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Buster’s Vision Education Tool

Pet Daycare

Where Will Your Pet Stay? When You’re Away?

By Ankita Mukherjee, “Rescue the Mistreated, Save the Injured, Love the Abandoned”
Editor, Meet Gulati

May 2, 2017

Things You Need to Know

Everything you need to know about Pet Daycare, Pet Playground, Pet Handlers, Pet Daycare Costs, and much more.
Do your research on Pet Daycare Tragedies to protect the safety of your pet.

Trusting someone with your pet for a day or more shouldn’t be a last-minute decision. You don’t want to be worried sick about your fur-baby while at work. Start now. Research in advance. Choose the right Daycare for your pet.

Luxury Day Care?

If you google “pet daycare”, you’ll come across a number of ads promising,  “A luxury experience for your furry family” or “Your pet’s perfect vacation”. The question is: Would you buy into these ads?  Across the United States, pet daycares are a flourishing industry. They are offering you pet supervision, care, playmates, training, grooming, walking services, and more. Most have hours similar to child day care centers. You drop your pet off before going to work, you pick your pet up afterward. Some operate for longer hours but may charge more. If you’re going away or traveling, you may also want to look into pet hotels.

Pet Daycare Accidents Pet Daycare Pet Daycare Costs

Things to Ponder

Before deciding on ‘which’ daycare to choose for your pet there are a number of questions to ponder about pet daycare.

  • Is pet daycare an option you would consider? Are you comfortable trusting your pet with strangers? Would you rather keep them in the safety of your home? Whether or not you decide on a daycare, you must make your home pet-friendly.   
  • Will your pet be comfortable in a daycare?
  • Are all daycares equal?
  • Are there some basic services a daycare should provide for both pets and owners?

The answer to all these questions can be summarized in two words, ” It depends”! Actually, there’s more to finding a safe pet daycare!

Is your Pet Social?

One must understand pet daycare is a place for social dogs. In fact, social play is one of the main reasons many people enroll their dogs in daycare. But that may not be the case for every dog. A pet daycare is an ideal place for an active puppy to spend the day. For a calm dog, it could be an exhausting experience. Also, remember your pet’s behavior may not be as jovial at the daycare as when they’re with you. Do not mistake a tired dog for a happy dog. They could be irritated and unhappy or just relieved to see you at the end of an unpleasant day. A good daycare staff should recognize a happy or unhappy pet. They should provide them with a good balance of relaxed play, a timeout, a change of pace, or space when needed. Remember to ask the daycare facilities about their playtime processes.

Cats may Prefer a Calm, Quiet Atmosphere

Unlike dogs, cats prefer a calm and quiet atmosphere. Many tend to get anxious in new environments, which can lead to serious health issues. Cats generally prefer perches or higher sitting areas in unfamiliar surroundings so you may want to check the arrangements the daycare offers before deciding on one.

Cat Environment
Look Beyond the “Bells and Whistles” in Ads

Unfortunately, what most daycares highlight on their websites are  bells and whistles. For instance, climate control, dog games, unique flooring or even background music. However, they’re silent on ethnological and organizational considerations. Such as daily play and rest schedules, handling techniques, procedures for introducing new dogs to the group, criteria for putting dogs in groups, handler-to-dog ratios, access to outdoor space and staff first-aid training. These may seem less flashy but are more relevant to your pet’s welfare.

Pet Daycare Tragedies

Every daycare may claim to be the perfect one for your pet. Regardless, it’s best to tour the facility beforehand. Constantly look out for signs of negligence even when you’ve chosen a pet daycare. You don’t want the staff’s lack of training or mistakes to turn into a tragedy for your pet and yourself. Following are two painful accounts of pet owners. Let this be a lesson for both pet daycares and pet owners and please be cautious.

Mouffle’s Tragedy

The story of Mouffie was equally alarming and tragic. Morris, a Mount Pleasant woman from Charleston, S.C said her dog’s lifeless body was handed to her wrapped in a towel after a day at their doggie daycare, “My Three Dogs”. She says her dog did not have a history of seizures and believes her dog lost breath after being bitten by another dog. Claiming that no one at the doggy daycare attempted pet CPR on Mouffie. She started a petition for state regulation that makes it mandatory for all day care center staff to all be certified in pet CPR. “To lose a pet is hard. To lose a pet in a tragic incident is harder and to have someone thrust my dog with me in a parking lot in a towel is just too much!” Morris said to the news channel.

Zane’s Tragic Tale

Zane’s story is another tragic tale of negligence that cost a dog its life. The story drew attention to the fact that there are few laws governing pet daycares, and in some states, none. According to Live5news, what happened to Zane (the dog) was captured on the daycare’s web camera video. A copy was supplied by Mount Pleasant Police. The footage shows Zane checking out an empty metal dog pool propped up against the daycare’s fence, while an employee is in the vicinity. Zane finds an opening and goes inside the pool. Suddenly, the pool falls on Zane, covering him up entirely. It appears that no one saw it happen. Five hours later, the video shows an employee pulling up the pool and finding Zane. The veterinarian’s report stated, “death due to physical suffocation from the weight of the pool, compounded by hours in the sun post-mortem.”

