Is Doggy Day Care Worth The Price? Complete Daycare Guide.

Doggie daycare gives pet owners peace of mind knowing their dog is well cared for and happy all day while they’re at work. If you’re interested in doggie daycare, I suggest you do your research. The options are unlimited. Only you can decide if daycare is a good fit for you and your dog. As well as determining whether or not the service is worth the price. 

Is Doggy Day Care Worth The Price?  Complete Daycare Guide. Boston Terrier Society.

What is doggie daycare?

Doggie daycare is short-term daytime care for dogs. It’s patterned after daycare for kids, with the exception that it’s for dogs. It started because working pet owners had a growing need for dog care that wasn’t putting their dog in a kennel all day or having a pet sitter come to the house. They started the first dog care in New York City, back in 1987. They called it “Yuppie Puppy Pet Care.” 

Doggie daycares vary depending upon the services offered. Some daycares provide a cage-free atmosphere where dogs play all day with each other. Other daycares have cages for dogs to stay in for part of the day. Some facilities have an outdoor play, while other daycares offer a large indoor play area.

What is the average cost of dog daycare?

To know if doggie daycare is worth it, you first need to know how much the service costs. Here is a list of one-day dog daycare costs in three major cities.

Kansas City

The average cost in Kansas City for a one day watch time is $24.00 per day.

New York City

The average cost in New York City for a one day watch time is $46.65 per day.

Los Angeles

The average cost in Los Angeles for a one day watch time is $38.33 per day.

Thoughts on cost

While my sample size may have been small, this gives you an idea on cost across the country for Doggie Daycare. Now you can decide if an average price tag of $36.32 per day is worth it. If the price is worth it, you will be happy to know the more often you go, the cheaper the daily rate.

What is the benefit of taking your dog to doggy daycare?

Doggie daycare has a variety of benefits for both dogs and their owners. For the pet owner, you can have the peace of mind knowing your dog is being well cared for and happy. It is hard leaving your dog alone all day at home, knowing she’ll be bored and might get into trouble. Plus, it’s sad thinking your dog will be lonely without you or anyone to play with. 

Here are some other benefits of doggy daycare for your dog…


Your dog needs exercise to stay healthy and happy. No matter how big or small your dog is, she needs exercise every day. Doggie daycares aim to give your dog lots of activity in a well-supervised area either outdoors or indoors. The old saying  “A tired dog is a happy dog” is correct. 

Your dog will be happier and healthier because of all the exercise she gets. For instance, if you own a Boston Terrier, you know your dog loves to run, and she runs fast. Doggie daycare gives your Boston space she needs to run around and have fun in a safe environment. 

What is the benefit of taking your dog to doggy daycare? Boston Terrier Society.


Dogs need plenty of playtime with other dogs. Doggie daycare meets a dog’s need for interaction with their own kind. It’s an excellent place for dogs to learn to get along with dogs of all ages and breeds.

I think this is why Bella is so aggressive at times with other dogs. Therefore a few years, she did not spend any time with other dogs. Putting Bella in a daycare environment while Emily and I were both working would have really benefited Bella’s mental and social health. 

Good Human Care

Doggie daycares hire people who love dogs. These folks interact with your dog, monitoring his particular needs and personality quirks. Your dog will get lots of petting and scratches behind the ear from the friendly staff. 

Playtime Oversight

Doggie daycares oversee dogs during their playtime. The staff works hard to keep all dogs as safe as possible. Many daycares divide dogs up according to size and age to avoid problems. 

The staff knows which dogs may be nervous around other dogs, so they keep these dogs free from anxiety while playing. They know how to entertain dogs, throwing them a ball or frisbee to add fun for the dogs.

Boredom Breaker

Dog daycare eases your dog’s boredom. It’s a great way to satisfy your dog’s natural desire to play and interact with other people and animals during the day while you’re gone. 

Peace of Mind

It’s hard to be separated from your dog all the time. If you have a demanding job, doggie daycare gives you peace about leaving your dog knowing she’ll be happy and well cared for while you’re gone.

