Best Doggy Daycare Review: 7 Pros/Cons to Look Out For

doggy daycare

According to the RSPCA, approximately 69% of Australian households own pets, with dogs being the most common (48%).  

A study investigated what 204 Swedish dog owners did with their dogs while they’re at work found. The survey revealed that 73% of owners left their dogs at home alone, 16% brought their dogs to work and 11% of owners used a doggy daycare. Doggy Daycare is become an increasingly popular solution in Australia for dog owners that spend a significant portion of their days at work.

People often want to have dogs but feel guilty when they aren’t able to spend adequate time with them during the day or when they have to travel. 

doggy daycare near me

Thankfully, dog daycare facilities have sprung up all over the country, and that can reduce the guilt pet parents feel when they have to leave their dogs alone for work.

What is a Doggy Daycare?

doggy daycare reviews

Doggy daycares provide a fun, safe, and stimulating environment for dogs during the day under the careful supervision of trained staff while their owners shop, work, travel, run errands, or go to non-dog-friendly spots.

Dog or doggy daycare, is quite like a child’s daycare centre. It ensures that your dog gets to play safely with other dogs. Some doggy daycares also provide toys, play equipment, snacks/meals, training, enrichment, structured activities, and naptimes for the dogs in their care.

Doggy daycare facilities vary greatly in the services they provide. Some facilities offer specialised services like overnight boarding, dog training, puppy pre-school, grooming, etc.

What Happens at Doggy Daycare? What is the Importance of Doggy Daycare?

best doggy daycare

A puppy daycare can be an important part of your dog’s routine. It can offer early enrichment and socialisation for your puppy. Your dog will learn a great deal at its doggy daycare. Typically, this includes

  • Supervised playtime with other dogs
  • Hugs and cuddles
  • Ball throwing and fetching, tug of war,
  • Sensory stimulation
  • Enrichment
  • Meals
  • Swimming sessions
  • Naps
  • Manners
  • Obedience training

Types of Doggy Daycares

dog boarding

There are different types of doggy daycares depending on their services:

Traditional Doggy Day Care

This type of daycare offers supervised play time for dogs during the day while their humans are at work. It can have indoor and outdoor play areas. Trained staff members provide care and supervision for dogs.

Doggy Day Care With Training

daycare for dogs

These doggy daycare facilities offer basic dog training (including crate and potty training) to their day-boarders. They may also offer customised training and activities based on the dog’s breed, age, etc. Your pet will learn various obedience commands like sit, stay, heel, etc.

Doggy Day Care With Grooming/Spa

These puppy daycare facilities offer spa and/or grooming services to their daycare residents – sometimes as an add-on at an extra charge. Grooming services typically include bathing, ear cleaning, hair trimming, nail care, anal gland expression, etc.

Home-Based Doggy Day Care

This is typically a small-scale business run out of someone’s place of residence. These facilities usually accept a limited number of dayboarders. 

They provide in-person attention to all their charges. Home-based doggy daycares should have a safe, fenced-in yard with climate-controlled indoor play and rest areas for dogs.

Indoor Doggy Day Care

This type of facility offers a large indoor space, often climate controlled, for dogs to play in. It is beneficial for dogs living in areas with extreme climate like our hot Australian Summers. Dogs may be housed in crates, kennels, or cages. Some of these commercial daycares take on many dogs at a time. They may also house cats and other domestic animals.

Outdoor Doggy Daycare/Adventure Camp for Dogs

doggy daycare farm trips

As the name indicates, this type of dog daycare is situated in large areas, typically farms or ranches. They may have a fenced-in play area for dogs to run around in. They could also arrange agility courses and play equipment for dogs. There may be shaded areas available for dogs to rest in.

Some outdoor doggy daycares arrange adventure camps, hikes, treks, and swimming for dogs. These are great for the dog’s mental and physical well-being and development.

Cage-Free Dog Daycare

These daycares do not confine dogs to crates or kennels. Dogs can roam freely and interact and play with other dogs. Such facilities may have different areas categorised as per the dogs’ age, size, breed, and temperament.