Adequate Regulations?

Regulations or no regulations, it’s up to us as pet owners to ensure that our pets are getting the adequate attention and care at the daycare.

Questions You Must Ask

Let’s get down to finding some real answers. You could ask the daycare or do your own investigation. We’re sure you’ll go the extra mile to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being while making an informed decision.

How is the facility set up?

Take a tour. Is it clean? Does it have multiple spaces for groups of pets with different play styles? Will your pet have access to an outside area for bathroom breaks? Does the facility have a designated area for rest? If the daycare uses kennels ask how stress is minimized in kennels.

What kind of schedule do they provide?

Remember, “All-day Play” is not a selling point! Pet daycares that incorporate bathroom breaks (ideally outdoors), play time and quiet time into their schedule are what you’re looking for. Rest is important. Find out how a daycare provides a restful space for its canine visitors.

How big are the playgroups?

The handler-to-dog ratio should ideally be 1:10 or 1:15 at maximum. Think of it as two human eyes and legs, in charge of 10 noses, 20 eyes, and 40 legs. There’s a lot a handler needs to do – refereeing a play session that may have gone awry or cleaning up accidental “leaks”. Ideally, the more the supervision, the better the pet daycare.

Pet Daycare Worker
How well trained are the handlers?

Daycare owners or managers might have CPDT credentials or might be animal-behavior-conference junkies, but they are rarely involved in daily dog supervision. It’s the hands-on staff members you must be concerned about. Are they trained in canine communication and dog handling? Ask handlers about their training experience. Also, you want your pet to have a positive experience at daycare, so avoid places that discipline through physical punishment or manipulation.

How are new dogs introduced?

Dogs are more comfortable and likely to socialize through the gradual introduction with other dogs. Avoid a daycare that proclaims, “We just throw them all in together for fun playtime!”

What is their selection criteria?

Accepting all pets is not necessarily a good thing. Not all pets are suitable for daycare. Your pet daycare must know that and be selective in choosing their daily visitors.

Does the daycare provide toys?

If so, which ones? How do they prevent or monitor resource-guarding among dogs? While your pet might not exhibit such a behavior, a daycare should have ways to address this potential issue and avoid needless confrontations between dogs.

Is medical help available?

Ideally, the daycare must have a veterinarian to reach out to in emergencies. The staff should be trained in CPR and first aid. Accidents can happen even in the best-monitored situations, and quick response can really be a life-saver.

What Should a Daycare Ask From You?

If your dog passes the evaluation, you should expect to be asked for proof of vaccinations, all your contact information, and your veterinarian’s information too. Most daycares require pets to be altered, to reduce certain behaviors that can lead to fighting. Fights may still happen, but a good daycare knows how to manage and minimize such situations by keeping a constant watch.

If you choose well, you’ll probably never have to worry or dread a call from your pet daycare. Your pet will meet you happy and exhausted at the end of a pleasant day. They are ready to catch some snuggle time with you and finally retire into dreams of another amazing day to follow.

Daycare Cost:

Application Fee: Many daycares charge an application fee, which can run anywhere between $3 and $30.

Daily- Monthly Costs: According to, the average cost of a pet daycare ranges from $12 to $38 for a full day (typically from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Expect to pay between $240 to $550 for a monthly package, which may cost less than the daily rate when added up. Half-day services (typically five hours of care) cost between $6 and $25. There are always optional additional services like spa treatments, grooming sessions or one on one sessions that cost extra. Also, expect to pay at the higher end of that range in specific areas like big cities and exclusive neighborhoods.

Additional Pet Daycare Fees

Late Picking Up Fee: It is calculated by the hour. You may get charged for a full hour, even if you are just a few minutes late.

Cancellation: Remember to review the cancellation and refund policies. Some facilities may not refund or charge a cancellation fee if you fail to cancel 24 hours prior to your reservation.

Dog in Day Care
In Conclusion

Choosing a pet daycare isn’t an easy decision. We hope that you find one that maximizes fun and safety for your pet and takes off some of your stress. But if you find your pet is not returning happy at the end of the day, it’s best to walk away. Consider what’s important to and appropriate for your pet. Thankfully pet daycare is not the only option. As we mentioned earlier, you could pet-proof your home, and let your pet be in a place they’re already comfortable with. You could make up for the hours away with a long walk, a fun training class, a trip to the dog park, a small playgroup to socialize with, or an open car window on a long breezy drive. It’s up to you to ensure your pet never has a dull day, even when you’re away!