What do doggy daycares provide?

Doggie daycare programs offer a variety of services to dog owners. Here’s a list of what they offer:

Most doggie daycares provide the basics:

  • Supervised playtime
  • Food and water when needed
  • Rest time when appropriate

There are those daycares that offer more options:

  • Dog training-they will even potty train your dog if needed. 
  • Grooming services
  • Pick and delivery
  • Transportation to your dog’s vet appointments

Others get a little fancier with things:

Is Doggy Day Care Worth The Price?  Complete Daycare Guide. Boston Terrier Society.
  • Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Photos of your dog
  • Holiday parties
  • Outings to dog parks

Is doggy daycare good for separation anxiety?

Dogs sometimes suffer from separation anxiety. There are various reasons this happens, and the dog’s background often comes into play. Certain breeds are prone to separation anxiety.

Here’s a list of which breeds prone to separation anxiety:

  • Labrador
  • Border Collie
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Toy Poodle
  • German Short-Haired Pointer
  • Vizsla  

Other dogs, such as a Boston Terrier, are sensitive by nature. These dogs become attached to their owner. They get very upset when their owners leave for the day. Doggie daycare helps dogs be away from their owners for short amounts of time. The care facilities usually provide dogs with the physical, emotional, and mental stimulation of being with other dogs. Over time, they can grow out of their separation anxiety. 

Separation anxiety symptoms in dogs:

  • Chewing shoes, walls or carpet
  • Barking or howling
  • Pacing 
  • Eating their feces
  • Running away from the yard 
  • Blocking the door when you’re trying to leave

Separation anxiety causes:

  • A change such as moving, death in the family, or someone leaves the home where the dog lives.
  • Change of owner. 
  • The owner has gone away for long periods of time.
  • Another pet who was your dog’s buddy dies or leaves the house.

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety. Be sure to make the caregivers aware of this so they can give your pup some extra love and attention as she adjusts.

Will doggy daycare help calm my dog down?

Doggie daycare is excellent for high energy dogs to work off their liveliness. These dogs need to play, run, walk, and chase. Breeds like; Pit Bull, German Shepherds, Dalmatians, Jack Russell, and Labrador Retrievers are hyperactive breeds. Daycare gives them the social and physical interaction they need. 

However, daycare can also overstimulate and overwhelm. It is a high energy atmosphere all day long for your dog. Some dogs find it hard to calm down. Your dog may act erratic or play too rough after being in doggie daycare. 

If daycare stresses out your dog, it may not be a healthy choice for her. For instance, your Boston Terrier might hide or cower at the gate as you enter the daycare. This could be a sign of being overwhelmed. 

Dogs that enjoy a calm and quiet environment find doggie daycare too much to handle. 

Signs of possible overstimulation:

  • Barking more
  • Lunging
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Hypervigilance
  • Mouthing 
  • Lack of impulse control

What if my dog doesn’t like doggie daycare?

Not all dogs are a good fit for doggie daycare. Some dogs are too bossy and become aggressive from the experience. Territorial dogs like Boston Terriers or Giant Schnauzers may have a hard time dealing with strange dogs. Sometimes these issues are temporary. 

After a while, your dog calms down and enjoys her stay. Other dogs may act out or become fearful. Overstimulation makes them edgy. Doggie daycares aim to make dogs happy. If your dog isn’t pleased, but more agitated, then doggie daycare might not be for her. 

It could mean that you need to find a smaller doggie daycare where there is less stimulation. A doggie daycare with 8 dogs instead of 30 dogs will definitely have a calmer vibe. You know your dog, so choose one that suits her best. 

Worst case scenario you may need to find one individual who can watch your dog all day. Or you may need to leave your dog at home by themselves.

At what age can puppies go to doggy daycare?

At what age can puppies go to doggy daycare? Boston Terrier Society.

Doggie daycares have different policies about what age they allow puppies in. Some daycares say puppies should be at least 8 weeks while others facilities have a cut off age of 12 weeks after they’ve received all their vaccinations. Most daycare centers keep young puppies in a group with puppies their age to keep them separate from other adult dogs. 

