Is there such a thing as too much doggy daycare?
While we can never get enough of our four-legged guests, attending doggy daycare every day isn’t the best solution for some dogs. It all depends on:
- Your dog’s age
- Your dog’s energy level
- How well your dog gets along with others
- How much mental and physical stimulation your dog receives at daycare
While puppies typically have more energy and a bigger drive to be social and play, older dogs (like humans) sometimes get more enjoyment out of a quiet afternoon, a peaceful walk, or a long nap. There isn’t a short answer to the “how much is too much” question, but you can find the solution by simply observing your dog.
Pay Attention to These Signs
If you’re wondering whether your dog is spending too much time at doggy daycare, keep an eye out for these indicators.
Is your dog getting old?
As dogs age, they experience the same drops in energy levels as aging humans. Unless your dog is a high-energy breed, they’ll likely stop playing as much as they used to when they were younger, opting instead for less demanding activities, such as going on walks with you, a quick game of fetch, or a nap on the couch. So, as your dog ages, they might begin to show signs that doggy daycare is too taxing. Consider decreasing the time they spend in doggy daycare or find one that can cater to your dog’s age and energy level.
Is your dog becoming less social?
Puppies are notorious for being extremely social and eager to make new friends, but that disposition doesn’t always stay with them into adulthood—and that’s okay! As puppies mature, some will become dog selective and, in some cases, dog reactive. All that means is that they are picky about the dogs they choose to interact with, if they enjoy interacting with other dogs, at all.
If you notice that your dog is becoming less social and has started to avoid or become less tolerant of other dogs in their space, it could be a sign that they’re getting over-stimulated and stressed at doggy daycare. Talk to the daycare employees about what they can do to help your dog relax, such as limiting playtime and putting him with dogs of a similar mindset.
Is your dog too tired to do anything when he gets home?
While a tired dog is a good dog, be careful that your dog isn’t getting overtired. Because doggy daycare encourages play and socialization, some dogs will go and go until they can’t anymore. The goal is for your dog to feel fulfilled at the end of the day, not so tired that they have no interest in going on walks with you or interacting at all.
If you’ve noticed your dog acting this way after doggy daycare, it might be time to consider alternatives or to lessen the amount of time they’re spending at doggy daycare.
You Know Your Dog Best
Every dog is different! Spending every day at daycare is perfect for some dogs, but it can be stressful for others. Ultimately, it’s up to you to watch out for the signs that your dog is feeling overstimulated or overtired, but don’t be afraid to reach out to the daycare staff and check in about your dog’s behavior regularly. They’ll be able to tell you what they’ve observed during your dog’s visits and offer advice for moving forward.
While we love seeing our clients’ dogs every day, your dog’s health is our main priority. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.