Pros and Cons of Dog Daycare

Pros and Cons of Dog Daycare

Dog daycare has become an increasingly popular solution for pet owners who want to ensure their furry friends are well taken care of while they’re away. Just like a daycare for children, dog daycare centres,  like the ones at Jet Pet Resort, offer a structured environment where dogs can socialize, play, and receive professional care throughout the day. Whether you’re at work or running errands, dog daycare can provide peace of mind knowing your dog isn’t home alone, feeling bored or anxious.

In Canada, the demand for dog daycare services has risen significantly in recent years. This growth is driven by busy pet owners who understand the importance of socialization and physical activity for their pets. From bustling urban areas to quieter suburban communities, dog daycares are popping up everywhere to meet this need. But as with any service, it’s crucial to weigh the benefits and drawbacks before deciding if it’s the right choice for your dog.

Benefits of Dog Daycare

Socialization Opportunities

One of the biggest perks of dog daycare is the chance for your pup to socialize with other dogs. Socialization is essential for dogs to develop good behaviour and build confidence. In a daycare setting, dogs can interact with a variety of breeds and personalities, helping them to become more adaptable and less fearful in different situations.

Dog daycares often organize playgroups based on size, temperament, and energy level, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all. Activities might include supervised play sessions, group walks, and even agility courses. These activities not only keep your dog entertained but also promote healthy social behaviours.

Fun Fact: Did you know that well-socialized dogs are generally happier and less prone to behavioural problems? This is why many trainers and veterinarians recommend regular social interactions for dogs of all ages.

In addition to social benefits, daycare provides physical exercise that’s vital for a dog’s health. Regular play helps maintain a healthy weight, improves cardiovascular health, and reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases.

Physical Exercise

Keeping your dog active is crucial for their overall well-being. Dog daycare provides ample opportunities for physical exercise, which is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing obesity. Many daycares offer a variety of activities such as fetch, tug-of-war, and obstacle courses that keep dogs engaged and moving throughout the day.

Physical exercise isn’t just about burning off energy; it’s also vital for mental stimulation. Dogs that are physically active are generally happier and more content. A tired dog is a happy dog, and regular exercise can help reduce behavioural issues like excessive barking, chewing, and digging.

Key Takeaway: Regular exercise can extend your dog’s lifespan by reducing the risk of chronic health issues. Ensuring your dog gets plenty of exercise at daycare can lead to a longer, healthier life.

Dog daycare can be especially beneficial for high-energy breeds that require more than just a walk around the block. Breeds like Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, and Australian Shepherds thrive in environments where they can run, jump, and play to their heart’s content.

Professional Supervision

One of the significant advantages of dog daycare is the professional supervision provided. Trained staff members are equipped to handle a wide range of situations, from minor scuffles between dogs to medical emergencies. Their expertise ensures that your dog is safe and well-cared for throughout the day.

Professional caregivers understand dog behaviour and body language, allowing them to intervene before conflicts escalate. They also provide structured activities that keep dogs mentally stimulated and physically active. This level of supervision is particularly reassuring for owners who might worry about their dog’s safety and well-being when they’re not around.

Additionally, many dog daycares have strict health and safety protocols in place, including regular cleaning and disinfecting, vaccination requirements, and emergency procedures. Knowing that your dog is in a clean and safe environment can provide significant peace of mind.

Professional supervision also means that any signs of illness or distress in your dog can be quickly addressed. Staff members are trained to recognize symptoms of common health issues and can take immediate action to ensure your dog receives the necessary care.

