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All Dog Daycares Are Not Created Equal….Your Guide to Evaluating the Best Option for your Dog

Dog daycares have become increasingly popular over the past decade, and the options in the Peoria area have increased in the past five years.  Play All Day opened in 2011 and was one of three options.  Today, there are at least ten options.  Daycares are popping up like Starbucks.


On the one hand, this makes me very happy.  It means people are seeing the importance of socializing their dogs.  It means that people are considering their dogs’ well-being in terms of exercise, mental health, and happiness.  Overall, it validates my long-held belief that people love their dogs and want the best for them.  Yay dog people!  Well done.


On the other hand, it raises some concerns for me.  Our lives are so busy and an active dog can really add to the stress of life (jobs, kids, family, social life).  Getting the dog out of the house and wearing him out can become a high priority.  Having more daycare options available to a Pet Parent is great, but are they good options?  Just because a dog daycare has opened and is available doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a quality facility that will keep your dog safe and meet your dog’s mental and emotional needs.  People want to do well by their dogs, but how to make a good decision when there are so many options.  It is a challenge for the average dog person to tell the differences between one daycare and the other, especially in today’s world of heavy-handed marketing and social media.  Practically anything can be made to look positive in this environment.  So, how can you get to the truth and make good choices for your dog?  That is the point of this blog series.


I’m often asked by clients when they are moving to a new community; “How can I find a new daycare that I can trust?”.  At this point, I usually offer to do some searching for them.  You can learn a lot from searching a website and social media posts.  Most of us will type “dog daycare near me” into the search engine.  But what then?  There are green flags and there are red flags if you know what to look for.  Once I narrow the search down, I provide a list of questions to the client and direct them to call the daycare prior to starting and to ask the questions then and throughout the enrollment process.  Asking the right questions can set you up for success when selecting a dog daycare.


Over the next several weeks, I will detail the traits that I consider to be important to a quality dog daycare program.  Some of the topics I will address are safety, staffing, and program details.  And to wrap it up, I will address how to assess the value you are receiving based on what you are paying.


You may be wondering what makes me qualified to write this and why my opinion matters.  Kudos to you.  We need more critical thinking in our world today.  Those who already know me and know Play All Day will understand that the opinions in this piece are legitimate and well-founded in research and experience.  For those who do not know me, I invite you to read through each piece and determine for yourself if the things I am saying make sense.  I ask you to question and consider.  I invite you to read my daycare biography so that you can see who I am, and how we came to where we are today.


Join me over the next several weeks and get an insider’s look into what makes a quality daycare.  Hopefully, the information will guide you as you search the results of “dog daycare near me”.  Next week, we will jump right into what I consider to be the most important factor in choosing a dog daycare, Safety.



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