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  • Writer's pictureLauren Goldberg Zeligson

Dog walker vs dog daycare: Which one is best for your dog?

Dog parents who work outside the home often stress about leaving their fur baby home alone all day. These worries are justified: dogs typically shouldn’t be left alone for eight or more hours.

Leaving a dog alone for this long without a mid-day break can result in boredom and destructive behavior, she says. And some dogs can’t comfortably go that long without a potty break. 

Hiring a dog walker or sending your dog to daycare are two common options to give your dog some much-needed attention while you’re away, but they’re not ideal for every dog. Here’s what you need to know before hiring a dog walker or finding a daycare to take care of your pups!

Understanding the options

While dog walkers and doggy daycares are popular ways to get your dog some attention during the workday, be aware that there are many different options within these categories — especially as new apps and dog-friendly businesses have surged in popularity. 

For example, daycare for dogs used to mostly consist of sending your dog to a doggy daycare or boarding center with a large group of dogs. But now, some pet caregivers (like us) offer in-home dog daycare with smaller groups of dogs, or in some cases, just your dog(s). Plus, daycares each run their centers differently, some with more expertise than others. 

Also, not all dog walking is the same. Some dog walkers may just take your dog(s) out on a stroll, which can be ideal if your pet is dog-aggressive. But other more experienced, professional dog walkers take small groups of pups to enhance socialization.

Keep in mind that it’s not all or nothing, either — you can use a combination. We believe doggy daycare is too stimulating for most dogs to go to daily, but some benefit from going once or twice a week to romp around.

Pros of Daycare

  1. Socialization: Dogs get to interact with other dogs and people, which can improve their social skills and reduce behavioral problems.

  2. Exercise: Daycare provides supervised playtime and exercise, keeping dogs physically active and reducing excess energy.

  3. Mental Stimulation: Engaging activities and toys at daycare can keep dogs mentally stimulated and prevent boredom.

  4. Supervision: Trained staff supervise play and interactions, ensuring safety and providing immediate care if needed.

  5. Convenience: Owners can drop off and pick up their dogs according to their schedule, making it convenient for busy lifestyles.

Cons of Daycare

  1. Cost: Regular daycare expenses can add up, especially for daily or frequent visits.

  2. Health Risks: Dogs in close contact can spread illnesses or parasites, despite daycare's best efforts to maintain cleanliness.

  3. Behavioral Issues: Some dogs may exhibit stress or anxiety in a group setting, leading to behavioral issues like aggression or excessive barking.

  4. Overstimulation: Constant interaction and play can overwhelm some dogs, leading to exhaustion or heightened stress levels.

  5. Compatibility: Not all dogs may thrive in a daycare environment, particularly if they are older, have health issues, or prefer solitude.

Before choosing doggy daycare, consider your dog's temperament, health, and socialization needs. Visiting the facility, checking reviews, and discussing your concerns with staff can help make an informed decision that benefits both you and your furry friend.

Give us a shout and ask about our dog walking/pop-in options! Call or text 918-770-6699!

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