Blog Dog Daycare Frequently Asked Questions
If you are a dog owner with an unpredictable schedule or work long hours, leaving a dog alone for long periods is challenging for you and your puppy. Dogs who endure six or more hours without appropriate exercise may suffer stress. Some owners hire a dog walker; others find dog daycare is the best option for their pets. A daycare environment is an excellent option if you have a well-socialized dog who enjoys other dogs’ company and would benefit from lots of stimulation, playtime, and frequent exercise.
Is doggy daycare right for your pet? The needs of every dog are different. You are best equipped to make a decision.
Trusting your pet with people you do not know is difficult. You can ease your concerns knowing our VIP team of professional daycare staff has the passion, training, and certification to provide your pet with the best possible care. They are trained and knowledgeable about animal behavior and familiar with safety protocols and basic care. We understand pet parents have many important questions about our services and facility. Here we try to answer the most commonly asked questions.
What is doggy daycare?
Doggy daycare is a facility to drop off your pet to play with other dogs and our trained staff in a fun, safe, clean, and well-supervised environment. When you choose Very Important Paws, we ensure a safe, healthy, and happy environment for the well-being of your puppy.
Dogs are social animals and require interaction with other dogs to stay healthy and happy. Dog daycare provides socialization opportunities for your dog. We offer spacious play areas that allow playing and running with other dogs. It is an excellent way for your dog to burn energy and develop social skills.
What are doggy daycare benefits?
Doggy daycare is more than a play date for a pet. Besides the peace of mind and convenience it provides to pet parents, there are amazing things for pets. Dogs attending doggy day care are not as anxious as other dogs, which means fewer destructive behaviors, such as soiling in the home or chewing on furniture.
There is less suffering from separation anxiety. Because the daycare staff members repeat commands throughout the day, dogs are more inclined to follow them. The dogs are less fearful in unfamiliar surroundings and are more social.
Dogs who go to daycare regularly are generally happier. Due to the number of activities dogs enjoy, they are more fit. The mental and physical stimulation of belonging to a pack is something dogs crave. They enjoy seeing members of the pack, playing games, getting a dopamine rush, and coming home tired and happy.
To summarize the benefits
- An opportunity to meet and play with other pets
- Mental stimulation
- A routine that relieves boredom and separation anxiety
- Exercise – The dog will be tired and relaxed when returning home
Can puppies and senior dogs participate?
Puppies have to be at least 12 weeks old. Senior dogs are welcome. They are matched with a group compatible with their energy level. We do not discriminate against certain breeds. If there are limitations, disclose them to the daycare staff to ensure the dog has an enjoyable and safe time at daycare.
How are dogs separated?
Dogs are as different from humans. Some dogs’ idea of play can injure or scare less active or smaller dogs. Our separation policy is based on
- Level of activity
Smaller dogs are kept separate from larger dogs to prevent bullying or accidental injury. Mellow dogs are separated from territorial or more aggressive dogs to avoid being annoyed by more active dogs.
Dogs who want to spend time relaxing in the sun are separated from those who like to dash and play to prevent them from being run over constantly. The group chosen for the pets is the one that is a good fit for their size and temperament.
Why does a dog have to be spayed or neutered?
The regulations of daycare are designed for the safety of the group. Dogs that are not neutered or spayed are sometimes a problem in an open-play environment like doggy daycare. We make no judgment about keeping dogs intact but require them to be spayed or neutered after six months to attend daycare so all dogs are in a safe daycare environment.
Neutering and spaying curb behaviors that prevent dogs from being accepted in a pack. It maintains fair play and balance. Intact dogs have a high drive to protect spaces, toys, and other dogs.
Neutering and spaying dogs allow them to play with other dogs without being over-possessive. No dog stands out more than the other dogs. Intact dogs are welcome at Very Important Paws for one-on-one programs that provide lots of play and love.
What toys and activities are offered?
The dogs are offered ice cubes, hoses, sprinklers, and a swimming pool during the summer months. We have chew toys, tires, and large play equipment that ensures the dogs always have something to do. Activities that are part of a dog’s care vary daily. We offer scent games, ball time, water time, and more based on the season and the dogs’ energy levels.
Do dogs get to take a break or wind down?
Some dogs can run all day; others burn out a bit sooner. The staff watches for cues that tell when a down has had enough. We gladly separate dogs from the pack for a few minutes or hours to ensure they get the needed rest and enjoy their time with the group.
Is there a schedule of daycare activities?
The itinerary of activities for doggy daycare is available seven days a week. It includes
- 7 to 9 AM – Open Playtime
- 9 to 10 AM – Ball Chase
- 10 to 11 AM – Scent Hounds
- 11 AM to 12 PM – Pool Time
- 12 to 2 PM – Assigned activity with other dogs
- 2 to 3 PM – Wind downtime with staff members. Cookies and ice cream are served.
- 3 to 7 PM – Open Playtime
Should dogs be fed before going to daycare?
