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Healthy Dogs

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Choosing Doggie Daycares and Kennels: Prices, Safety, and Services

Considering doggie daycare or kennels? WebMD gets you started with information on cost, safety tips, and more.


Q: How long should my dog spend in daycare? Is all day too long? How often should he go?

A: It depends on the dog. Some facilities require a set number of visits at first to incorporate a dog into the group. A good facility will let you know if your dog needs a break.

Obviously, younger, more active dogs need it more, otherwise they can get into trouble at home. Older, less active dogs might only need it occasionally. Take your cues from your dog.

Q: Should all dogs in daycare have their shots?

A: Oh, yes. The facility should require proof of vaccinations, so they have the records of the shots and records of each dog’s veterinarian.

Q: How can I choose the best kennel for my dog if I’m leaving on vacation?

A: Don’t wait. Start checking the facilities out now, not right before you have to leave. Ask your friends or veterinarian for references. Visit the facility you’re considering and get a tour. What kind of services do they offer? Are there structured daily activities? Can you bring your own dog food to keep your dog on the same diet? What are the sleeping quarters like and who provides the bedding? What’s their veterinary care? Just overall, how do they handle the dogs and what’s the cleanliness of the place?

And if your dog hasn’t been boarded for a while, and you’re leaving on a long-term vacation, it’s probably best to board your dog for a night or two first, just to get them used to it, before you leave for a long time.

Q: How can I tell if my dog is enjoying doggie daycare?

A: He should come home tired, but happy and relaxed, not agitated. There’s a difference between coming home tired from having fun and coming home tired from being stressed. So it depends on how the dog is acting. If he seems happy, his tail is wagging and he’s eager to go in there in the morning, then he probably is enjoying it. But if when you get there he puts on his brakes, he doesn’t want to go through the door, that’s a bad sign. He’s either going too often, or going to the wrong doggie daycare.

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