Can you recall the last time your mother dropped you off at the daycare center? Ok, maybe you can't, in fact, maybe that never even happened – but try to imagine it anyways: you in your big boy pants, plopped around a bunch of strange kids, along with some babysitter you don't even like. Now fast-forward that to today, and in your place substitute your dog. In fact, you likely have been thinking just recently about a dog daycare for a number of reasons: you're busy, you have to work, and you just don't like leaving your pet alone for hours at a time. However, you don't want to drop old Fido off at just any old shack with a daycare sign stapled up front; never fear, because we have a few brief tips to help steer you in the right direction.

First Determine Why You Want a Daycare
Does your dog really need a daycare? The ASPCA says that's not always necessarily the case. If your dog gets along well with other dogs, enjoys going to dog parks, or has a lot of energy, a dog daycare may be the perfect fit. On the other hand, if your dog is aggressive towards other breeds, has bitten another dog, or other similar signs, they may do better just resting at home without being bothered by other animals. Bullies, under socialized dogs, over-energetic dog, unneutered males or females in heat or unvaccinated puppies are all ill fits for a dog daycare (aspca.org). It just all depends, and knowing your pet well is essential.

Plan Beforehand
It is essential that you take the time to determine beforehand exactly what type of facility the daycare is before taking your dog there. Things to look at include the staff (are they qualified and knowledgeable in handling dog, have they received proper training?), proper environment (proper indoor/outdoor facilities, toys, sufficient staff) and health policies (flea-prevention plans, vaccination protocol) as well as whether or not the staff is trained in emergency procedures in case of the unexpected.

In the end, dog daycares are invaluable when you need to take a break, and they can provide a relaxing social environment for your pet where it can interact with other dogs and people, as well as absolve you of that guilty feeling you might get, worrying about your dog sitting at home alone for hours. As with everything else, though, it pays to do your research, investigate, and make sure the daycare is just right for your furry companion.

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