Doggie daycare is a great way to socialize your dog and can be an excellent partner in helping to ease the guilt of a working mom or dad that find their pup spending a little too much time at home alone.
The important information we want to share is all doggie daycares are not created equal. Gracie attended two different daycares and I am sad to say I was not clearly educated on their differences until after she died.
At Gracie's primary daycare her collar was removed when she was crated and during play. At the daycare where she died, their policy was to remove the dog's personal collar, replaced it with a chain "training" collar, add a drag line, and send them off to play. Unfortunately, that was a deadly recipe of mistakes.
What may sound like a freak accident is not. Collar accidents occur far more frequently than is realized by caring, but unsuspecting, dog owners.
It happens fast. One moment your dog is happy, playing and loving life and the next moment their life is being strangled from them. The most common accident is when two dogs become entangled while they are neck biting during play. This is also the most fatal collar accident and how Gracie died at her daycare.
Always ask about their collar policy. We have found this varies greatly between daycares. Some facilities remove all collars which is known as playing naked and preferred. Some do not. Make it your business to understand exactly what you have signed up for.
Be sure you ask about supervision. Dogs should never be left unattended. How many dogs do they care for and what is their dog-to-staff ratio? What are their play group guidelines?
Do they have proper equipment to cut off a cloth, nylon, leather or chain collar if a dog gets into trouble on their property? Do they have an emergency preparedness plan? Ask about their health and safety policies.
Ask if their employees are professionally trained. Do they have basic knowledge of canine body language? Are they trained in CPR? Having a trained, knowledgable staff is crucial for a safe daycare environment.
Whenever you leave your dog anywhere, ask about their collar policy, This applies to daycares, boarding and kennel facilities and groomers. No one should be putting your dog in a crate or kennel with a collar on. Many businesses are truly just unaware of this danger. By asking questions about collar safety, you help bring that awareness.
We hope by sharing what we've learned, you are better prepared to ask the right questions to make an informed decision before leaving your beloved pup in the care of others.