Staff qualifications and training

Qualification/Training Description Importance
Professional Certification Certifications from recognized organizations (e.g., Certified Professional Dog Trainer – CPDT, Fear Free Certified Professional). Ensures staff have formal education and training in dog behaviour, training techniques, and handling.
First Aid and CPR for Dogs Training in canine first aid and CPR, often provided by organizations like the American Red Cross. Equips staff to handle medical emergencies, providing immediate care to stabilize the dog until veterinary help is available.
Behavioural Training Courses in understanding and managing dog behaviour, including aggression, anxiety, and socialization. Helps staff effectively manage a range of behaviours, ensuring a safe and stress-free environment for all dogs.
Breed-Specific Knowledge Knowledge about the specific needs, behaviours, and temperaments of different dog breeds. Allows staff to tailor care and activities to suit the unique characteristics of each breed, promoting well-being and safety.
Obedience Training Training in basic and advanced obedience commands and techniques. Enables staff to maintain control over dogs, ensuring discipline and safety within the daycare environment.
Health and Safety Protocols Training in hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection practices, as well as recognizing signs of illness. Ensures a clean, healthy environment, minimizing the risk of disease transmission and keeping dogs safe.
Emergency Procedures Training in handling various emergencies, including evacuations, natural disasters, and aggressive incidents. Prepares staff to respond quickly and effectively in emergencies, ensuring the safety of all dogs and staff members.
Socialization Techniques Techniques for safely introducing dogs to new environments, people, and other dogs. Promotes positive interactions and reduces the likelihood of conflicts and stress among dogs.
Nutrition and Feeding Knowledge of canine nutrition, dietary needs, and safe feeding practices. Ensures dogs receive appropriate and safe meals/snacks, accommodating dietary restrictions and preferences.
Play and Enrichment Activities Training in organizing and supervising safe and engaging play activities and enrichment exercises. Keeps dogs mentally and physically stimulated, reducing boredom and promoting overall well-being.
Communication Skills Training in effective communication with dog owners, including providing updates on their dog’s behaviour, health, and activities. Ensures clear, consistent communication with owners, building trust and ensuring owners are informed about their dog’s care and any issues that arise.
Conflict Resolution Techniques for managing and resolving conflicts between dogs or between dogs and staff. Ensures a harmonious daycare environment, minimizing stress and potential injuries.
Vaccination and Health Check Protocols Training in verifying vaccination records and conducting basic health checks on incoming dogs. Ensures all dogs meet health requirements, reducing the risk of disease outbreaks.
Continuing Education Commitment to ongoing learning through workshops, seminars, and courses on the latest in dog care and training. Keeps staff up-to-date with the latest best practices, techniques, and research in dog care, ensuring continuous improvement in the quality of care provided.

Potential Drawbacks of Dog Daycare

Cost Considerations

While dog daycare offers numerous benefits, it’s important to consider the cost. The price of daycare can vary widely depending on location, services offered, and the length of stay. In major cities, the average cost for full-day care can range from $30 to $50 per day. For some pet owners, this can add up quickly, especially if daycare is needed regularly.

To manage costs, some daycares offer packages or memberships that can reduce the daily rate. However, it’s crucial to weigh these costs against the benefits provided. For many, the peace of mind and the advantages of professional care are well worth the expense.

Tip: Consider looking for promotions or discounts for multiple dogs or long-term commitments. Many daycares offer deals that can make the service more affordable.

It’s also important to remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Ensure that the daycare you choose maintains high standards of care and has well-trained staff. Sometimes paying a bit more guarantees a higher level of service and safety for your pet.

Comparing dog daycare costs to other pet care options, such as hiring a dog walker or in-home pet sitting, can also help you determine the most cost-effective solution for your needs.

Cost comparison with other dog care options

Service Average Cost (CAD) Low Range (CAD) High Range (CAD)
Dog Daycare (Full Day) 35 30 50
Dog Daycare (Half Day) 20 15 30
Dog Walker (Per Walk) 25 20 30
In-Home Pet Sitting (Per Day) 45 35 60
Long-term Boarding (Per Day) 55 45 70

Health Risks

Just like sending a child to daycare, sending your dog to a group setting can come with health risks. The most common concern is the spread of infectious diseases, such as kennel cough and canine influenza. While reputable daycares require vaccinations, no environment with multiple dogs is entirely risk-free.

To mitigate these risks, ensure that the daycare follows strict hygiene protocols, such as regular cleaning and sanitizing of play areas, toys, and equipment. Ask about their policies on vaccination requirements and how they handle outbreaks of illness.

Important: Regularly check your dog for signs of illness after attending daycare, including coughing, sneezing, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Early detection can prevent the spread of diseases and ensure your dog receives prompt treatment.

In addition to infectious diseases, injuries can occur during play. Even with professional supervision, accidents can happen. Dogs may get into scuffles or overexert themselves, leading to minor injuries. It’s essential to choose a daycare with trained staff who can manage these situations effectively and provide immediate care if needed.

By carefully selecting a reputable daycare with high health and safety standards, you can minimize these risks and ensure a safer environment for your dog.

