How To Properly Prepare Your Dog for Doggy Daycare

Properly Preparing your Dog Ahead of Time

Many dog owners are usually looking for a way to socialize their new puppy, but you can most definitely enroll an older pup into a doggy daycare, too. It is true, though, that it is much easier to socialize a puppy for a setting such as daycare. The old saying, “you cant teach an old dog new tricks,” is true, but only to an extent. The statement has been proven to be wrong in all kinds of cases. Additionally, if you have an older pup that has a stronger bond to you, all things are possible. Before enrolling your dog into a doggy day care, there are specific things you must do to ensure their success ahead of time. Maybe, you feel uncertain about the destructive behavior that comes with separation anxiety when you have to leave him for a workday or many consecutive workdays. Perhaps you want to ensure that your pooch will have some mental stimulation through the day because you are a good pet parent. It is a good pet parent who thinks beyond his own situation to enroll his canine companion in a dog boarding facility or a doggy daycare. So, a good pet parent will do the things that will ensure the dog’s success, like socializing and teaching them the right moves before the big day of daycare!

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Socializing Your Pup

When you are presented the idea of socializing your dog, please do not arrive to an award ceremony with Fido all dressed up and expect the laws of humans. No, all it means to socialize your canine companion is to allow for situations to arise where he can practice his doggy manners. A perfect place in which your pup can flex his doggy manners would be a dog park or on a patio of your favorite dog friendly restaurant. Some pups learn faster than others, but they all will learn, eventually. Rushing the process will prove to be a waste of time and energy, and yes, you may have to cut playtime short at first. What you will gain, though, is dog who can pick up on situational and dog body language cues from their playmates. These are a lot of the same things we humans have to learn, and some still are not that great at picking up on those cues. Thankfully, after a short while at the dog park, or wherever you deem fit, your dog will successfully learn what other dogs expect to get from him. This is called socialization, and frankly, a little of socialization will be beneficial for a pup regardless of your original intent. Whether it be in preparation for doggy daycare or what have you, this is a key developmental process for any dog. Typically, in a puppy, a great time for this is around 8 weeks of age, but a dog that has never been properly socialized can still reap the many benefits of the process.

A Trip to the Vet for Doggy Daycare

We dog owners have all heard of the nightmare that is kennel cough. Fortunately some have not yet have been first-hand caretakers of a canine with the virus. Kennel cough is remarkably similar to the rhino virus that ails us humans from time to time. The good thing about the veterinarian who will see your pup prior to being enrolled into doggy care is that he or she will have the ability to prevent such viruses as kennel cough with a vaccine. Other vaccines are universally required for dog daycare and boarding a dog, like rabies refreshers, and a canine distemper shot. Moreover, the better boarding places and doggy daycares are going to require a written report from a licensed vet office before permitting any stays or days at daycare. Depending on your city or state, there may be more vaccine requirements for your pooch to enroll.

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Spay or Neuter Your Pet for Daycare

Moving on to a more controversial topic; spaying or neutering your pet. Most facilities will offer a grace period of up to a year old to have the procedure done before discontinuing their services. Of course, a post-op pup can then reinstate the terms of the same daycare, or you can use the recovery time to peruse new daycares for your him or her. A helpful word of advice, if you enrolled Fido in a good daycare to begin with, it may be best to stick with that one.  

Flea and Tick Treatment and Prevention

Most dog daycare and boarding facilities will ask you to keep a flea and tick regimen up for your pup, though at some places this is not a requirement. Even if you aren’t deciding on a potential place for your furry friend to go and make friends during the day, it would still be a good idea to treat or prevent any kinds of bugs who want to call their coat home. Those blood thirsty mother suckers really are very dangerous and can make a dog, or any animal, gravely ill if not treated or prevented in the first place. Really, any dog owner should already have a treatment and prevention plan and approved by the dog’s veterinarian. There are some great options for your special pup on the market nowadays like Frontline Plus and NexGuard. Speaking of pests, please make sure to deworm your dog prior to sending him or her off to daycare or a boarding facility. Intestinal parasites are extremely contagious and should be treated immediately after new sightings. Let’s face it, parasites are a pain in the anus – literally and figuratively speaking.

