13 Green Flags for a Dog Daycare Center

13 Green Flags for a Dog Daycare Center

For dog owners who are stuck at work all day, dog daycare facilities can be a godsend. However, a lot of dog owners are understandably wary of these facilities, given the fact that the American dog daycare industry is not a strictly regulated one. Horror stories about mismanaged facilities on social media don’t inspire a lot of confidence in dog daycare either. 

This puts many busy dog owners in a pickle: should they risk sending their dog to an unfamiliar place that may have it own issues, or should they just leave their dog home alone? 

The fact is, a lot of dog owners do swear by good dog daycare centers when it comes to keeping their rambunctious companions occupied and socially fulfilled. But how do you choose one that you can truly trust with your dog’s health and well-being for the time that you’re away? Here’s PrideBites’ take on the green flags you should be looking out for when choosing a daycare center for your dog:

1) Reasonably Strict Admissions

Your dog could be at the center for at least half a day, so you’ll want to be sure that it doesn’t let any dogs with major behavioral problems or contagious diseases in. Great facilities generally demand the following:

  • Up-to-date vaccinations for rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, bordetella, and canine influenza.
  • Thorough temperament checks.
  • Bookings by appointment only.
  • The facility should have guidelines on collars for safety and identification purposes. Set your dog apart with these eye-catching and durable nylon dog collarsfrom PrideBites.

2) The Facility is Free from Hazards

Facilities should not be littered with uncollected toys or have any unprotected electrical wires at floor level. Kennels, play areas, and administrative offices should be separate to avoid potential mishaps.

3) A Decent Staff-to-Dog Ratio

The fewer dogs per staff member, the better. A smaller staff-to-dog ratio means that staff can adequately manage the needs of the canines in their care without great risk of overlooking one. Ideally, you should only choose facilities where each staff member cares for fewer than 10 dogs, at the minimum.

4) Exterior Fencing

Daycare facilities should also have fencing that’s tall enough to prevent escapes. If you have a high-jumping breed like a Belgian Malinois or a Border Collie, the fence at the center you choose should be at least 8 feet high.

5) Certification from Recognized Animal Care Groups

While dog daycare centers are not regulated in the US, private entities like the Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) have stepped in to perform this vital service. Certification from these groups can help ensure that the staff and premises are truly qualified to provide evidence-based care for dogs.

6) The Staff Maintains a Consistent Routine

Routines indicate that the facility has working systems in place and that the staff are sufficiently prepared to handle most situations. If the staff seems to be “freestyling” their approach to dog care, perhaps it’s best to stay away.

7) Minimal Foul Smells

Dog daycares shouldn’t smell that much worse than your own home on a bad day. A dog daycare will never smell like a rose garden, but it shouldn’t make your eyes water either. Really bad smells usually indicate a lack of proper sanitation, which may put your dog’s health at risk.

8) No Forced Social Time

Many dog daycares exist so that dogs can socialize and enjoy some playtime while their owners are at work. That said, some dogs don’t enjoy being around strangers, regardless of whether those strangers are humans or other dogs. If the staff assures you that they won’t force your dog to play, that’s definitely an indicator of a trustworthy facility.

9) The Facility Provides Insurance

Though you probably wouldn’t ever want to cash in, knowing that the facility has insurance coverage can provide you with some peace of mind about your dog’s well-being. The presence of insurance coverage can serve to emphasize the facility's commitment to professionalism and accountability. 

10) The Staff Provides Status Updates

If staff members proactively give you status updates on key moments in your dog’s day, it’s a sign that you should consider the facility for future daycare needs.

11) Limited Use of Aversive Control Methods

Truly great daycare facilities prioritize positive reinforcement when managing dogs. Taking this approach ensures that your dog will look forward to spending more time in daycare. On the other hand, facilities that rely on aversive methods like spray bottles and shock collars are a huge red flag. If you take your dog to these places, don’t be surprised if they dread leaving your home.

12) Dogs Can Be Kept Separate

If the dogs have to share crates, this could be a sign that the facility simply doesn’t have enough resources to adequately care for all their clients. Only choose daycare centers that can provide your dog with their own crate in their kennel.

13) You Can Check In Through a Webcam

A growing number of daycare facilities let dog owners check in on their pets through secure websites. This service demonstrates transparency and can help you gain confidence in the care provided for your canine companion.

These green flags are specifically for daycare centers, but they broadly apply for pet boarding facilities as well. Even if you aren’t ready to leave your dog in someone else’s care, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to in the future. Following these green flags should help you choose a facility that keeps your dog safer, happier, and healthier even when they’re not in your line of vision.

For pet essentials like wholesale custom dog beds, personalized dog blankets, and other pet merchandise that you can regularly take to a daycare center or boarding facility for your dog’s comfort, check PrideBites’ online catalog now. Work with us today on a new design project involving your favorite custom pet items!