Doggie Day Care – Quality you should look for

Variety of dogs at day careAre you a working dog parent who’s away from home all day? Your dog gets lonely and probably doesn’t enjoy being locked in the house or apartment for hours at a time with no one to talk to. So, consider doggie day care. For a fee, you can be sure your best friend has dog friends and is getting the social stimulation, companionship and exercise she needs.

However, not every day care facility will be appropriate for the needs of your particular pooch. So, you should first do some research.

When considering doggie day care, look for the following.


Smell is a great way to determine the cleanliness of the day care. If the smell of urine and feces overpowers you, you might want to think twice about using their services. Yes, it’s really hard to keep up with a lot of dogs who may have to frequently relieve themselves but that’s just part of the business. Make sure that the staff quickly cleans accidents when they happen. Remember, an unclean environment can make your best friend sick.

Communication between you and the staff

You want a staff who openly communicates with you by giving you a complete description of your dog’s day at their facility. Even if your dog was a bad girl and picked a fight, you’ll want to know about that.


Appropriate control measures include intervening when there is a potential conflict between dogs and redirecting them toward more appropriate behavior. Don’t use a day care where the staff controls dogs by yelling, punishing and physically manipulating them. Look for a staff who utilizes positive reinforcement techniques.


What’s the staff’s level of experience with and dedication to dogs? Make sure to ask questions like how long the daycare has been in business. Find out who’s in charge and their experience with dogs and running a business. Ask other people, like those you meet at the dog park, if they recommend a particular day care.

Facility size

When it comes to doggie day care, size indeed matters. Is there plenty of room for your pooch to play both inside and out? On the inside, she should have about 70 to 100 square feet to run around off leash. Outside, there needs to be more room than just space for pooping and peeing.

Playtime & Rest Time

It goes without saying that one of the most important reasons you take your dog to a day care is so she has plenty of playtime. Conversely, she also needs plenty of rest time. Further, make sure they don’t kennel her during the day unless you request it.


One thing to look for are double barriers to separate areas, so that when a gate is opened, it must be closed before opening the second one. Also, make sure these are inspected and are in good working order.

The facility should separate small and large dogs and they should acclimatize new dogs slowly. The daycare you choose should have proper health protocols in place as well.

Also, make sure the facility is able to provide your dog with immediate veterinary care should the need arise. Ideally, they should be able to take her to your regular veterinarian.


A good daycare facility maintains a staffing goal of one person to no more than 10 to 15 dogs depending on the size of the dogs and the experience of the staff.


Make sure your dog gets to interact with her doggie pals!


All dogs should be required to have proof of vaccination before they are allowed on the premises.


A doggie day care is a major choice you make for both you and your dog, so take time to shop around and ask the right questions.

We love comments so be sure to leave yours below.


10 comments on “Doggie Day Care – Quality you should look for

  1. Dave Sweney

    Doggie day care centers are a new concept for me. I did not know that such facilities existed, but I am glad that they do. We have had to put the dogs into a shelter-type facility once or twice over the years, but it was more because we were traveling and could not bring the dogs.

    For the people that are away for extended days, and who have the cash to spend, these daycare centers seem like a good option over leaving them home alone in the house or tied up to a tree in the yard, or even letting them wander around a controlled area (i.e. a fenced area of your yard). 

    As to what to look for when searching for a suitable location and business, the points you mention all make perfect sense. These are the same standards that we use when we have to put our dogs up for a few days. Once you find a suitable place, you still have to check to make sure they are maintaining their standard too.

    I have seen ownership changes affect how the dogs are cared for. Over the years we have changed a couple of times who we leave the dogs with because the places had lowered their standard and the dogs suffer. We can’t have that happen to our dogs, as they are part of the family.  

    This post was a good reminder of all the things we need to check (i.e. cleanliness, food, staffing, socialization, etc.) and I have sent it on to my wife. She is the one that will normally make the final decision on this and I know she will enjoy the read (and the website!). Thanks!

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Dave:

      Daycare centers are really a nice option for your dog because of the stimulation they have through social interaction and play. It’s so much better than being cooped up all day with nothing to do!

      I’m so glad to hear that you consider your dogs part of the family. It sounds like you make decisions with their happiness in mind.

      Thanks so much for reading and responding to my post.

  2. Paul

    Dear Christopher,

    Thanks a lot for the insightful post and I can tell you I have taken some great insights from this post.

    We do have a dog in our home and because of him we avoid many functions and tours. Some one needs to be there to take care of him and we can’t leave him alone. So going out as a family became a big challenge and its been a while we went together as a family for celebrations or picnics. To make everyone happy I was searching for some ideas online and your post is very helpful.

    Doggie Day Care will be the best option and never tried it. However the great advises you provided in choosing the best day care was very helpful and I will take your advice. Your post is a guide in choosing the day care for our dogs and I am book marking it for future reference.

    Much Success!


    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Paul:

      Thank you for your comments.

      I know what you mean about having a pet and not wanting to leave him home alone. I’ve been in that situation many times and wished there was someone who would care for my dog or cat in the same way I did.

      Be thorough in your search for day care. As I’ve said before, one of the most important things to look for is that the staff loves and takes great responsibility for every dog that comes through the door!

  3. Who is Bethenny Frankel?

    Poocharama, looks a nice place for dogs, everything for them, I imagine this place like a hotel for dogs, good services and good staff. But it will be interesting to write about one particular dog, its behaviour and if it needed to correct some bad habits, how Poocharama did it.

  4. Judy

    Firstly I have to say I love the name you have given your site. Poocharama has a lovely ring to it. You have raised some very important aspects of day care for a dog. I love my dog and I would never  leave him in a facility that was insecure or unclean. I would also be looking for adequate space to move about. . You have not mentioned anything about what I would be expected to pay for a well kept Doggie Day Care facility that will meet all the criteria you have listed as important. 

    I would only leave my dog in such a place if we were going on holiday but I would not want to find I am spending more on his care than the holiday, nor do I want to come back to a sick, injured or missing dog.  You have given us some critical points to look for in choosing a place for pooch to stay, unfortunately there are not enough such places to be able to choose.  

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Judy:

      Thank you for your comments and for liking my site name!

      It sounds like you’re the type of person who will be thorough when searching for daycare or anything related to your dog. 

      My guess is just like anything else, there are good and bad dog day cares. Of all the points mentioned, one of the most important ones to me is that the staff loves dogs and feels great responsibility for their care.

      Do you live in a big city? if so, there are likely many facilities to choose from. 

  5. Henry

    Hi! Love your huge picture of your doggie in the air.

    Thank you for this very straightforward post. You get to the point quickly. I must admit that I had only been considering around half of the things you mentioned here. Some of the most important that I had left out were a.) playtime & rest time b.) staffing and c.) socialization. I’ll bear them in mind from now on.

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Henry:

      Thank you for your comments.

      I think being as thorough as possible is very important when evaluating the potential day care. Thanks for liking my home page picture!


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