Every Dog Has Its Day Care

More on PawNation: dog day care, pet day care, Red_Room

Patti Lawson

Paris Hilton made it fashionable in the '00s to carry a small dog around in a designer tote. Unfortunately, that's not a practical form of pet care for anyone with a dog heavier than five pounds. For most dog owners, the time comes when we need someone to tend to our dogs while we are at work.

The vision is endearing of the dog who hangs around the house all day waiting for its owners to return from work, but some owners simply cannot leave their dogs home alone. Doggy day care is an option that can provide activities for dogs ranging from simple playtimes to massages, doga, television (Animal Planet of course) and even gourmet lunches.

There are lots of doggy day cares in operation, so don't just go with the first one you find. As always, research the choices available to you to be sure your needs will be met and your dog will be safe. Here are some questions you should have answered before making a decision:

1. How long has the facility been in business and are they licensed?

2. Do they ask for health records and require that a bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine be current?

3. What is the policy if your dog should become sick or injured? Is there a vet on call?

4. Are the pick-up and drop-off hours convenient?

5. Does the day care allow you to tour and examine the whole property before you commit? If so, consider the following:

- Is the facility clean and visibly pleasing?

- Are there enough employees to care for the number of dogs, and are they cheerful and kind (the employees, not the dogs)?

- Are the dog kennels clean, with food and water bowls full?

- Is there a large play area and runs for the dogs to go in and out?

- Will your dog enjoy social interaction and not just be placed in a kennel?

- Are the dogs separated by size and temperament during group play?

- Are additional services offered, such as grooming?

Although our dogs are priceless, day care isn't. You could pay as little as $10 per d ay for minimal services in a suburban location, while a metropolitan luxury facility could easily cost you $75 or more a day. Grooming is extra and some facilities charge for treats, walks and other services. Consult your vet, dog parents or Internet searches for a facility that meets your needs and fits your price range. There are also doggy day care franchises such as Central Bark, which operate in many cities. Requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure your facility is in compliance.

Patti Lawson
is an award-winning author and columnist who lives in Charleston, West Virginia. Her first book, The Dog Diet, A Memoir, is the story of her adopted beloved canine companion, Sadie. She writes frequently for different publications on a variety of topics, and her column Dogs . . . Diets . . . Dating can be read on her website. Read her blog on Red Room.

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