Choosing a pet daycare center is like finding preschool for a child, and can be just as nerve-racking. Pet daycare allows your beloved animals to play, socialize and enjoy human company while you are away at work or on a trip. With so many daycare options available, however, the choice can be difficult. To make the process easier, keep these questions in mind as you search for the ideal daycare match for your pet:
- Which Amenities are Offered?
If your pet is high energy, they will appreciate a daycare center with plenty of areas to run, jump and play. Many centers offer agility courses, outdoor areas, swimming opportunities, individual runs and even daily supervised, on-leash walks. If you have a dog that loves to fetch, you can ask if the employees will accommodate this kind of play. If you have a cat that loves to climb cat trees, you may consider checking to see if they are available in the cat room. Finding a great pet daycare fit is largely about finding a facility that offers amenities that will keep your pet(s) entertained, relaxed and happy all day long.
- How Far Away is It?
Location is everything. Pet daycare can be a wonderful alternative to leaving a pet home alone, but it quickly loses some of its value if the facility is a two-hour drive from your home. Look for a daycare center that is close enough to be convenient – one that is on the way to work is ideal. This is partially to benefit the schedule of you, the pet parent, but also due to the fact that, once a pet settles into a daycare setting, it is difficult and stressful to move the animal later. Choose a daycare location that works with your commute and stick with it.
- How Secure is the Facility?
Security does not necessarily mean locked gates and being ID’d when you walk through the door, although some facilities will require this. Security, in a pet daycare setting, often refers to things like how strictly the employees enforce a vaccination policy, the demeanor of the pets accepted, the insistence upon leashes, the enclosed areas available and the individual sleeping arrangements to ensure the safety of each animal. In order to ensure maximum security and safety for your pet, these things should be policy within the daycare facility. Before committing to any particular pet daycare center, ask to see a copy of their safety and security rules, guidelines and protocols.
- How Clean are the Pet Areas?
Cleanliness is an important part of a well-run pet daycare center. Ideally, all surfaces should be washable and free of visible stains or waste. The yard areas should be devoid of anything that could potentially injure animals, fences should be in good repair and sleeping areas should be uncluttered and clean. Additionally, each animal should have its own food and water dishes, and these should be clean and refreshed often.
- How are Pets Divided?
In order to avoid injury and provide the best possible pet experience, pet daycare facilities should take care to divide animals according to age, type, activity level and size. For example, small dogs and large dogs should be separated, and all new animals should be allowed to acclimate slowly to the environment before being integrated into the large group.
By keeping these questions in mind, pet parents can ensure that they find a pet daycare center that provides days of happy play, socialization and companionship for their beloved animal.