Knowing your dog is having fun (in a safe, stimulating environment) alleviates your guilt and worry. But, for many dog parents, the idea of sending your dog to daycare sparks a bunch of questions: is it suitable for my dog? Will they enjoy it? What should I be looking for in a daycare centre?
So, if you’re looking for the perfect fit, you’re barking up the right tree. This blog post will answer all your questions – and help you pick the right doggy daycare centre for your pup.
Do dogs enjoy going to doggy daycare?
Dogs need mental and physical stimulation to stay healthy and happy – and doggy daycare is a brilliant way of helping your dog interact with other dogs and people. It’s a space to grow in confidence; your pup will meet a bunch of different personalities and develop their social skills.
It’s important to choose a centre that offers more than just an open field, though. While open fields are lovely, they can cause dogs to become over-aroused, which can lead to dog fights and decreased obedience to your training commands. It can also lead to more injuries, and difficulty settling down when they come home at the end of the day.
Dogs like variety – including indoor spaces, outdoor sniffs (trees, leaves), and fun equipment (tunnels, sandpits) to climb/play on. If the daycare centre offers a wide variety, you can be sure your dog will have a blast
What age is best for doggy daycare?
We welcome dogs from 8 months and up – and they are grouped safely based on their size, age and play style.
Why the wait? It’s all about giving those growing ligaments and muscles the time they need to strengthen before they’re able to take on a full day of play. For younger pups, a group walk does the trick – offering plenty of socialisation. Then, they can join us once they hit the right age!
What breeds like doggy daycare most?
If your dog loves learning new tricks and soaking up all the playtime they can get, they’ll love daycare. There are certain breeds that are daycare enthusiasts – like hounds, terriers, toy dogs and gun dogs:
- Basset hounds
- Italian greyhounds
- Shiba inu
- Lhasa apsos
- Labrador retrievers
- Golden retrievers
Some working breeds, like shepherds, collies and malamutes for example might find daycare a tad overwhelming (due to their high prey drives and work-orientated instincts). If your dog is a working/pastoral breed that might not settle into daycare life, you might find group walks – with a few friends to socialise with and plenty of exercise – would be better suited. That way, they can really release those natural instincts.
Of course, there are many exceptions to this list and we like to learn about each individual dog. Just like people, some like many friends – others aren’t as keen. So, it’s important to make sure each dog is in the right environment that’ll help them thrive.
How often can dogs go to daycare?
Twice a week is the golden ticket. Dogs are similar to us; they thrive on routine. Daycare is about offering a structured environment – with set playtimes, rest periods and feeding schedules. This helps your pup feel secure and comfortable, which contributes to their overall well-being.
We find that twice a week is enough to break up the week for you, and it makes sure your furry friend settles into a fantastic routine. This will help them get the best out of our training, and, most importantly, feel right at home at daycare. Even if they attend once a week, they’re part of the daycare family – a regular session makes sure they’re comfortable with the space, staff and the other dogs.
Do dogs sleep at daycare?
Absolutely! It’s important for dogs to have downtime, to process what they’ve learned through play and training. Rest is key for dogs’ well-being. So, to make sure your pup comes home relaxed and content, we have a daily lunchtime nap. (We even stick relaxing music on to encourage sleep and they snuggle up with us on the sofas and beds.)
Finding the right fit
All doggy daycare centres must be licensed by their local council. (Just look for a 5-star licence – like ours!) That’s a top priority.
We also recommend checking that the doggy daycare:
- Has qualified staff – including canine first aid qualifications
- Gives dogs time to rest every day
- Separates dogs into safe groups, e.g. by size/age/play style
- Has secure, escape-proof fencing
- Offers plenty of enrichment activities (e.g. scent work, agility training, a variety of equipment)
- Has shade/air con for hot weather
- Has indoor facilities for when it’s cold/wet
Here’s a checklist of questions to ask the daycare centre:
- What do the dogs do all day?
- What is the daily structure?
- Where do the dogs rest?
- What happens when the weather is awful?
- What ratio of staff to dogs do you work with?
- If a dog needs some quiet time where do they go?
- How do you cater for puppies with growing ligaments?
- How do you keep senior dogs safe in the winter?
- How do you store the dog’s food?
- What is your insurance coverage?
- Do you have links with local vets?
- How do they deal with dogs with allergies?
- What happens if two dogs don’t get along?
The best doggy daycare centre in Norwich (and the UK!)
Our luxury doggy daycare centre is at White House Farm, Sprowston – just a few minutes from Norwich city centre. It safely houses up to 33 dogs per day and is licensed by Broadland District Council (with a 5-star rating).
Oh, and we’ve been awarded the UK’s Best Doggy Daycare Centre two years on the trot!
Why? Our team aren’t just dog lovers – they’re certified dog trainers and behaviourists, with a genuine passion for dogs’ wellbeing. Each team member is trained in dog body language, multiple dog management and first aid, and they have at least two years of experience working in the animal industry. (Most of our team have been with us for years – we’ve been caring for dogs since 2013!)
Norwich dog owners pick Tom & Toto because we:
- Are open for 10-hour days (8AM – 6PM)
- Have a mobile-friendly booking system
- Offer flexible drop-off/pick-up times
- Are able to pick up and collect dogs from NR1-NR4
- Have bespoke natural play equipment (indoors and outdoors!)
- Shower your dog to make sure they head home clean and fluffy
- Email over photos at the end of each day, so you can see how much fun your pup had!
- Invite you to join our VIPP lounge (Very Important Pet Parents). This is our private Facebook group – keeping you in the loop with events, tips, news and updates
- Are convenient to reach (two minutes inside the NDR!)
- Include daily naptimes – along with agility, play and scent work
How do I introduce my dog to doggy daycare?
Interested in seeing our facility? We offer tours in the evenings, and we’ll check your dog’s compatibility at a free assessment morning. You can also get a peek behind the scenes on Instagram, to catch a glimpse at our doggy daycare centre!
To register your spot at Tom & Toto daycare, tap here.