Should You Take Your Dog to Doggy Daycare?

Enrolling your dog in daycare might make both your lives easier and happier!

Feb 19, 2024byJessica Montes
should you take your dog to doggy daycare

Roll call! Bark-tholemew, Max, and Luna, are you ready for doggy daycare? Depending on your free time and responsibilities, along with your pet’s energy levels and friendliness toward others, it might be time to book an appointment. We’ll cover the benefits, services, tips, and requirements below.

The Doggy Daycare Experience

Dogs playing
Photo by Adelaidasofia | Pawliday Inn

In some ways, doggy daycare is identical to daycare for toddlers. It’s a safe, supervised space for the little ones to socialize, do fun activities, play outside, eat snacks, and take naps. Your (fur) baby has a blast while you work, run long errands, or are out of town. Daycares have half-day options, one-day plans, or you can sign up for a week or month-long package. There are toys, play and run areas, pet-friendly spaces, treats, and energetic puppies around every corner.

Some centers even offer a free trial day. This way, your pup gets a feel for the space, and the staff can report on how well they adjusted to the routine.

Daycare Offers Both Supervision and Socialization

Photo by Great Neck Doggie Daycare

The major pro of enrolling your pup in doggy daycare is the supervision and socialization. If your dog spends most days home alone and shows common behavior problems (like chewing everything in sight), that’s an issue. They are most likely bored, lonely, anxious, not getting enough exercise, or a combo of all four. Daycare lets dogs interact with kind humans who will keep an eye out for any naughty chewing habits. Unlike being home unsupervised, staff can interfere and redirect a dog’s attention.

As a bonus, dogs can make friends with dozens of other pets. They can play, chase, or hang out with canines of all sizes. Unless you frequently visit dog parks or have a foster program, this is one of the few times your dog will be surrounded by their own kind!

Your Dog Can Let Out the Zoomies

Dogs running
Photo by Affectionate Pet Care

Even some of the most loyal of owners can’t always keep up with their dog’s energy. Good or not-so-great surprises happen, and lifestyles change, but your dog still scratches at the door for their daily walks. Or you realize your new dog needs more exercise than you expected. Whatever the situation, doggy daycares help your pet release their zoomies. Imagine a more secure dog park plus extra perks like indoor play areas with AC and a pool for hot summer days. Dogs can tire themselves out by leaping around with friends and playing with all the new toys for hours.

These centers are also nice alternatives if you have a smaller living space or don’t have an enclosed outdoor area. With doggy daycare, they’ll have plenty of space to run around.

Additional Services Some Daycares Offer

Dog grooming
Photo by Goochie Poochie Grooming

Doggy daycares have additional services that can help you and your pup take advantage of their time away. This works because your doggo is familiar with the location and people. So, you don’t have to get them comfortable with new spaces or faces.

Some daycares also offer dog hotels or longer-term boarding. They receive the same playtime as their daycare schedule, meals, a cozy bed, and depending on the package, other perks like 1-on-1 play or treats.

Your pup could also benefit from daycare training. They can teach basic commands (sit, stay, come here) and will create a game plan based on your desired outcomes. This works for busy owners or those who haven’t had success with tricks and training.

For the ultimate pampering experience, look for daycares with spa services. Groomers have the tools (and patience!) to brush and bathe doggos, clean their ears, and trim their nails.

What Are the Qualifications for Doggy Daycare Campers?

Dog play area
Photo by Karlosonos

Before scheduling your first appointment, make sure your dog passes the list of requirements. This can vary from center to center, but one common thing is all dogs over six months must be spayed or neutered. Doggy daycares might also ask for vaccinations for rabies, distemper, and other common health conditions. Ask about vaccine requirements before booking a session.

To keep centers as accident-free as possible, many have policies about permanently removing dogs with repeated problem behaviors. These include:

  • Starting fights
  • Bullying other dogs
  • Not allowing themselves to be handled by staff
  • Trying to attack the staff
  • Not recognizing their name (especially in dangerous situations)

Even if your pup has excellent manners at home, their behavior and mindset can change once surrounded by dozens of dogs with communal spaces and toys.

How Do I Find a Reputable Daycare?

Doggy day care
Photo by Adelaidasofia | Pawliday Inn

Unless there are thousands of five-star reviews, you probably wouldn’t leave your pup with the first place that pops up on Google. Finding a reputable daycare takes research and considering your pup’s needs. Ideally, they will feel just as comfortable (if not more) as being at home. A doggy daycare employee might not know every detail about your dog’s breed, but they should listen to what your pup needs the most. Here are a few green flags to look out for:

  • A clean, spacious facility
  • Indoor and outdoor play areas
  • Knowledgeable, friendly staff
  • Happy, excited dogs
  • Discounts for multiple visits
  • Excellent reviews

You can also ask for recommendations from friends, family, or fellow dog owners on social media. Once you’ve picked a center, call with any questions, and ask about a free trial day to test out the service.

Verdict: Does My Pet Need Doggy Daycare?

Dogs outside
Photo by Magda Ehlers

The final answer depends on your lifestyle, schedule, and dog’s needs. If you work from home, go on daily walks, schedule doggy playdates, and your pup is happy as a clam, you probably don’t need daycare. On the other hand, if you don’t have time to meet your dog’s physical needs or they are regularly left alone and create messes, they need more outside time.

Remember that you can always start or stop going as well. You can use it only when you leave on vacation or as a backup when the pet walker cancels. If you only booked a few weeks of training sessions, and your pup is now your new sidekick, feel free to stop using the service. It’s a good option to have supervised play, but not all dogs need it.

Jessica Montes
byJessica Montes

Jessica is a California-based writer, journalist, lover of animals, and vegan of 17 years. Growing up, she owned parakeets, fish, a rabbit, and a red-eared slider turtle. She currently has a black cat named Marty and a tabby named Jellybean. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, camping, and roller skating to funky tunes.