Doggy Day Care is a phenomenon that is fast becoming popular throughout the country. It has the same idea of child day care, you drop your dog off in the morning on the way to work and collect them in the evening. The dog is then put in with a group of other dogs where they can socialise and play for the day.
However this can too often be a recipe for disaster. On average most doggy day care facilities supervise up to 40 dogs per day. 40 dogs of all sizes and breeds in one area means there is bound to be some mayhem, especially if they are left unsupervised for even a minute.
Last year in Montreal, Canada a Shih Tzu named Stanley was mauled to death when playing unsupervised with other dogs. He had been going there for years and one day when the family came to collect him they were told that Stanley had escaped and ran away. After failing to find their beloved pet the family hired an animal rescue service to help search for him. The rescue team soon found Stanley’s body frozen in a nearby veterinarian clinic. The day care owners had transported his body to the clinic in an attempt to protect Stanley’s owners’ feelings. At the time the story broke in the news the family were considering legal action.
There are also countless horror stories in many forums online, two such tales caught my eye in particular –
Melissa from the UK wrote: “I left my dog Remy at a doggy day care place on a regular basis due to my long work hours. One evening when I went to pick him up, the day care manager told me that Remy was mounting a female (which they were okay with) and that her own Border Collie came up and bit him on the ear!!! Now a piece of his ear is missing, his ear is hard and bumpy from the scar tissue and he has bite marks/puncture wounds all over his face. You could actually see the outline of the other dog’s teeth on his cheek. When I asked the manager if she gave her dog a time out or something, she simply shrugged her shoulders and said “I didn’t think it was necessary because sometimes dogs will be dogs”.”
Dogluver72 wrote: “When I got my dog back from a previously trusted dog daycare/hotel after a 10 day vacation she was covered from head to toe in urine. She has always been a very clean dog and would avoid going near any dog mess if she could help it. There is no way she would sit in her own pee for even a second, never mind immerse in it from head to toe until it stayed in her fur. It took weeks of washing for the yellow colouring in her lovely white fur to disappear, and this raises the question as to what horrible conditions my poor little doggy had been put through there!”
Questions To Ask Before You Use A Doggy Day Care
All Doggy Day Care facilities are not created equal, just like all Pet Sitting companies, so as you would with anything ask lots of questions. A professional Doggy Day Care will welcome all these questions and want to help you find a suitable facility that matches your needs.
- How many dogs are put together in one play area?
- How many staff are assigned to a group of dogs?
- Is the group of dogs ever left unsupervised?
- How are new dogs introduced to the group?
- How does the facility handle scuffles?
- Are the staff trained to deal with medical emergencies, or if not is there a vet nearby?
- Does the daycare have adequate security and secure areas between access doors?
Another important question to be asked is if big dogs and little dogs are separated? You may think that your loveable German Shepard is perfectly capable of getting on with a Chihuahua but you can never be 100% certain. There is a behaviour in the canine world called Predatory Drift. This is when a large dog impulsively considers a small dog as prey. It can happen at any time, even if the dogs have been friends for a long time.
It is also worth keeping in mind that dogs can copy bad habits from other dogs, especially if they spend much time with them on a daily basis. Aside from these behaviours, dogs can also pick up diseases and illnesses such as kennel cough. Although your dog may be fully vaccinated, the stress of an unfamiliar environment can weaken their immune system, making them more susceptible to illness.
We are not saying that all doggy day cares are bad, many are very reputable and offer fantastic services. But we want to make sure you make a decision based on having all the facts.
The Cost Of Doggy Day Care
Out of interest, I enquired to one such place for a quote for Simba and Nala for one day of care. I was told that there would be an initial €60 screening process to see how my dogs behaved. Then it would be €40 per day after that. So basically if I wanted to leave my dogs there for 1 day (from 7am – 6pm) it would cost me €100. I was also informed that I would have to give 3-4 days notice for arranging the initial meeting.
At Pet Sitters Ireland, we don’t require a certain amount of notice and our meet and greet with you is completely free with no further obligation. We give your pet our full attention and never leave them unsupervised during their visit. We never walk more than one dog at a time (unless from the same family) so we can give your dog the care and devotion they deserve.