Behavioural Issues

While dog daycare can be excellent for socialization, it can also contribute to behavioural issues if not managed properly. Some dogs may develop bad habits, such as resource guarding or rough play, from their interactions with other dogs. Additionally, the high-energy environment can lead to overstimulation, causing anxiety or hyperactivity.

Professional daycares address these issues by grouping dogs based on their temperament and energy levels. They also implement structured activities and rest periods to prevent overstimulation. However, it’s crucial for owners to monitor their dog’s behaviour and communicate with daycare staff about any concerns.

Expert Advice: Regularly discuss your dog’s behaviour with daycare staff and seek professional training if needed. Consistent training and reinforcement at home can help mitigate any negative behaviours.

It’s also essential to consider your dog’s personality when choosing daycare. Some dogs may thrive in a social environment, while others may find it stressful. Understanding your dog’s needs and temperament can help you make the best decision for their well-being.

By being proactive and working closely with daycare staff, you can ensure that your dog benefits from the experience without developing unwanted behaviours.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can be a significant challenge for dogs attending daycare, especially those who are not used to being away from their owners. Dogs with separation anxiety may exhibit signs of distress, such as excessive barking, whining, or destructive behaviour. This can be stressful for both the dog and the daycare staff.

Tip: Gradually acclimate your dog to daycare by starting with short visits and gradually increasing the time spent away. This can help your dog adjust to the new environment and reduce anxiety.

Daycares that offer individualized attention and a calming environment can be beneficial for dogs with separation anxiety. Look for facilities that provide comfortable resting areas and one-on-one time with staff members. Additionally, some daycares offer special programs or activities designed to ease anxiety, such as aromatherapy or calming music.

If your dog continues to struggle with separation anxiety, consider consulting a professional trainer or behaviourist. They can provide personalized strategies and support to help your dog cope with being away from you.

Overstimulation and Fatigue

While dog daycare can provide much-needed physical and mental stimulation, too much activity can lead to overstimulation and fatigue. Overstimulated dogs may become hyperactive, anxious, or exhibit signs of stress. It’s essential to find a daycare that balances playtime with rest periods to ensure your dog remains happy and healthy.

A well-balanced daycare schedule includes plenty of playtime but also allows for regular rest breaks to prevent overstimulation.

Look for daycares that provide a structured routine with designated nap times and quiet areas where dogs can relax. This helps prevent burnout and ensures your dog gets the rest they need to recharge.

Fun Fact: Dogs can sleep up to 18 hours a day! Ensuring they have enough downtime is crucial for their overall well-being.

Communicate with daycare staff about your dog’s energy levels and preferences. They can tailor activities and rest periods to suit your dog’s needs, ensuring a positive and enjoyable experience.

Choosing the Right Dog Daycare

Researching Options

Choosing the right dog daycare involves thorough research and careful consideration. Start by gathering recommendations from friends, family, or your veterinarian. Online reviews and testimonials can also provide valuable insights into the quality of care offered by different facilities.

Tip: Create a checklist of your priorities and must-haves for a daycare, such as location, cost, staff qualifications, and facilities. This can help you narrow down your options and find the best fit for your dog.

Visit the daycare’s website to learn more about their services, policies, and staff. Look for clear information about their qualifications, experience, and approach to dog care. A well-designed website with detailed information is often a good indicator of a professional and reputable daycare.

Visiting Daycare Facilities

Once you’ve shortlisted a few daycares, schedule visits to each facility. This allows you to see the environment firsthand and ask questions about their services and policies. Pay attention to the cleanliness, safety measures, and overall atmosphere of the daycare.

Important: Observe how the staff interacts with the dogs and whether they seem attentive and caring. A knowledgeable and friendly team is crucial for ensuring your dog receives the best care.

Use a checklist to evaluate each facility during your visit. Consider factors such as the size and layout of play areas, the condition of the equipment and toys, and the ratio of staff to dogs. A lower staff-to-dog ratio ensures that each dog receives adequate attention and supervision.

Trial Periods

Many dog daycares offer trial periods or introductory sessions for new dogs. This allows your dog to experience the daycare environment and gives you a chance to see how they adapt. During the trial period, observe your dog’s behaviour and interaction with other dogs and staff.

Tip: Take note of any signs of stress or discomfort and discuss them with the daycare staff. They can provide insights and suggestions to help your dog adjust.

A successful trial period can help you feel more confident in your choice and ensure that the daycare is a good fit for your dog. If your dog seems happy and comfortable, it’s a positive sign that they will enjoy their time at daycare.