It is recommended that canines be fed a minimum of 90 minutes before joining our activities to prevent bloating. Bloating may result from engaging in play too soon after eating. It can be harmful to dogs.
How many dogs are in a group?
The size of the group varies from day to day. The pack is placed into groups based on the dog’s play activity, temperament, and size to ensure they all have a safe and fun time. Our staff members place the dogs into groups as they arrive. They assess how the dog seems to feel that day and where they will have the most fun.
Are the dogs under constant supervision?
Our daycare staff is always in the yard or room with the dogs. A group of dogs is never left unattended. The staff interacts with the group by moving through the pack. They watch for verbal or physical cues that tell how the dogs are doing.
What is your dog-to-staff ratio?
Our dog-to-staff ratio is kept low to ensure the safety of all dogs in our care. It helps provide individual attention to every dog. The answer to the question depends on the dogs’ level of energy. The Pet Care Services Association recommends one staff member per 15 dogs. If dogs need a little more attention, they are placed in smaller groups, giving the staff more opportunities to play with them or work on behaviors.
What is a Temperament Test?
A Temperament Test involves dropping the dog off for two to six hours. Often dogs are overly anxious or excited about new surroundings. The four-hour time frame allows the staff to see how a pet operates in a group setting.
A trained daycare technician gradually introduces the pet to a closed-off area of the daycare room. When the dog is comfortable, there is an introduction to dogs that are submissive and passive, having a gift for calming new dogs. Then the pet is slowly introduced to a larger group.
The staff is trained to pick up sounds, body language, and breathing cues. Most dogs pass the Temperament Test. If a dog does not pass, it is not an implication that the pet is anti-social or aggressive; it means they were unable to adapt to the specific surroundings. The test can be retaken in a few days. Sometimes dogs have an off day. You and the daycare technician discuss the test in detail.
Is there a lot of barking and noise?
It may surprise you to learn there is not a lot of barking and noise. Daycare is bustling with energy, but the dogs spend most of the course of the day playing and running around. The dogs do bark. Some dogs bark more than others. Seldom do many dogs bark at the same time. Music is played in the background. Barking is usually reserved for welcoming new dogs or an occasional over-spirited game.
My dog drinks a lot of water after daycare. Do they get water while at the facility?
The dogs have clean water available at all times. Due to the physical and mental stimulation during daycare, some dogs only drink a little water when they are with us. Like small children, new people, smells, sounds, and sights can be exciting, and the dog forgets to drink.
That behavior is not unusual. We monitor pets’ intake and let owners know if their pet is not drinking water. If dogs drink excess water at home, watch how much they consume in a short period. Quickly drinking large amounts may cause them to vomit.
What happens if my dog is in an altercation?
Like children who play on playgrounds at school or in a daycare environment, from time to time, a dog can get hurt while playing with other canines. Due to the number of staff and the training they have, injuries are rare.
If injuries do occur, Very Important Paws is not responsible for medical expenses. If you are not comfortable with the responsibility, day boarding is an excellent option for your dog to have fun without being in a group. Generally, pet owners feel the benefit of group participation outweighs the risks.
Do you walk dogs?
Some pet owners hire a dog walker. The dogs under our care have access to play areas all day. They get sufficient exercise as they run around with other pets. For your peace of mind and the dogs’ safety, they do not leave the facility while in our care.
How does dog daycare compare to a dog kennel?
Traditional kennels often place dogs in cages for most of the day. They let them out briefly or put them in small spaces for a short period. Usually, dogs in kennels do not interact with humans or other animals.
What should be expected when the dog comes home?
Your dog may be sleepier than usual after daycare or boarding. Do not worry, the sleepiness is normal. Dogs play all day and are probably hungry and ready to rest for a while with a nap. Sometimes, dogs have a little more energy when they get home.
High energy is not due to a lack of playtime. Reasons for an increased activity level could be not being in the mood for group activities while at daycare or a buildup of endurance similar to that of an athlete in training.
Do you offer services such as training or grooming?
Our trainer, Marc Street, has been rehabilitating and training dogs for over 20 years. His specialty is working with ‘difficult’ dog behavior others find hard to handle. At VIP, we offer West Palm Beach dog grooming services.
Our top priority is to keep your dog healthy and clean. Our comprehensive list of services include
- Ear cleaning
- Teeth cleaning
- Nail trimming
How much do you charge for services?
- Single Full Day – $42
- Family Play Full Day – $34 per dog
- Half Day – $31 up to five hours
- Pay by the Hour – $12
- No Guest Play – $42
There are multi-day packages available—Call 591-366-9000 for pricing. We also offer individual pool time for $60 per day or a 10-session package for $605.
- Bathing – $12
- Grooming – $12
- Hotel – $12 per hour
- 10-Session Package – $85
Very Important Paws also offers boarding services at our dog hotel. We gladly take care of your pet when you plan and trip and need to leave your furry friend somewhere that provides peace of mind.