Boarding and Daycare for Dogs While You’re Away

Do you work long hours? Are you going somewhere that you can’t take your dog?

Dogs have fun alternatives from staying home all alone when you’re gone or can’t pay attention to them all day. Ever consider taking your fur baby to a doggie daycare where they play with other dogs and get their energy out? How about having them staying in a doggie hotel (boarding) because you can’t be home?

Doggie Daycare

A fun supervised play time with other dogs.

This is a fun alternative to leaving your pup alone or bored while you’re working or have to be gone for many hours at a time. With doggie daycares, they get to play with other dogs while being supervised at all times.

Many daycares have facilities that are inside and outside (when it’s nice out). Floors are usually a rubber mat where it is easy clean up and sanitize because of not passing on bacteria to dogs. There are things for the dogs to climb like kiddie slides and obstacle toys. Some places even have a camera so you can check on them playing and mingling with other dogs. (Pet Parents are the only ones that can see and watch the play area.)

Finding a Good Doggie Daycare

To find a good dog daycare, it’s best if they give you a tour of the facilities so you can see how they operate while running. Many daycares require an assessment of your dog and how they get along with other dogs because they want to keep all dogs safe. The dog daycare business will usually separate dogs into a couple groups according to temperaments and sizes because you wouldn’t want a chihuahua getting trampled by a great dane!! The business will also need information from the veterinarian that you go to if there happens to be an accident or your dog starts having a medical issue.

Vaccines Are Needed

To qualify your dog for doggie daycare, your dog must be up-to-date on the follow vaccines:

  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough Vaccine), some daycares may ask to have this vaccine every 6 months
  • Rabies
  • DAP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus)
  • Influenza (Dog Flu Vaccine)
  • Leptospirosis

How Daycares Work

Doggie Daycare schedule is usually a couple hours playing with breaks in between so dogs don’t get too tired. (If a dog is getting moody, the staff lets them have a break from the group so they can rest.) They get fed if they are there at their meal times or the owner wants them fed at a certain time. Staff is always engaging in the play and making sure everyone is happy. There are usually toys that the pups can play with as long as no one starts to guard them and start getting into fights. (Then sadly, the toys get taken away to keep all the pups safe.)

Boarding

These kennels have inside/outside access.

If you are going away somewhere that you can’t take your pup with you, there are boarding facilities that take care of your dog all day and night so your dog is taken care of.

They require the same vaccines as daycares (Bordetella, Rabies, DAP, Leptospirosis, Influenza). Make sure they are vaccinated AT LEAST 1 WEEK BEFORE they are to be boarded. This will give the vaccine time to go through the dog’s system and defend against illness.

The boarding facility will need information for a veterinarian that the dog sees regularly so if anything should happen, they will call your veterinarian.

This is a great option if you don’t want someone coming to your house without you there and don’t feel secure with a stranger going through your house.

Boarding Options

Most boarding businesses will give you a tour of the place and show different size kennels they have for the size of your dog. There are sometimes options. If you want your pup to be pampered with their own tv in their kennel or an outdoor area connected to their kennel.

Boarding businesses have different extra options like:

  • Treats like a KONGR with peanut butter inside topped with dog cookies
  • Ice cream specially made for dogs
  • Extra love from a staff member
  • Walks with a staff member
  • If the boarding facility has a daycare, there is an option that your pup can play during the day with other dogs. (Temperament testing will need to be done first.)
  • Food (if they provide)
  • Medication administered at some businesses

Items From Home

You can bring a blanket for your pup so they have something familiar and their favorite toy. (Some boarding facilities recommend NOT bringing items. They can become lost when getting washed.) They usually supply the blankets, as long as your dog won’t chew them up, and beds that are raised up from the floor. Some businesses even have heated flooring for cold weather so your dog can be comfortable in their kennel.

Checking In/Out

The number one thing is to have a reservation in advance. This gives the business an idea of how full they will be during specific times. (Holidays require a reservation to be made well in advance due to limited room.) Just like with people hotels, there are check in and out times that you can pick up your dog. (They may charge extra for picking up after the check-out times since they are taking care of your dog for a longer period.) The businesses like to have less commotion going on so the dogs aren’t always hyped up on who’s coming and going.


I STRONGLY advise that you get a tour and read reviews of the business. You can get an idea of what other people have experienced and the energy of the staff. Be sure to ask questions!!! Your dog is your fur baby and you wouldn’t want them treated anything other than great.

My Perspective From the Inside of a Boarding and Daycare Business

I have personally worked in doggie daycare and boarding facilities. From the inside, it’s best to find a place that has limited occupancy space. This way your pup will get the attention they deserve.

I have worked at places where they can board over 300 dogs at a time. It’s mainly around holiday time. It’s a very chaotic time and the pups don’t get all the attention they need. With staff trying hard to keep up with feedings and cleaning, it gets overwhelming.

Try to find places that have limited space as each dog gets the attention they deserve. These kind of places are great for older dogs as staff can take their time to accompany them when going out potty or any other things like medications.

Also, some business still discriminate against bully breeds. It’s sad to see bully breeds not being able to play with other dogs when it’s just what kind of dog they are that’s stopping them. I’ve been in situations where I’ve been bitten by dogs. Who would think by a Pug, Australian Shepard, and Basenji. It’s not just the breed they are, it’s the temperament they have.


Chloe’s Experience of Boarding

Chloe has stayed at different boarding facilities. Each boarding facility, she’s had a different experience. The best was where she got to play with other dogs during the day and had a comfy bed for night. She came home happy and wore out!!

She has been to a boarding facility that did discriminate. My poor girl wasn’t allowed to be around other dogs. (My fault for not booking ahead of time.) I could tell she came home sad and disgruntled. I made it up to her with extra treats and going for a nice walk!

“Mom and Dad, we need to talk about these weird places you leave me for a day, a week, a month, a year. I don’t know, I can’t tell time!”

There is one business that I will NEVER go back. She was put in a fenced kennel where other dogs could touch together. (Since she is getting in her old age and doesn’t want to be bothered by some other dogs.) She came home with her nose all scratched up and bloody. And her paws were very red, probably the chemical that they use to clean the floors. I of coarse gave them a bad review.

All I can say is go with your gut (and your dog’s gut) in finding a place that you and your dog will love.

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