visiting a dog day-care center, look for
cleanliness, enough space for dogs to run and
play, and ample toys and nap spots. Also, be sure
to ask about the staff-to-dog ratio.
care for your dog? For some pet owners and their
pooches, itís the best solution.
trainer and behavior consultant Jonathan Klein says day
care can be very beneficial, especially for dogs with
separation anxieties or home-alone issues.
care can provide stimulation and activities for a dog
when it would otherwise be alone and stressed or
bored," Klein said.
your research is key because day care is not heavily
regulated, said Stephen Zowistowski, science adviser
emeritus for the ASPCA.
are several guidelines to consider.
your dog: Klein, also principal of I Said Sit!, in Los
Angeles, recommends hiring a trainer or dog behavior
consultant. A session can range from $60 to $250,
depending on the market.
would have a better notion of what might be really good
for a given dog," Klein said.
places to start a search: the websites of the
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.
the facilities: New York-based pet behaviorist Carolyn
Georgariou suggests making an unscheduled visit. Be
skeptical of facilities only offering scheduled tours
during off-hours. And per the ASPCA, look for toys, nap
spots and good customer service. Staff should be
courteous to humans as well as their dogs.
behavioral evaluations: Many facilities evaluate dogs
before enrolling them. Centers often ask questions
regarding interaction with other dogs, such as going to
a dog park and if you have additional dogs at home,
how dogs are grouped: "Dogs should be grouped not
only by size but also by compatible play style or
temperament," Klein said. He recommends checking
out each roomís size.
current with vaccinations: The ASCPA advises asking your
veterinarian which vaccinations are right for your dog.
"Dog owners should always consult with their vet
for medical advice; however, sometimes the facility may
require something that their vet doesnít," said
veterinarian David Gonsky. Gonsky said the day-care
centers should "definitely ask for proof of
vaccination. If they donít ask, thatís a red
costs: "One cannot get good day care cheap,"
Georgariou said. "The cheaper the rate, the more
crowded the day care will be." Consumer website
CostHelper.com reports daily rates across the U.S.
ranging from $12 to $38; monthly rates, $240 to $550.
about worst-case scenarios and certifications: The ASPCA
recommends asking if employees are trained in animal
first aid and CPR as well as what the protocol is in the
event of emergency illness or injury. Zowistowski
advises looking for certificates indicating employees
have been professionally trained as animal caretakers
and confirming that the facility is appropriately
licensed. Paperwork should indicate the facility has
been inspected by the health department and has obtained
a legal permit to operate its business.
other options: Day care may not be appropriate if your
pet is a frail, senior dog or anxious, fearful or
rambunctious. "Sometimes we think that every dog
needs the same thing," Zowistowski said.
"There are quite a few dogs who enjoy just chilling
out all day."
advice? Consider other available options, asking
yourself, "What is good for the dog as opposed to
what is good for me? What would the dog really like as
opposed to what would I really like?" Consider
hiring a dog walker or pet sitter.