About Doggy Day Care

 

With the words “Doggy Day Care” we identify a place where some training staff will take care of our dog during our absence. We are sure to leave our dog in a safe and comfortable place where it will have fun, it’ll have food, dogs friends, love and caresses! We are positive we are doing the best choice for it during our absence, but is it true?
A few days ago I read a news about a dog mauled by other dogs during its permanence in a dog day care in Dublin. The article highlighted the fact that there were forty dogs, of all sizes, held in a large room with the supervision of a single person of the staff. By reading this I strongly felt the need to write my opinion as a veterinary facilitator in the relationships between dogs and humans.
When we work all day we need to find a solution to take care of our dog who will be alone all day. A dog needs to go out during the day at least three times, It needs food and fresh water, it needs company: being alone all day can become a big stress factor for it, so we need to find a solution to this problem. More often than not our first thought is to bring it to a dog day care.

 

(Are you sure they’re having a great fun? Looks are deceiving.)

(Are you sure they’re having a great fun? Looks are deceiving.)

 

My opinion: the way most dog care is available today, it is never a good choice for the dogs’ well being.
A situation where several dogs, stranger to each other, are being kept together is always highly dangerous: it would be so even if there were only two dogs in the same environment or with more staff people to supervise the situation.
We need to focus our attention not on the number of dogs or people present in a dog day care but on the fact that stranger dogs can not share the same environment without feeling great stress levels: this situation of forced cohabitation is not pleasant even for a well-socialized dog.

 

(Are you sure they’re having a great fun? Looks are deceiving.)

 

Without coming to the extreme case of the dog killed by other dogs which I referred to at the beginning of my article, all the situations that put our dog in physical danger or cause great emotional distress should definitely be avoided! High levels of stress cause phenomena of aggression and physical illness ( diarrhoea episodes, dermatological problems, behavioural problems, for example, are caused by high and prolonged stress levels).
So, what is the best solution for your dog when we are away?
My opinion is that there isn’t a general rule, but there is a specific solution for each individual dog!
For example some dogs prefer to stay at their home, and maybe you could ask someone to come and walk them out.
Other dogs prefer to stay in the company of another human, so you could look for a dog sitter who stays in your home or who could host your dog in his home (after getting familiar with the house and the people who will host it and avoiding the presence of other unknown pets) .
The solutions could be different, what is important is that they are tailored to that specific dog!
Not always what we think will make our dog feel good will actually do so: ask for the advice of a specialist in cognitive behavioural approach, your dog will appreciate it a lot and you will be sure you have made the best choice to protect its well-being.