Although you might think that putting your dog in a doggy daycare or pet resort sounds like heaven for you and your pup, not all facilities are created equal! Your dog has specific needs, just as if you were putting a child into daycare. You would not leave them at just any place, right? We compiled a list of questions you should be asking if you are thinking about dog daycare for your pup!
1) What type of training did the staff go through?
Many states don’t regulate this, but this is entirely up to you and how comfortable you feel. When you get to a facility, feel free to ask them this question first and foremost. When you have trained staff that are knowledgeable when it comes to caring for animals, breaking up dog fights appropriately (because this is absolutely a right and wrong way to do it), and overall being able to stay calm in most situations, you lower the risk of something happening to your dog. You also grow the possibility of your dog (and you!) feeling safe, loved, and secure. The better trained the staff, the more your dog is going to get from his or her daycare experience.
2) What is your staff to dog ratio? And are staff on site 24/7?
Just like in a classroom, you wouldn’t want too many students for just one teacher, right? That can immediately turn overwhelming for both parties and the parents. Ensuring that the ratio isn’t too askew, that will make the environment much calmer for your dog so they can have beneficial time with both their doggo and hooman friends! This is one of the key differentiators so it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Many states impose a legal limit of dogs to handlers to ensure that dog daycare facilities are consistent and safe. Many states such as North Carolina, Missouri, Illinois and Colorado have mandated a limit of 1 employee to every 15 dogs (1:15 ratio). Barx Parx is proud to offer an environment with one park ranger for every twelve dogs (1:12 ratio). We feel that the 1:12 ratio provides the perfect amount of supervision. Many facilities choose not to hold themselves to the same standards with ratios as high as 1:25 or even 1:35 - yikes!
Additionally, in order to cut costs, some boarding facilities do not have staff on site overnight. While this isn't often advertised, it's very important to know. Are you comfortable with leaving your dog for a sleepover if no humans are there?
3) What vaccines do you require?
Almost every dog facility will require you to have at least your dog’s rabies shot. Plain and simple - can’t avoid that one. Others will require Bordetella and DAPP shots, as well. We assure you can trust a facility that requires all three because that means they are serious about your dog’s health and aren’t just trying to get dogs through the door there.
4) Do dogs have to pass a temperament test?
If just any dog was allowed into a daycare, that is a huge safety concern and should be a red flag for any pet parent. Although we would love to accept any pupper that comes through our doors, there are some that are not trained appropriately to interact with other dogs. Knowing that the place you want to take your dog to does temperament tests will not only put your mind at ease, but also ensure the safety of others.
5) What is your cleaning/sanitization process?
While staying clean and healthy are high priorities that cannot be emphasized enough these days, you will want to understand the facility’s own process. Don't hesitate to decline taking your dog somewhere where you do not feel like their sanitizing procedures are up to a healthy standard. Dogs can be messy but it is a facility's responsibility to ensure that they offer a clean and safe environment.
6) Can I take a tour of the facility?
It can be hard to leave your dog at a boarding or daycare facility. Touring the inside of a facility and meeting the staff ahead of time can help put your mind at ease! Bonus points if you don't have to make an appointment and are allowed to see all areas of the facility (i.e. no hidden back rooms that are off limits).
7) Do you have a webcam?
This can make or break some new clients and it is all purely based on preference. While some probably don’t have the time to check up on their pup while they are working, there are just as many who want to know how their fur baby is doing during those long Zoom calls. Some people just like having the option of being able to check on their dog. Whatever the reason may be, it is probably better to opt for a place with a webcam so that you can check in periodically for your own peace of mind.
8) What is the process if my dog gets injured?
Let’s face it, dogs are dogs and will get themselves hurt at some point. Whether it is from them being too excited and tripping over themselves or getting into a scuffle with another pooch - accidents happen. Because they do (and will) happen, you will want to know the process the staff take in order to resolve the situation. Will they let you know? Do they have your permission to take them to an emergency vet? Will they alert the manager/owner if they are not on site? Will they document it? All of these procedures are important to know as you look into dog daycare facilities.
9) Where is the closest vet located?
This question piggy-backs off the last one. In the unlikely chance that your dog does become injured at daycare, you will want to feel confident that if they need professional assistance, at least they are close to a vet. If the person giving you the tour knows exactly where the nearest vet is located, it means that he or she has been trained on exactly what to do in the event of a dog’s injury or illness.
10) Do you have an emergency evacuation plan?
Extremely important but oftentimes overlooked, disaster planning is never a fun thing to think about. Top notch daycare and boarding facilities will have a proper evacuation plan in case of emergency, oftentimes catered to their geographical area. It should never be off limits to ask for details about the emergency evacuation plan. If you want to know, make sure to ask!
So which one should I pick?
We hope this helps you and your pupper find the best, safest, and best suited doggy facility for you and them! Don’t hesitate to ask questions, your dog knows your body language and a relaxed pet parent will ensure that your dog is comfortable when you drop him or her off. While we can’t make the decision for you, we hope that you make an informed decision when selecting the perfect facility. Give us a call, ask questions and if you like what you hear, we invite you to give Barx Parx a try! We encourage you to do your research but if you are ready to go, click the orange button below and let's get your pup registered!
Co-Written by Madison Clark