Frontline Plus Based on Your Dog’s Weight

Do Your Homework on Doggy Daycare Facilities

Not all dog daycare businesses are created equal! Don’t fret about it! In this article, you’ll see what you should expect out of a kennel and what you should not. You will be able to find a great kennel or doggy daycare from the information shared here! So, let’s get started!

The Doggy Daycare Business

There really aren’t a whole lot of standards or regulations in the kennel world, meaning just about anyone who has the money or credit to start up a doggy daycare or dog boarding business can. Let’s face the facts, some of these facilities are not even self-regulated, let alone regulated by anyone else. You ever wonder how many dogs should be assigned to one person at a kennel? Or what the daycare would do in a case of an accident or injury? Maybe what a nice daycare setting should look like? Well, we have your answers, and more.

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Ratios and First Aid Pertaining to Doggy Daycare

When you hear this, don’t be alarmed! It’s actually a good ratio, but when you find out that some kennels don’t abide by this, then you can totally sound the alarm! A national organization, The Pet Services Association, deems these following ratios good and fair: 15 dogs to a worker. This may seem like a lot, but there are exceptions for the more boisterous crowd of daycare pups and that is set at 10 dogs to 1 caretaker. Another change in the ratio is when a daycare attendee has the docile pups, he or she may then have up to 20 pups in their care. So now you can see how the ratios work and you know that it’s no 1:1 deal at daycare. Now, you can see the need to have capable and trained caretakers at your dog’s daycare in the event of an accident or emergency. Say a dog bites another dog in a rowdy exchange of growls over a toy. It would take a daycare worker who has the training to properly care for that dog’s wounds until a licensed vet arrives on scene. Take another scenario into account- this one a bit more scary. Say, a dog collapses to the floor and is listless and the daycare worker is not CPR and first aid trained! Would you want your dog to attend that doggy daycare? This training is vital to a great daycare for dogs; however, the unfortunate thing is that some of the doggy daycares and boarding facilities don’t train for that! When you are looking for a facility for your dog to be a member of, please be looking for the right credentials like first aid and CPR trained certifications, and know that the daycare has a vet on call or on the premises!

A Good Daycare or Kennel Facility

It will be very useful to your search for the perfect kennel or daycare for your dog to look at the local facilities’ images on their websites and related posts. That way you can see a number of things, like: how many pictures do they take with their pups? What does the location look like, and what fun and refreshing playthings do they have? Some locations may have big pools, while others have the children inflatable pools for the dogs to play in. Some daycares have inside and outside play areas while some have designated potty areas outside, but the dogs play inside. Another thing to ask to a daycare for your dog, “is this primarily a learning environment or a “pay-all-day-Free-for-All” kind of facility”. Some daycares are a free-for-all, but the good ones actually teach your dog commands and have a curriculum they use to show them positive reinforcement while they are learning new tricks. There is a load of things to see when you tour all of the doggy daycares you find suitable for your most loyal companion. When you go to any potential facility, there are a few areas to inspect.

A Good Ventilation System

A good ventilation system for a bunch of dogs is necessary for the way the kennel smells and for the dogs’ and the caretakers’ health. You’ve heard of kennel cough, right? Well it is an ever present danger in the midst of a kennel full of pups, and with poor ventilation, that risk is much higher. So, when you go on a tour of your chosen boarding facilities, be sure to check out the way the place keeps the air flowing. They can have a system of windows and doors that stay open, or they can have controlled air filtration system, and both are equally good systems. What you don’t want to be met with upon your turn for a tour is the overwhelming smells of dog or just few open windows. You can tell a poor ventilation system when you smell it!

Secured Dogs

At a doggy daycare, there should be ample security for those doggies that are an escape risk and for strange people who may up to no good. To begin with, the facility should a have a double gate around the perimeter for the Houdini type of pups who will hop a fence if given the chance. The double gate is a great system for keeping the doggies inside the property, and outsiders outside the property.

