Dogs are naturally social creatures, thriving on playtime and general interaction with other dogs. And who doesn’t love watching their pups chase each other? Many owners take their pets to a dog parks, while an increasing number of them bring their pets to doggie daycare.
There are significant benefits in safety and cleanliness when opting for a daycare, as the facilities are typically cleaned and staffed by professionals. Most dog parks, however, are lucky if the grass is cut on a regular basis, and there’s no screening process to prevent dangerous dogs from interacting with your own.
Dog daycare and boarding facilities are a fast growing industry, with the American Pet Products Association (APPA) recording $66.75 Billion spent on pets in 2016 alone. Unfortunately, regulations on the daycare and boarding side of the industry are limited at best, with only a few States like Colorado maxing out their dogs to staff members at 15. Most States don’t have a requirement for Pet CPR or First Aid, which is an affordable course that daycares should implement that can save your dog’s life if something goes wrong.
That means that pet owners need to educate themselves in order to protect their furry family members because it’s essentially an unregulated industry.
So how can I make sure my pet is safe? Ask these questions:
? Is your staff certified in Pet CPR and First Aid, and how often are they re-certified?
Courses like the Pet Saver Three Day Program are affordable and should be mandatory education for anyone responsible for your pet.
? What is your training program for your staff, and what is their continuing education?
The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPD) has dog trainer programs that provide education on dog behavior and interaction, providing an in-depth understanding of how to prevent dog fights and other negative interactions.
? What the protocol for when ambient temperatures exceed 90F?
Most assume that 90F is too hot for a dog to exercise in, so the facility should either prevent outside play or limit their time outside to 15 minutes or less
? How many dogs per staff member, and are the dogs ever left unattended?
Many states require more than 75sqft per dog of space, and no more than 20 dogs per staff member.
? Does your facility have pools, and if so, what is the depth?
While a great way to keep cool, not all dogs swim well, and many dogs drown every year at daycare facilities.
? Does your facility separate dog groups by size and temperament?
Standard procedure for most daycares are to screen dogs with a temperament test, then separate the groups based on size and energy level.
? Do you temperament test all dogs before they’re allowed to play socially?
This is where dog behavior training comes in – is there a staff member on site who can correctly identify a problem dog that shouldn’t interact with the rest of the group?
Unfortunately, many dogs have died tragically from heat stroke, drowning or general neglect at numerous dog daycare facilities across the country. In Florida, the only recourse an owner has is to sue for the value of the price paid for the pet.
It’s imperative that dog owners be diligent in their search for a suitable daycare for their pet; their life depends on it.