Whatever age your puppy is when she goes to doggie daycare, you must assess your puppy’s readiness for doggie daycare. As a young puppy, your pet needs extra sleep. Puppies need 12 hours of sleep per day or more. Bella, my adult Boston Terrier, sleeps anywhere from 16 to 18 hours per day. 

You also need to consider whether the overstimulating atmosphere of daycare is right for your pup. Will she be wearing herself out so much that she gets sick or injured? 

Another thing puppy owners need to assess is how they plan to train your puppy. If she’s at daycare 8 hours a day or more, will the staff teach her or will you? 

If it’s not you, will she listen to you at home? You can hire a trainer to help you at home or attend a class with your pup so she will learn to listen to you. In the early months, it can be confusing to your puppy about who’s the boss. 

What bad things can happen at dog daycare?

Most dog owners believe that dog daycare is an excellent place to socialize or exercise their dog, but some experts disagree. They suggest that dogs, although domesticated and trained, still have their ancestral dog instincts ingrained within them. They suggest that putting a group of dogs together in one place creates tension.

No Oversight and Bad Apples

Experts also worry about the little oversight daycare facilities have. Daycares really only need a business permit, and that is it. There is no oversight on how many dogs to trainers there must be. Also, some think dog daycare doesn’t always socialize a dog but allows dogs with lousy behavior to play freely with other dogs.  Every year dogs are injured at dog daycare facilities-nipped ears, bites, eye injuries, and behavior issues such as aggression.

Heat Injuries

Also, heat-related issues arise in doggie daycares without inside play areas. 

Check out my article on, 7 Signs A Boston Terrier is Over Heating.


Illness such as diarrhea, parasites, or sores is also common in dog daycares. 


Escaping is an ongoing issue for doggie daycare centers. Many times the enclosures aren’t high enough or secure enough to keep dogs inside. Dogs have jumped the fence, run off down the street and get hit by a car. 

This Doesn’t Mean Don’t Send Your Dog

Even though these things are scary to think about,  it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send your dog to daycare. Knowing these things can equip you to make a more informed decision when choosing your dog daycare. Going into your search with your eyes wide open is always the best way. 

Do dog daycares have insurance if my dog gets injured?

Dog daycare facilities have business insurance that is sometimes used to pay for dog injuries that occur in the daycare. Yet in most states, it’s the responsibility of the dog owner of the dog who bit another dog or person, to pay for the injury. 

Typically the daycare has a liability waiver you sign that states they aren’t responsible for injuries. And the owners of the dogs who did the damage are responsible. It’s an excellent question to ask your daycare staff about. Ask them who pays. 

Plus ask them how soon they will notify you if your dog gets injured. Some dog owners have reported that their daycare facility waited three hours before calling them about their dog’s injury. Dog owners tell how their dog was bitten by another dog, but they couldn’t get the daycare or the other dog’s owners to pay. Dog bites and injuries are common at doggie daycares, so you need to know who is responsible for these bites.  

What should I expect when my dog gets home from her first day at dog daycare? 

After her first day of daycare, it might surprise you at some changes in your dog. Here are a few things you might notice.

Exhausted, too tired to eat dinner

Is Doggy Day Care Worth The Price?  Complete Daycare Guide. Boston Terrier Society.
Bella my Boston Terrier.

She’ll be tired the first few days of daycare because of the exercise. She’ll grow accustomed to the high activity level, but it could take several weeks.


Your dog drank water during the day, but she played harder than usual, so she’ll want more water. You can always ask the daycare to give her extra water during the day, too. 

Sore muscles

This is normal. Your dog will grow used to the high activity level and not be so sore in the future. Give her a nice rub down and pamper her a bit to help her relax. 

Sore paws

Many dogs experience sore paws from running, especially on inside turf. It’s only temporary. Eventually, her paws will be toughened up.

