Looking for a Dog Daycare? What to look for! | Toronto Dog Walking
For the busy or working pet parent, dog day care can be a lifesaver.  Instead of spending the day alone, confined to a kennel or with free reign of the house, likely fighting multiple temptations to get into trouble, dogs at day care are instead given a chance to socialize and play with other pups and humans.  Play groups are divided by dog’s size, age, and energy level, and are supervised by someone trained to understand canine behavior and body language.  However, not all day cares are created equally.  Before sending your dog away for the day, there are a number of points to consider and research about the facility. 
 
Ask for a tour
Before making your first day care reservation, ask for a tour of the facilities.  See where the dogs play, both inside and out.  Ask to walk the entire fence line, and look for signs that the fence may need repair.  Inside, look to see that play areas are kept clean and that no potential hazards, such as electrical cords, are present. 
 
Ask questions
There are a number of questions you should ask both the owner and an employee.  Find out how many dogs are assigned to each play group.  Ideally, groups should be small, preferably 8 – 10 dogs.  If play groups are large, ask whether multiple people are in charge of supervising play time; the smaller the dog-to-human ratio, the better. 
Ask about the structure of the dog’s day.  Are they placed in the same group for the duration of their stay, expected to play non-stop until the owners returned?  Or, is each dog given a chance to rest and recharge?  When the weather is nice, how much time is spent outdoors?
 
One of the most important questions to ask is how behavior issues are dealt with.  What happens if a dog behaves aggressively?  Find out whether dogs are placed in time out, or if another corrective method is used.  Also find out whether dogs should arrive with basic obedience skills, and if so, which commands are necessary. 
 
If your dog has any special needs, such as the inability to tolerate heat for extended periods of time or medication, inquire whether staff is trained to administer all forms of medicine, and whether they can recognize the symptoms of serious conditions, such as heat stroke.  Always ask to see certification for canine CPR, and find out what type of emergency medical training the staff has completed.  In case of a serious emergency, such as a fire, find out what type of plan the staff has in place. 
 
Ask others about their experiences
While a lot of information can be gained from touring a facility and speaking with staff, part of a pet owner’s homework when choosing the best day care should also include talking to patrons.  Find out what others like about the facility, and what they would change.  Inquire whether there have been any bad occurrences, such as injuries to dogs or humans.  Most importantly, ask whether dogs seem excited to go to day care, and if they come home happy.