Friday, May 25, 2007

When Moms Away, the Dogs Will Play....

You may have noticed that Polka Dot Pup has been dragging it's paws lately with our updates, but work has been keeping our pound pups super busy!

So we realized, pet lovers all around us have busy lives too. How can we make sure our pups don't get too lonely when our lives get busy?

We all know there is no better solution then to spend quality time with our pets but when we are unable to give them all of our time due to unavoidable, everyday schedules there is a little thing called Doggie Daycare. Becoming increasingly popular in the animal world, daycare isn't just for kids anymore. In fact, a large number of pet owners are dropping their four legged friends off for a day full of play while they head off to work.

I ran across this article on MSN's Dog Central that gives you the low down on what Doggie Day Care is all about:

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Doggy Daycare
By Sandy Robins

Is your dog a “latch key pup” – that is, a dog that sits home alone, waiting to hear the key turn in the door on your return from a long day at the office? If your pal has taken to chewing your favorite pair of shoes or gnawing at the furniture while you’re out, it could simply mean she’s lonely and is craving some mental and physical stimulation. Signing her up for doggy daycare could very well be the answer.

These days, most cities offer a choice of facilities where your pal can have fun exercising and socializing with other dogs while you slave away at your desk to pay for it! Finding the right care center for your dog is similar to researching a playschool for a child. If you are unable to get a personal recommendation, make a list of all the places in your area and visit each one to compare them.

What You Need to Know About Daycare
Ideally, the daycare center’s business hours should extend beyond the start and the end of your normal workday so you have time to drop her off and fetch her without rushing. It’s a good idea to inquire whether they charge a late fee when you arrive after the standard closing time. Some centers do run a canine taxi service which can be a great time-saver if you have a hectic schedule.

When you tour the facility, check to see how the staff reacts to all the dogs around them and whether all the dogs play together. Your pal may prefer a center where larger breeds are separated from the smaller ones. Make a note of how many water stations there are and ask how often they are refreshed. Most establishments require owners to pack their own doggy lunches to avoid any special dietary issues. Before she joins, your dog will have to pass a behavior assessment test to ensure that she’s well socialized and also provide proof that she’s had all her shots.

Most places don’t offer specialized walks because the dogs get enough exercise running around with one another. However, it’s important to ensure that there is both a spacious indoor and outdoor play area as well as a comfy, well ventilated nap corner.

Canine Enrichment
Many daycare facilities now call themselves “canine enrichment centers” and offer a variety of other services, such as obedience training, grooming, and massage therapy. Some even have a pond for supervised swimming, nature trails for the very energetic, and a recreation room with giant TV screens playing dog-orientated cartoons like “The Lady and the Tramp” where pups can retreat for some quiet time. Pet parents can also sign up for optional activities like doga (the doggy version of yoga) and paw painting classes.

What It Costs
Naturally, you get what you pay for and all this canine enrichment doesn’t come cheap! Be sure to ask about any discounts offered if you purchase for a fixed number of days a month or reductions if you have more than one dog.

If all this is beyond your financial reach, consider employing a dog walker for a daily outing. It should cost less. On this score, whether you rely on a professional walker or a neighbor, it has to be someone you not only trust with your dog but also feel secure giving access to your home.

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Below are a few resources on how to find a Doggie Daycare in your area: - A great online guide to locating pet daycare or boarding across the US. - Pet Day Care Services Directory

For other helpful tips on how to find a Doggy Day Care perfect for your pup, visit - How to Find Doggy Day Care

If you know of a great Doggy Day Care that you would like to share with fellow Polka Dot Pup readers, let us know about them!

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