Eager to return the next day or not

If your dog is eager to return the next day, that’s a great sign, but some dogs will be hesitant. It takes time to get accustomed to being away from home. Remember your first day of preschool? Give her some time, she will settle down and enjoy her stay after two weeks.

What do I look for when choosing a dog daycare?

Doggie daycares are popping up all over. Many of them offer special deals for the first time doggies who come to stay. It’s confusing to figure out which daycare is best for your pooch. But you must do your research and know what you’re getting yourself and your dog into. Here are some tips for choosing a doggie daycare.


Research your area’s doggie daycares. Decide how far you’re willing to travel to drop off and pick up. Some daycares provide this service. Are you ready to drive farther for a better daycare facility? Do you want a large facility or a smaller one? 


When you’ve found several daycares that seem right, ask for an appointment for an interview. Ask as many questions as possible about service and safety. One good question to ask the doggie daycare people is the dog to staff ratio at their facility.  Some daycares have 10 dogs or fewer to 1 staff members, but others have 20 dogs per 1 staff member. 

This makes a big difference in the supervision your dog is likely to get. Less control means a higher risk of injury or other trouble.


Get several references. Call the references and ask questions about the doggie daycare. See if their answers to your questions are the same as what the daycare said. 


Make an appointment to tour the daycare to watch where the dogs play. And be sure to watch how the staff interacts with the dogs. Are the dogs happy, not fearful or hyperactive? Is the staff happy? Relaxed? What’s the environment like? Is it calm or chaotic? What’s your take away impression. Do people seem to enjoy caring for the dogs? 


Don’t allow the price to be the only driving force of your decision. Quality doesn’t always mean high cost, some of the best doggie daycares are very affordable. It also depends on your needs. You might need a costlier daycare to meet your needs, such as pick up and deliver or grooming. 

Trust your gut

When it’s time to pick a doggie daycare, trust your gut. If you’re uncomfortable with any part of the interview or tour, don’t allow your dog to stay there. Keep looking!

How do you know you’ve found a good doggie daycare?

How do you know you’ve found a good doggie daycare? Boston Terrier Society.

So, you’ve picked your doggie daycare. So far, so good. And your dog seems happy and you feel good about your decision. But how do you know you’ve found the right place? 

Here is a checklist to gauge whether it’s the right doggie daycare….

  1. The staff knows your dog by name when you and your dog walk in the front door. 
  2. Your dog greets the staff back with a tail wag and eagerness to play.
  3. The staff tells you when they notice any changes in your dog. 
  4. They’re attentive to a dog’s needs. 
  5. The staff separates your little dog into a group of dogs his own size, age, or play styles. 
  6. The staff understands how to manage a pack of dogs and knows the breed’s tendencies. 
  7. You can stop by the doggie daycare for a visit any time of the day without an appointment. They’re happy to see you. 
  8. It exhausts your dog. She’s happy and relaxed when she comes home. She sleeps well at night.
  9. The staff helps you set up a schedule for your dog. They are organized.
  10. The staff helps you decide how many days a week your dog should come to daycare based on how your dog is doing. They know that too much daycare might not be the best for your dog.

Final thoughts…

Doggie daycare is an excellent way for dogs to have some fun during the day while their owners are at work. These daycares are as varied as the dogs themselves. Daycares provide all kinds of services, everything from pick up and delivery to doggie massages. 

When you’re looking for the perfect doggie daycare for your pooch, do your research, interview, tour, and talk to other dog owners who have used the daycare to hear about their experience. 

Understand the risks associated with doggie daycares ahead of time. If you ask all the right questions about insurance and injury, you won’t have any surprises if an injury does occur. 

After you’ve picked a daycare, evaluate how your dog is doing. If your dog is happy and relaxed and eager to go back every morning, you can rest assured you’ve picked the right place. 


Donnie Gardner

Donnie Gardner is the owner of the Boston Terrier Society. He has been raising Bella the Boston since 2010. He resides in Kansas with his wife, daughter, and Bella. His favorite activities are hanging out with family, traveling, running (but has bad knees), and reading non-fiction books.

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