Safe Floors Inside and Proper Gating Before Playtime

What you will want to see when touring your potential daycare for your beloved pooch is safe floors like non-skid or non-slip flooring. Even where the dogs will play outside should be a heat resistant type of the ground like shredded rubber or mulch to keep the pups’ paws from being burnt by the hot sun shining down on the ground. Another thing you’ll be looking for is where the dogs wait to be let out to the play area, and how they organize who goes where. The daycare workers should let them out by a specific shared quality like size, but not necessarily by that alone. Dogs are grouped by temperament or intensity of their play style. We’ll get into that a bit further in a moment.

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Tours, Trials, Preparing for Tribulations at Doggy Daycare

When you have found a few of the places that really seem to be a good fit, that is when you give the places a call to schedule a guided tour. Just remember all the important things you’ve read here to ensure you are putting your little love bug in the best and most qualified hands while you are away.  Upon your tour of the hopeful facilities you will most likely be offered a trial day in whence a 24- hour period for a dog boarding place or a full day of the daycare’s hours for a chance to see how the other pups get on with your pup and to evaluate if a daycare setting is right for your dog. When you are prepared for the unthinkable, you are doing the most for your pup. It doesn’t mean that they will happen or that you are paranoid; it means you are properly prepared! Take this advice for a first aid kit for dogs attending doggy daycare.

The New Pup on the Block

Let’s assume you have had some good tours and maybe you are ready to let your big boy- or girl- to a trial or two. That’s awesome! You will be asked to leave Fido with them for a day. A good daycare will take your dog in the first day to do a temperament test, to see where he is a best fit among the other dogs who are there. After that initial assessment, you’ll find out the results when you come back to get him that same day. They will more than likely have a special place among common minded and similar sized pups for yours. With that you’ll be ready for Fluffy’s first day of “school!”

Pack The Pooch’s Bags Properly

 On the first day of dog daycare, bring along his food measured and separated into baggies, assuming your dog’s daycare allows food. Of the doggy daycares that permit dog food, some of them will provide the food themselves and prohibit your dog’s regular food. If this is not acceptable to you, you should go forth and ask all about their dog food and treads policies before making your decision on the best doggy daycare for you and your pup. You will want to bring any medications that your pooch will need on her stay and have written dosing instructions. To make the instructions on how to properly administer each dose is vital to your dog’s health and safety. Many of the dog boarding facilities will require you to keep the meds in a pill separator to keep things clear. If the chosen facility allows for toys and treats, be sure to pack the very favorites and enough treats for a whole lot of rewarding. A good dog daycare facility will give you a detailed report at the end of each stay. This report should include his good behavior and his unwanted behavior too, how well he ate, played and any concerns to be addressed.

Checking Up on Your Favorite Pooch at Daycare

With all the new technological advances, like the video doorbell and amazing resolution of the nanny cams these days, a good dog daycare facility will have an app or a special way to look in on your pup whilst at daycare. This is a great way to see how he’s behaving and how well all the dogs are getting along with your pooch.

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After a Long Day at Doggy Daycare

When you bring your favorite furry friend home from work and daycare, your pup should be relaxed and near ready for cuddles and bedtime. If your dog is acting restless or wired, the facility may not be enforcing naps. You should bring this to the attention of someone in control at the kennel to have it corrected right away. Dog naps are just as important as, say, a toddler’s naps. If the dog is not forced to rest for a while in the day, it can mean a whole a lot of frustration for you and your restless poochie. The suggested amount of stays at a daycare should not exceed 3 days a week and must have days that the pup will be at home to rest.

Doggy Daycare Beware

Remember when we discussed the inequalities among doggy daycare businesses? Well, here is further proof to you that it will pay off to do your due diligence to ensure that your dog is in good hands. It is not a good idea to enroll your little love bug into a dog boarding or daycare facility on a whim. This is a very executive decision to be made, so you must put the work into who takes care of Fluffy in your absence.

Signs of a Poorly Kept Doggy Daycare Business

No Show and Tell

Now, first thing’s first: if the facility is reluctant to show you around the grounds, you should take that as your first warning. A well-kept business will be happy to show all their parts of the daycare grounds. Having said that, even the slightest reluctance of showing every bit of what they have to offer is bad news.    

No Proof of Medical Records Needed

When you arrive with your dog’s proof of vaccinations or any other types of proof of treatments a dog has undergone for his health and they don’t ask for it right up front, that is a very bad sign. A kennel is a breeding ground for all types of bacteria and viruses. When no staff member ask you for your pet’s medical records, it is time you gather up your pup and run!

