As dogs age, their needs change—just like ours do.
If dog daycare has been your longtime solution for when you’re away from home and your pup for long periods of time during the day, or if it’s a new thing you’re trying out, you might be wondering at what age your dog is “too old” for doggy daycare.
Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule for when your dog is too old to attend daycare anymore. It all depends on your dog, so pay attention to the signs they might be showing you to indicate doggy daycare is no longer enjoyable for them.
To start with, consider these questions:
- Does your dog have a history of enjoying the company of other dogs?
- How are your dog’s joints and muscles holding up?
- Is your dog experiencing stiffness?
- Is your dog a little slower getting up and moving around?
- Is going to doggy daycare part of your dog’s established routine?
- Does the doggy daycare facility have accommodations for senior dogs?
These are all important things to consider when deciding if doggy daycare is still appropriate for your senior dog. Keep reading to learn more about the major indicators that doggy daycare is no longer the best solution for your pup.
Does Your Senior Dog Have Medical Issues?
This is one of the most common reasons dog owners opt to cancel their doggy daycare plans. While giving your dog daily medication isn’t a big deal for daycare staff—even young puppies sometimes require medication administration during their daycare stay—more serious conditions can make it difficult for your dog to enjoy daycare.
For example, if your dog suffers from mild stiffness or arthritis, doggy daycare can help them stay active and fit. However, if your dog has a hard time getting up and might be prone to hurting themselves while trying to keep up with their playmates, staying home might be better for their health.
Is Your Senior Dog Showing Reluctance to Play?
If your dog is currently attending doggy daycare, ask the staff about their behavior. If they confirm that your senior pup is still active and having fun playing with their friends, they’re probably still reaping the benefits of doggy daycare.
However, if the daycare staff lets you know that your pup has been reluctant to play, seems discouraged, or is acting unhappy, you probably need to reevaluate if daycare is still a good option for your dog.
Is Your Dog Happier at Home?
Keeping senior dogs happy is a very important part of elevating their quality of life. If your dog still gets excited to go to daycare and the staff doesn’t tell you anything concerning about their behavior, their advanced age shouldn’t stop them from going to daycare—no matter how old they are.
However, if your dog is no longer excited to go to daycare and the staff tells you they don’t seem to be having a good time, they might be getting too old to keep attending. In this case, keeping your pup at home is likely to make them happier. If you’re concerned about leaving them alone at home, consider hiring a dog-walking or dog-sitting service to come in and check on them during the day.
Is Your Senior Dog Annoyed by Younger Dogs?
Just like senior humans, senior dogs can get agitated and annoyed by their younger and more energetic counterparts—especially if the younger dogs try to instigate play and won’t take a hint that your senior pup is uninterested.
If you notice your dog getting annoyed by the barking, sprinting, chasing of tails, and jumping going on at daycare, they’ll probably be happier at home where they can get some peace and relax.
What Are Some Alternatives to Daycare That Are Appropriate for Senior Dogs?
If you’ve determined that your senior dog would be happier without attending doggy daycare, you still have some options for ensuring they’re taken care of while you’re away from home.
First, think about whether a half-day at daycare (instead of a full day) would solve the problem. It might allow your dog to get some exercise and socialization without risking them overexerting themselves.
If a half-day is still too much, consider finding a dog-walking or dog-sitting business that will come in during the day, check on your dog, spend some time with them, administer any necessary medications, and perform any other tasks that need to be taken of while you’re out of the house.
You could also consider asking a family member or friend to check on your dog while you’re gone and make sure all is well.
In conclusion, determining whether your dog is too old to attend doggy daycare is up to you. Take your pup’s needs into consideration, consult your vet, and look for any of the signs that your dog might not be enjoying doggy daycare as much as they used to.