Balancing Cost and Quality

While cost is an important consideration, it’s essential to balance it with the quality of care provided. The cheapest option may not always offer the best services or facilities. Conversely, the most expensive daycare isn’t necessarily the best fit for your dog.

Look for a daycare that offers a good balance of affordability and high-quality care. Compare the services and amenities offered by different daycares to ensure you get the best value for your money.

Consider asking about package deals or discounts for multiple dogs or long-term commitments. Many daycares offer special rates for regular clients, which can make the service more affordable in the long run.

Alternatives to Dog Daycare

Hiring a Dog Walker


If dog daycare isn’t the right fit for your pet, hiring a dog walker can be an excellent alternative. Dog walkers provide one-on-one attention and can tailor walks to your dog’s specific needs and energy levels. This option is especially beneficial for dogs that prefer individual attention over group settings.


  • Personalized care and attention
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Reduced risk of illness from other dogs


  • Less socialization with other dogs
  • Can be costly for multiple daily walks

Tip: Look for dog walkers with positive reviews and professional training. A reputable dog walker can provide exercise and mental stimulation while ensuring your dog’s safety.

In-home Pet Sitting

In-home pet sitting offers another alternative to dog daycare. A pet sitter can stay in your home or visit regularly to care for your dog. This option provides a familiar environment for your dog and allows for customized care.


  • Comfort of home environment
  • Personalized attention and care
  • Can include additional services like feeding and medication


  • Less opportunity for socialization
  • Can be more expensive than daycare

Important: Ensure your pet sitter is bonded, insured, and has excellent references. This ensures they are trustworthy and capable of providing high-quality care for your dog.

Long-term Boarding

For extended periods away from home, long-term boarding might be a suitable option. Boarding facilities, such as Jet Pet Resort’s dog boarding service, offer comprehensive care, including feeding, exercise, and medical attention. This option is ideal for vacations or business trips where your dog needs reliable care.


  • Comprehensive care and supervision
  • Structured routine and activities
  • Medical care available if needed


  • Can be expensive
  • Less personal attention compared to in-home care

Fun Fact: Some boarding facilities offer luxury amenities like swimming pools, spa treatments, and even TV time for dogs!

When choosing a boarding facility, visit the location, meet the staff, and ensure it meets your standards for cleanliness, safety, and comfort.


Summarising the Pros and Cons

In summary, dog daycare offers a variety of benefits, including socialization opportunities, physical exercise, and professional supervision. These aspects can greatly enhance your dog’s well-being and provide peace of mind for pet owners. However, there are also potential drawbacks to consider, such as cost, health risks, and the possibility of behavioural issues.

Key Takeaway: Weighing the pros and cons carefully can help you make an informed decision about whether dog daycare is the right choice for your pet.

Final Thoughts on Dog Daycare

Ultimately, the decision to enrol your dog in daycare should be based on your dog’s individual needs and your lifestyle. For many pet owners, the benefits of dog daycare far outweigh the drawbacks. However, it’s crucial to choose a reputable facility that provides high-quality care and meets your specific requirements.

Important: Continuously monitor your dog’s behaviour and health, and maintain open communication with daycare staff to ensure your dog has a positive experience.


What should I bring when dropping off my dog at daycare?

Typically, you’ll need to bring your dog’s food, any necessary medications, and their favourite toys or blanket to make them feel more comfortable. Some daycares also require proof of vaccinations.

How do I know if my dog enjoys daycare?

Signs that your dog enjoys daycare include excitement when arriving, positive interactions with staff and other dogs, and coming home tired but happy. Watch for any signs of stress or anxiety and discuss them with the daycare staff.

Can daycare help with my dog’s separation anxiety?

Yes, a good daycare can help alleviate separation anxiety by providing social interaction, mental stimulation, and a structured routine. However, it’s important to introduce your dog gradually and ensure the daycare environment is calming and supportive.

What happens if there is an emergency at the daycare?

Reputable daycares have emergency protocols in place, including immediate medical attention from a veterinarian if needed. Make sure to ask about their emergency procedures and ensure they have your contact information and your vet’s details.

Are there age or breed restrictions for dog daycare?

Some daycares have age or breed restrictions based on their facility and staff capabilities. It’s important to check with the daycare about their policies to ensure your dog is a good fit for their environment.