CM's Daily Poll: Doggy Day Care


Experienced Member
As with most things American, my home country, England, has begun to steal the "Doggy Day Care" concept, with new centres popping up all the time. You know the idea, you drop off your dog for the day and let it play around with other dogs and the carers.

Are they really a good idea? Do they help the dog? Or are they a way to help us humans alleviate our sense of guilt for leaving the dog alone all day? You decide...


Experienced Member
I am of the "not if they paid me to" group. I can see several reasons not to leave my dog in the care of other people (and other dogs which I don't know), and not very many at all, to do so.

Jean Cote

Staff member
I'm positive that there are some great doggy day care out there - like that lady who was on this forum who only takes a few dogs with her.

I've called a trainer once because I wanted to try flyball, and they ran a doggy day care on the side. During our entire conversation, all I could her in the background was dogs constantly barking.

I've trained my dogs not to bark, and I would never put them in a situation where they are with other dogs that constantly do.

I don't think I would ever put my dog in a daily day care, I would consider hiring a dog walker first. I think they might be acceptable if you are going on vacation somewhere, but some research on the kennel would be needed.


Well-Known Member
I would agree with the fact that there are some good day cares out there, however I am sure there are bad ones also, just like the child care system. If your dog is properly trained there is no problem leaving them at home while you are out. The one possitive a dog could get from day care is socialization, which you also can expose your dog to at events and dog parks. I do not take my dog to a day care, but am not oppossed to it if it is good facility.


New Member
I have put my dog in daycare on several occasions and I think it's an invaluable service for the modern dog owner. I don't do it often because it is expensive, and besides I always prefer to spend time with my dog. But it is a treat for him and he loves it, and if we are occasionally super busy temporarily then it really helps us to meet his needs.

I believe in being extremely cautious when choosing a doggie daycare, the more so if you are going to use one regularly and not just occasionally like me. I believe the following precautions should be taken:

1. Thoroughly check out the daycare first, visit the facility and if possible make it a surprise visit, to make sure it is clean and the dogs are well taken care of. Fresh clean drinking water should always be available. There should be no toilet messes, as the staff should clean those up immediately. Any respectable daycare should welcome visitors at anytime and at short notice (except possibly during naptime) and allow visitors to tour their facility if they have nothing to hide.

2. My personal philosophy is I would not put my dog in a daycare that doesn't have webcams in every room and play area. If they have webcams everywhere then they have nothing to hide. On the webcams I saw how the staff interacted with him and the other dogs and I thought they were very good.

3. The dogs should be separated into compatible playgroups. If you see dogs getting bullied or conflicts breaking out, the staff isn't doing a good job. older, sedate, timid or injured dogs should be kept completely separate from the rambunctious or energetic ones.

4. The playgroups shouldn't be too big, otherwise it will be hard for the staff to supervise them. I don't know what the critical number is, I think it would be around 10 dogs per staff member.

5. Check out the qualifications of the staff. They should all be certified in pet first aid. They should all have had some training or certification in managing dogs in a kennel environment. Here in the US there are now books, certification courses and other training materials for managing daycares and packs of dogs. Staff should be up to date on these.

6. The staff should use positive-methods when dealing with the dogs such as when getting them to move from one area to another. No choke chains or shock collars whatsoever!!!! That's also why I will only use daycares that have webcams in every room, so I can be sure they are not doing things in secret.

7. Any respectable daycare will not just accept any dog, they will interview your dog first to make sure he is a good candidate for daycare, meaning he is not aggressive or overly shy, and that he is healthy and up to date on vaccinations. It's not just to protect the other dogs - and I would certainly want to be assured that all the other dogs have passed this screening - but if he is aggressive or extremely fearful then he needs professional behavioral therapy first before he himself can benefit from being in a daycare environment.

8. Look for owner referrals, which is what I did. I chose our daycare because I already had two friends who were customers and loved them.

Just doing a google search will show a ton of horror stories in the news about frightful negligence or other bad things going on in doggie daycares!!! so I am well aware of those too and can understand why many people prefer to avoid all doggie daycares.

But that said, no matter how good a daycare is, it is still a risk. Anytime you leave your dog in someone else's care you are assuming some risk. If your dog has to be left overnight at the vets due to illness, that is also a risk. So, I try not to get too paranoid about it if I've done all my homework about the daycare. If the dog comes home with a cut or bruise from rough playing, that's part of life, he occasionally gets that from the dog park or just out rambling in the woods anyway and if there's no serious or lasting damage we just shrug it off as part of living an interesting life.

When I've put him in daycare I ended up watching him on the webcam all day from work! Not very conducive to working especially when you have a deadline (which is why I put him in daycare to begin with). But this set my mind at ease that the daycare was good and trustworthy, as I always knew where my dog was at anytime during the day and what he was doing and could check on him. A couple other daycares I interviewed said their policy is to NOT have webcams as they were getting calls from paranoid owners complaining about the slightest most ridiculous thing like "I saw on the webcam that you gave my Fluffy only one biscuit but you gave that other dog two biscuits". I can understand that too, but I still prefer to only use daycares that have webcams. I think owners like to watch their dogs too during the work day anyway.

Daycare is expensive, but I think that if the staff are good and experienced and use positive methods when handling the dogs, that it is beneficial to the dogs. when I've put my dog in daycare, he comes home and sleeps the rest of the day and all of the next day too!!

The most fun thing about daycare is how they give your dog a report card when you come to pick him up. I dont' think any dog can flunk, but my dog always gets an A. Our daycare also puts on seminars for owners about everything ranging from training to pet care and first aid. For regular customers they also have a random drawing for "dog of the week" where you get a free bag of biscuits.