the day! This could be his favorite toy, treats, or something that smells like you that he can snuggle up with when he needs some comfort.
Feed a calming chew: According to Chris Vanderhoof, DVM, MPH, there are several ingredients you can look for in a supplement that will have a calming effect on your dog. “These include melatonin, L-tryptophan, chamomile, among others,” Vanderhoof said. They, “can be used before planned events, or as a daily supplement to help with stress and anxiety.” Consider adding a calming supplement to your dog’s diet the night before or morning of his first visit to daycare to help with any stress or anxiousness he might be feeling.
Pet Honesty Calming Products To Feed Before A Day At Daycare
To help your dog keep his cool before a day at doggie daycare, try feeding him a calming treat. Choose Calming Hemp Chews or Premium Hemp Calming Chews, both are packed with soothing ingredients that are designed to work together to help your pet handle stressful situations. These include hemp, chamomile, valerian root, and more.