Originally published in the New Orleans Advocate on June 14, 2017

Animal Rescue: How to choose the right doggy daycare
BY TRACI D. HOWERTON | Special to The Advocate
Jun 14, 2017 – 7:15 am

It’s vacation season. So what does one do when the pets can’t come along and no family or friends are available to watch them? One option is doggy daycare.

More than traditional boarding facilities, they tend to offer daily daycare services, much like child daycare, and can include activities such as pool time, group play and snacks. Not all dog daycares are equal, so proper research should be done to choose the best facility.

ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS: Peer reviews and word of mouth can be a great way to narrow the search for a good dog daycare.

TOUR THE FACILITY: Take a tour and see how the dogs are being treated. Are the kennels spacious? Is the staff interacting with the animals?

CHECK LICENSE AND INSURANCE: Make sure the company is fully covered in the unlikely event that something should happen while your dog is in their care.

ASK ABOUT SOCIALIZATION: Many daycares have “big dog” rooms and “small dog” rooms, where animals of the same size are allowed to interact. It is important to ask how the dogs are tested to make sure this group play time is safe and fun for all pets.

CHECK THE HOUSING: The size of dog enclosures at the boarding facility is important. The animal should have enough space to move around comfortably and not be cramped in a small cage for long periods of time.

HUMAN INTERACTION: How much will there be? Positive human interaction will result in an overall positive experience and will make daycare a treat for pets.

EXERCISE ROUTINE: Regular exercise is important, so make sure that the outdoor area of the daycare is safe and secure. Ask where the the dogs will be walked and if secure leashing protocols are in place.

STAFF EXPERIENCE: Ask about screening for employees and how the business finds the best dog handlers. When a group of dogs get together, anything is possible. Make sure that the staff has the skills and expertise to deal with any situation that may arise. Compassion of staff members is equally important.

SECURITY: A good daycare should be able to provide information on how dogs are protected from the general public and how it ensures that a dog will not get loose or run away. Pet safety is of the utmost importance. Some facilities have webcams that allow remote monitoring.

Whether it be for a vacation or a regular place for Fido to hang out during the day when his family is at work, a little research can go along way to ensure that he has a positive and safe experience when his owner is away.