Overnight Dog Day Care/Pet Resorts/Staycations

These dog daycare facilities offer dayboarding as well as pet-hostel facilities for overnight stays when pet parents have to travel.

Non-Profit Doggy Daycare

Some animal shelters offer non-profit doggy daycares for people on road trips or those who cannot afford traditional or luxury dayboarding for their dogs. They charge a small fee for boarding your dog for the day.

What are The Pros and Cons of Dog Daycare?

puppy daycare

Pros

Your dog will benefit in numerous ways by spending time at a dog daycare:

  • Socialisation – Your pet will meet and greet other dogs at the doggy daycare. It will learn how to interact with dogs without biting, lunging, growling, etc. The company of other dogs can also prevent the loneliness and boredom which dogs face when they are left alone all day. This socialisation is especially critical for puppies aged between 12-17 weeks.
  • Training – some doggy daycare facilities may take care of dog training including crate training and potty training as well as basic obedience training.
  • Enrichment and desensitisation – your dog will get used to various sights, sounds, smells, and experiences. These experiences can shape it into a confident dog. This type of enrichment is crucial for your pet’s personality and also its overall mental well-being.
  • Prevention and management of behavioural issues  doggy daycare can be a blessing for dog parents looking to manage their pets with severe separation anxiety or other behavioural issues. You can even prevent these issues in the first place by enrolling your puppy in a doggy daycare from a young age.
  • Physical and mental stimulation – your puppy will be tired but happy at the end of the day spent at a doggy daycare. It will be thoroughly stimulated, both mentally and physically. This is essential for its overall health and well-being and may help prevent many canine diseases, including obesity.
  • Safety of dogs and property and peace of mind for you – By sending your dog to a dayboarding facility, you can prevent unwanted destruction of your property. Many dogs tend to chew things when left alone at home, and a doggy daycare can save you that hassle. This may even help you save money in the long run and could be crucial for your dog’s safety as well.

Cons

Sometimes, dog daycares could have certain disadvantages:

  • May overwhelm some sensitive dogs – some sensitive/timid/nervous dogs may find the environment at doggy daycares too stressful or overwhelming. In rare cases, they may develop negative associations with the facility or end up getting stressed or anxious due to their experience. Based on the experiences they have at the daycare, they may even become fearful, aggressive, or mistrusting.
  • Sickness/diseases – Although doggy daycares insist on only taking in vaccinated dogs, there may be some facilities that could end up with dogs with contagious health issues. Your dog is always at risk of catching something (diseases or parasites) from such places.
  • Contagious diseases can spread quickly through a Doggy Daycare facility due to the social mixing of dogs. An outbreak of Canine Oral Papillomavirus (CPV) at a Doggy Daycare resulted in 13 of 52 dogs becoming infected.
  • Picking up negative behaviours – some dogs pick up negative or unwanted behaviours at doggy daycares like jumping on other people and dogs, barking, lunging, snapping, growling, etc.
  • Lack of personal attention – overcrowded doggy daycares may not have adequate staff to pay attention to your pooch. This may not be an option for sick or old dogs that need timely care: medicine, food, walks, naps, etc.
  • Expense – Most doggy daycares charge on a per-diem basis. This can considerably increase your monthly budget, often running into hundreds or thousands of dollars. The expense will be even greater if the facility offers special services like spa, training, grooming, etc.

Does My Dog Enjoy Dog Daycare?

small dog daycare

Most dogs enjoy daycare if they are introduced to it properly. You can start with short sessions of a few hours and gradually increase the duration of the stay.

If yours is a social breed, such as a Labrador or a Golden Retriever, chances are that it loves the atmosphere and socialisation offered by the puppy daycare.

If your dog appears happy, excited, and eager to go to the daycare daily, then chances are that it enjoys the facility. It might calmly walk into the daycare and greet the staff members happily with lots of excited barks and tail wagging.

 If, on the other hand, your pet is not keen to go to the daycare, it might not get in the car and may even cry, whimper, or bark. It might also show its displeasure at being taken to the daycare by urinating indoors, hiding, running away, etc.

What are the disadvantages of doggy daycare?