Foul Odors

When you are met with an overwhelming odor of dog and any type of stuff that may come out of a dog, run! A foul odor can mean that the facility is not properly maintaining their means of air circulation. It could also mean that the staff is not cleaning up any messes, or they are, just not correctly or thoroughly. A improperly kept dog daycare facility can cause a slew of illnesses for your pup!

No Emergency Plans

Any reputable dog boarding facility will have emergency plans for any type of emergency. If you don’t have a staff member who is not readily showing the plans to you at the time of your tour of the facility, this is not a very thoughtful or safe place to keep your dog. What happens if the facility catches fire, and they don’t have a plan? How much more likely is tragedy to strike? You see how these details are the things that make or break a dog daycare business.

Staff Denied Access to Good Training

The staff are the bloodline of the business; they show up and take good care of each of the dogs every day. How important is it, though, to have well-trained staff members in things like CPR and resuscitation or first aid? Well, how important is it to you to feel that the ones who care for your dog are capable of intervening in any type of emergency? Of course, that should be a resounding YES! Some of the doggy daycare business practices are weak in that respect, but your job is to find a business that actually has an employee trained in all emergencies upon their hire.

Mixed Play Groups or Free-for-All

When an agency is perhaps short staffed or not worried about the safety of the dogs, they find it easier to mix groups together or just have a free-for-all. This is completely absurd and downright dangerous! Do yourself and your pup a solid and ditch this daycare.

puppy chewing on rope hybrid dog toy
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Close Quarters

A small doggy daycare or dog boarding facility is not necessarily a no-no from the start, but there must be a limit to the number of pups they care for. Dogs need to have enough space for them to not feel like they are in a cage. A good daycare will have enough wide-open space for all the pups they care for. More importantly is the enclosures and fences are tall enough to mitigate the gymnasts and the houdinis of the group!

No Report Cards

A dog needs his report card to be able to fill you in on how the day went. The staff member who is in charge of your pups’ playgroup should be able to tell you things like: who was her bestie today, or who has had it out with him today? It should also tell you if she ate enough or took a good nap.

Alternatives to Doggy Daycare

If at the end of this whole article, you are not feeling the doggy daycare or dog boarding idea, that is perfectly fine. We have you covered with all kinds of options! If you think maybe a shorter day with more curriculum and structure for a puppy, then you can see about a puppy preschool. However, if your dog is past 6 months old, you may consider a pet sitter or house sitter. A dog walker can do amazing things for your dog, assuming the dog can behave between you leaving for work and the dog walker coming over. Another cool option is the home-based daycare where you can have all the benefits of a daycare, but a smaller and a more intimate relationship with the daycare owner. And if nothing else, you can always enlist the help of a dog trainer, to teach your dog his manners and commands. This will be so beneficial if you would rather your pup stay at home in a quiet designated space, while you are out of the house. This, though, is not an option if you are planning to leave her there while you are on a vacation. A dog can’t be left all by himself longer than a workday’s time.

How To Properly Prepare Your Dog for Doggy Daycare?

After all of the available information is laid out for you, you can more easily see what is best for you and your pooch, and it may mean that you want to have care for your dog while you’re away . If the answer is doggy daycare, the way to properly prepare you and your pup is by starting with discovering good solid research like this and to begin the socialization process. The next steps in properly preparing for a doggy daycare is to take the solid research and use it when applying and touring the daycares you’ve found. This is an arduous task, so please don’t take it lightly. If you put your dog in the care of a poorly kept dog boarding facility, you could be leaving her or him exposed and vulnerable to the viruses like kennel cough or another dog at the daycare or kennel attacking or biting your pup. What’s more is that in a kennel that has no real standards and don’t require medical records and a dog and bites your dog and is has not received a rabies shot in a certain amount of time from the last one, your dog can potentially become rabid, himself! There are plenty of kennels and dog daycares out there that are well-maintained and all-around great, you just have to dig deep and find them. They are around, and don’t forget your research and make a checklist if it would help you in your search for the perfect doggy daycare.

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