You’ve heard of daycare for children, but have you considered using the same type of services for your dog? Canine daycare has been growing in popularity as more pet owners recognize the many benefits of providing structure, companionship and socialization for their dogs instead of leaving them alone during the day.
A Growing Field
The first dog care facilities came into being about a decade ago and initially, offered basic care and interaction with other dogs. In the past few years, the offerings at some pet facilities has grown beyond the basics to include all sorts of pampering, including grooming, “spa” treatments such as pet massage and aromatherapy, gourmet snacks and accessories, opportunities for individualized attention, obedience training and organized “play” groups with other pets. In fact, if money is no option, there is no end to the type of spoiling your lucky pet can get.
The Need That Exists
If you think that investing in doggy daycare sounds like an extravagance, you may have a dog that does well on his or her own and doesn’t need anyone to fill in while you are gone. But keep in mind that some pets with working owners crave interaction during the day and when left alone, get overly anxious and even destructive in the home and may bark and howl all day. By providing a safe and nurturing alternative environment to fill in while you are away, however, you can head off some of this negative behavior and make things better for you and your dog. In addition, doggy daycare allows your dog to get enough exercise and activity during the day so he or she will sleep well at night, and it also can provide an important opportunity for your pet to learn to socialize appropriately with other dogs.
Doggy daycare comes in all shapes and sizes. The perfect fit for you and your dog will depend on your budget, your schedule and your pet’s temperament. For instance, some dogs do best simply going to a private home, where all they need is a little human companionship and occasional walks. Other, more active dogs may be better served in a formal daycare facility that provides a structured routine with a large group of other pets and also offers designated space for activities including indoor and outdoor play, resting and meals. In addition, some owners prefer to hire a pet sitter to come to their own home and interact with the dog in his or her comfortable setting. Finally, you can find a variety of pet care services offering through some veterinarians’ offices, kennels, pet stores and grooming salons.
Weighing The Options
If you aren’t sure what type of daycare option would be the best choice for your dog, you may want to weigh the pros and cons of a few of the most common scenarios.
Private Doggy Daycares
For instance, if you are thinking of trying a daycare that is run in someone else’s home, keep in mind that home-based programs are usually less expensive than more formal options that incur more overhead. In addition, home-based pet care usually limits the number of dogs who can participate at one time and provides many opportunities for human contact and one-on-one attention throughout the day that can be valuable for sensitive or high-needs pets.