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Although we love spending time with our pets, being with them 24/7 just isn’t possible – and with many of us having to go to work during the day, leaving our dogs alone at home for more than four hours wouldn’t be fair. So, is there another option? In this article, James Wellbeloved investigate the relatively new concept of doggy daycare and offer advice on whether it might suit you and your dog.

What is doggy daycare?

Doggy daycare is a fairly recent phenomenon in the UK but has been growing in popularity over the last few years. Doggy daycare centres offer short-term boarding for dogs, typically during the day while owners are at work. Like pet-sitting services, owners drop their dog off in the morning and collect them later the same day. Daycare staff are responsible for entertaining, feeding and looking after the dogs until their owners come back in the afternoon or evening.

What are the benefits?

Doggy daycare is a great opportunity for dogs to meet new people and pets and have some fun. You can rest assured that your dog is getting the mental stimulation, exercise and entertainment they need to be happy and healthy. Daycare can help your dog burn off excess energy during the day, especially for younger or more spirited dogs. Furthermore, if you have a younger dog, puppy daycare can be a fantastic way to maintain their socialisation and get them used to interacting with other dogs, developing key social skills along the way.

Would doggy daycare suit my dog?

If you have a dog but must spend longer periods of time out of the house during the day – especially more than four hours – then doggy daycare might be a good option. However, daycare doesn’t suit every dog. For example, if you have a particularly shy or nervous dog, or one that doesn’t get on well with other animals, they may not be a suitable candidate. Doggy daycare centres usually arrange an appointment with you beforehand to meet your dog and assess whether they would be a good fit. Once approved, you can either set up a regular schedule with the centre or arrange to bring your dog in as and when you require the service.

What does my dog need to go to daycare?

Before heading to daycare, you’ll need to make sure your dog’s vaccinations are all up to date and that they have been dewormed. If you have a puppy, check which vaccinations they need to get before they can attend. Reputable daycare centres should ask you to provide proof of vaccination schedules and worming treatment.

Your dog will also need to be socialised before you put them in this sort of environment, so take steps to ensure they are comfortable being around other people and pets first. It may also be a good idea to teach your dog a few basic commands to ensure that any staff at the daycare centre can easily keep your dog under control. Unruly and disobedient dogs may not be asked back!

What makes a good doggy daycare?

When choosing which daycare centre to take your dog to, there are a few things you should look out for. Are the staff friendly, open and transparent? You’ll want any establishment looking after your canine friend to be honest about how they are getting on and voice any problems or concerns, as well as answer any questions you have. Always make sure to ask what the emergency process is if your dog gets sick or is injured.

It’s also a good idea to have a look at the daycare environment itself. Is everything clean and sanitised? Do the dogs there seem happy and relaxed? If so, it’s likely to be a good place to let your dog socialise for a few hours.

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