Choosing a dog daycare and dog boarding facility

Jun 12, 2017

dog eating birthday cake whilst dog boarding

Questions To Ask When Choosing a Dog Daycare and Dog Boarding Facility

Congratulations! You’ve just brought a new dog into your family and you’re looking for him to get some exercise and socialize during the day and/or board whilst you’re away on holiday. So what are the next steps? How do you choose a dog daycare and dog boarding facility? How do you know if it’s a reputable facility? It can be a daunting decision as you want the best for your fur baby. We completely understand and have compiled a few questions to get started along your journey to finding the perfect dog daycare!

  • Where will my dog be playing, sleeping, and eating?
      1. Every reputable dog daycare or dog boarding facility will be pleased to show you where your pup will be eating, sleeping, and playing. Though it’s not uncommon to have specific hours during which a tour can take place, be wary of any facility that won’t let you see the spaces that your dog will be occupying – everything should be transparent!
  • Who will my dog be playing with?
    1. This is an important question because sometimes small dogs don’t like being around big dogs or sometimes older dogs prefer a slower pace to life as opposed to being around rambunctious dogs. A good dog daycare or dog boarding facility will understand this difference and place the dogs in various play group based on size, temperament, and energy levels. Also, the best facilities will conduct personality assessments on each dog to ensure good playful group dynamics.
  • What does the facility look and smell like?
      1. When you book an appointment to visit the dog daycare, ensure you walk around the play areas and sleeping areas and have a good sniff! Lingering smells of urine, feces, stains and dirt can be signs that general cleanliness and upkeep is poor. You obviously want to ensure that your dog’s home away from home is as welcoming and clean as possible. Of course, accidents happen, especially with puppies, but look for signs of long neglected stains and smells.
  • What about emergencies or injuries?
      1. Ask specifically what happens in the unfortunate event of an injury to your dog and what procedures are followed should that it occur. The most reputable daycares will notify you immediately with the description and extent of the injury with a recommendation of care and then follow your directions. Reputable dog daycares will also have a policy in place should the owner not be reachable. Typically this takes the form of a vet authorization form, which will allow the daycare to seek care for your pup.
  • What insurance coverage does the company have?
      1. Every business will have some sort of general liability insurance but when it comes to your pet, you’ll want to ensure that any bites, scratches, or injuries are covered should your furry friend be injured at doggie daycare. Read over the contract that each daycare facility provides carefully as some will require that you have your own insurance while others may require you to pay the company’s deductible should you need to make a claim.
  • How experienced are the staff? Are they bonded?
      1. You’ll want to know who is handling your dog, what experience he or she has, how long the staff has been at that specific daycare, and if they’re pet first aid certified. These are important questions as it speaks volumes to the overall care by the daycare and dog boarding facility. If the daycare attendants are happy people, you know your pup is in good hands. You’ll also want to know if the employees are bonded. The bonding process involves a criminal background check of the employees. This is especially important if your daycare arranges a pick up or drop off service from your home.
  • Local Regulations and By-Laws
  1. Obviously, local regulations will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but there are a few general things to look for across jurisdictions.First – are they’re any regulations about how many pets can be looked after at any given time? In Toronto, there are limits on the number of dogs that can be walked on the public streets at the any time (3 dogs if you don’t have a dog-walking license and a maximum of 6 dogs if you do). The number of dogs that can be housed in a private dwelling is 3 dogs but in a commercial property, there are no limits to the number of pets that can be kept. Be sure to ask your daycare if they have a staff to dog ratios and if there any limits of the number of pets at any given time. Take into consideration of size of dogs and size of facility when hearing these numbers as 10 Yorkies are not the same 10 Huskies should the dog to staff ratio be 10 dogs to 1 staff.Second – for boarding, are there any regulations about keeping animals overnight? In Toronto, unless you are an Animal Hospital or a Vet Clinic, there is no zoning category that allows for animals to be kept overnight without a zoning by-law variance. Though this by-law section is rarely, if ever, enforced, asking your daycare and boarding facility about this can demonstrate their professionalism and willingness to operate and comply with the local regulations.


There’s a lot to digest in the questions above but this should get you started to selecting the right dog daycare for your dog! Feel free to contact us for further information or check out our website. Any questions that you can think of that we haven’t covered above – feel free to leave a comment and we’ll incorporate it into the next version of this article.

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