You’ve just adopted a puppy! Congratulations! What will you do with your puppy when you have to go to work or run errands? Will you leave him home in a crate? Have you had time to crate train him? Some pet parents don’t want to crate train their puppies and opt, instead, to take them to a puppy daycare.
If you’re not sure or if you think that might be the best for him – and for you – there are at least six ways you need to prep your pup for the puppy daycare experience. Preparing in advance of leaving her will make it an enjoyable experience for you and for your puppy. Here are six tips we consider puppy daycare essentials:
Finding the Right Puppy Daycare
Finding the right puppy daycare for you and your puppy is the most essential part of leaving your puppy. Stop in unannounced at a puppy daycare you may want to use. The staff should welcome you and allow you to look around.
A few things to note:
Are the facilities clean?
Are small dogs separated from larger dogs? (This is crucial, especially in the puppy stage when your puppy’s bones are still fragile.)
Does the staff have special training—like CPR?
Do the puppies look well cared for?
Do the facilities appear secure?
Some puppy daycares offer video streaming so the pet parent can check in on his or her puppy throughout the day. This could provide peace of mind for you. So, ask if they provide that service.
What to Bring to Puppy Daycare
This is a question best addressed by the puppy daycare you’ve chosen. Some will require you to bring your puppy’s food or treats; others will provide treats and snacks. If you don’t want your puppy to have a change in her diet or if she has allergies, you will want to make that known. Consider bringing her treats and food along. Ask whether you should bring a blanket or a toy for your puppy, as well.
Socialize your Puppy
A puppy daycare is a great place for socialization, but if you have had your puppy home with you for many months and a change in circumstance requires you take him to a puppy daycare. He may be afraid of the noise and of the other puppies. If you can schedule a play date at the daycare to get your puppy accustomed to it, and so you can see how he interacts with other puppies, that would be ideal. Call the potential puppy daycare and ask if you can visit.
Vaccination Requirements for Puppy Daycare
What are the vaccination requirements for the puppies at the daycare? At what age can a puppy enter the daycare? These are questions you will want answered. You may not want your puppy to be with puppies who have not been vaccinated and the daycare may not accept your puppy if he is not old enough to have been vaccinated. The puppy daycare may require you show your puppy’s health and medical records before he is allowed to attend. This is good practice to help assure no ailments pass through the puppies in the daycare.
Preparing to Leave your Puppy
You will probably be anxious before you leave your puppy at the daycare and she will pick up on that. Try to be as calm as you possibly can. Don’t let your anxieties about leaving her make her anxious. If you have done your research and feel comfortable with the staff, be assured your puppy will be cared for and safe. Give her a brief snuggle, pat her head, put her down, and leave her with the daycare providers. There is no reason you can’t call later to check in on her, but don’t make leaving her at the daycare a big production, or you may increase her separation anxiety.
What Happens as your Puppy Ages?
When your puppy is no longer a puppy, where will she go? Does the puppy daycare have a space for her when she’s not a puppy? Before your puppy is going to be graduated to a different space for care, you should be advised of that and you should have the option to review, and view, the doggy daycare facilities. You will want many of the same questions answered: vaccination requirements, separation of large and small dogs, facilities for dogs (whether there are play spaces and are they indoors or outdoors), who, and how many people, supervise the dog daycare space? If you’re happy with the puppy daycare, it may make sense to keep her right in the same space, but don’t wait until she “ages out” before you make that decision.
Some pet parents opt for doggy daycare so their dogs have interaction, socialization, and physical activity throughout the day. Other pet parents opt for in home pet sitters. Still other dog parents know their dogs will be all right left home alone while they are away. No matter what you decide is best for you and your pup, do your research and make certain they are safe while you’re away.
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.