Doggy Daycare centres can be run by people who are not experienced in dog behaviour and training. Because the dog training industry is not regulated, anyone can open a Doggy Daycare and in their attempts to start a profitable business, dogs can be traumatised. If dogs are allowed to run freely together and get overexcited this can lead to behaviour problems like poor recall and reactivity because dogs will start valuing playing with other dogs more than coming back to you.
Similarly, allowing all breeds of dog to run off leash, can lead to fights which can leave puppies traumatised and potentially leave them with life threatening injuries.

What is the best age to start doggy daycare?

puppy daycare near me

The best age to start Doggy Daycare is when your puppy is at least 12 weeks old and has had sufficient vaccinations to protect them from contagious and potentially deadly viruses such as Parvo. If your dog is a particularly small breed such as a chihuahua or cavoodle, make sure you find a doggy daycare that separates large dogs from small dogs, to prevent injuries.

Do dogs do well in daycare?

Some dogs love daycare while others are more sensitive and can be overwhelmed by the sound of barking dogs that are excited and anxious. The best doggy daycares will have separate spaces for non-sporting dogs (like bulldogs) that prefer quiet and for those higher energy dogs that like to move, chase and bark like working dogs.

How often do most dogs go to daycare?

For dog owners that work full time, their dogs can be in doggy daycare for up to 5 days a week. Others send their young dogs to daycare to socialise and expend excess energy. Other facilities offer structured daycare and spend their days training the dogs in their care and offering environmental enrichment activities and decompression time to rest and recover. Such daycares are often more expensive and have limited spots available with owners utilising such services 1-2 times per week.

Do dogs sleep at daycare?

The best doggy daycare services have private and quiet spaces (sometimes crates) where dogs and puppies can go to sleep. Dogs need around 16 hours of sleep each day and overtired dogs are not happy dogs. The best doggy daycare near you will provide time for your dog to play, some training, some mental stimulation and time to sleep and rest throughout the day.

What to do with new puppy while at work?

When you bring your puppy home commence crate training immediately to develop their skill of independence. Independence will be important for when you eventually need to leave your puppy alone for periods of time throughout the day and night.
Once your puppy is fully vaccinated you can enrol them in a doggy daycare near you. The best doggy daycares offer time for your puppy to play, rest, learn and socialise while you are at work.

What are doggy daycare farm trips?

Doggy daycare farm trips are rural facilities dedicated to providing a range of activities for puppies and dogs to enjoy. Primarily outdoors in a farm setting on acres where dogs can just be dogs – sniffing, digging, chasing and exploring. The benefit of farm stays is that dogs get to socialise and play in a peaceful open space. Many doggy daycares have limited space and can be overwhelming places that are stressful for many dogs.

Conclusion – Doggy Daycare

doggy daycare disadvantages

The AKC recommends that all dogs have a structured routine where they get timely meals, naps, exercise, socialisation, and enrichment. 

A good doggy daycare facility can offer all these things in a supervised and safe manner. Your pet can enjoy the company of other dogs and expend its energy through play and interaction. It might even learn good manners and obedience commands. 

Most importantly, it will not feel lonely or bored, which it otherwise would when left home alone all day.

If you’re wanting to raise your puppy to be calm and confident check out our online dog training course or book a consultation with one of our professional dog trainers -experienced in training puppies using positive reinforcement-based methods to guide you further.

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Hi! I’m Tres! I’m passionate about dog behaviour and training. My dog training methods are effective for all breeds and goals. I have trained dogs for protection, obedience, manners, loose leash walking, crate training and have solved common behaviour problems such as reactivity, barking, separation anxiety and more. Let’s connect, sign up to my free newsletter (above) for helpful tips and upcoming training events.
dog trainer Sydney
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Hi! I’m Tres! I’m passionate about dog behaviour and training. My dog training methods are effective for all breeds and goals. I have trained dogs for protection, obedience, manners, loose leash walking, crate training and have solved common behaviour problems such as reactivity, barking, separation anxiety and more. Let’s connect, sign up to my free newsletter (above) for helpful tips and upcoming training events.
dog trainer Sydney

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