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How to Find a Good Dog Day Care Center

We treat our dogs as well as we treat our children (some would say better) with good reason: They provide almost as much happiness as our kids do (some would say more) and not nearly as much trouble. You would not place your kids in the care of a dirty day care center run by a mean, nasty person. Why would you put your dog in such a place?

As a business, doggie day care has done very well over the past 15 years or so. These places range from one person taking care of a few dogs out of their home (sometimes illegally) to high-tech operations with plenty of land and hundreds of dogs in their care. How does one find the right doggie day care for their beloved pooch?

In my mind, what you should look for breaks down like this:

The place is clean. If you walk in and it smells like it hasn’t been cleaned in a month, chances are that it has not been cleaned in a while.This is no mere annoyance: A dirty doggy day care threatens the health of your dog and ultimately the health of your family because those smells indicate the presence of bacteria.  Those bacteria come home when Fido does.
The center is well staffed. If dozens of dogs are being tended by one person, they can’t possibly be getting the attention and love that they need to be healthy and happy.  Why not just leave your dog at home alone if they’re going to feel lonely anyway?
Big dogs are kept separate from the small dogs. Most doggie day cares do this, but a surprising number fail. Unless you want your Pug to experience severe panic attacks, you want to make sure they’re kept in a place with other dogs their own size, not threatened by bigger dogs.
A good doggie day care either specializes in aggressive breeds or does not accept them at all. Yes, I’m talking about Pit Bulls.
Other services are on offer, especially an on-call veterinarian. What if your dog gets sick while you’re at work or play? Additionally, it is highly convenient to be able to have Fido groomed while he is being cared for. It gives you one less errand to run.
The owners have good “chemistry” with your dog, and it shows from the outset. If your dog goes nuts or freaks out when they enter the place, turn around and find another place. Listen to your pet as you want them to listen to you.

Remember that your dog is a conscious living being, not some kind of inanimate status symbol. Find the right doggie day care, and both your dog’s and your lives will be enhanced.

Chuck Lin knows of a wonderful NYC dog day care center, conveniently located in Long Island City, Queens.

Watch this Queens dog boarder’s video!

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Having good time in my new daycare w/Cristina & Geraldine

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Having good time in my new daycare w/Cristina & Geraldine
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Image by omer roll

At my daycare
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Image by omer roll

Choosing A Good Daycare Center

Many parents choose to work outside of the home. With both mother and father gone for much of the day, children cannot be left to stay at home by themselves.

Daycare centers provide a place where children can be taken care of during the day. In many circumstances, the early learning of the child will be supplemented by the activities done at a daycare.

However, not all childcare centers are created equal. Some facilities just offer a better atmosphere for children.

It is up to you, as a parent, to determine which facility is right for your child. A good environment will allow your child to grow and develop, both socially and mentally.

One of the first things to consider is the number of staff that the facility has on hand to care for the children. The more direct supervision a staff member has over the children, the better.

A facility that has more than five children per staff member is giving too much responsibility to its staff. Most likely, the members of the staff will be unable to pay close enough attention to your child.

Also, it is crucial to determine whether the older and younger children play together or apart. Older children may be coming to the center from school.

Schools are great places for infections to spread, and a child who comes to a daycare after going to school may be bringing in a few germs with him. If, however, the children play separately, there is less chance of those infections spreading to your younger child.

Be sure to get any and all information you can about the center. If possible, get a written or typed copy of policies.

Check what their course of action is for discipline. A policy that does not quite match up with your own could cause confusion and problems for your child.

Along with information on policies, you should also ascertain how the facility’s staff deals with medical issues. Children may become sick while at daycare.

Determine whether medicine is dispensed by the staff to sick children. Also, what is done to minimize the chance that an illness will spread?

Are a physical exam and vaccinations required prior to allowing a child to be admitted? Are the medical records of the children kept on hand?

It is also wise to be sure that the staff of the center is well trained. These people will be taking care of your child for around eight hours a day, so be certain that they are qualified.

They should have received instruction in basic first aid and, possibly, CPR. The staff should also know about child behavior and development.

Apart from the staff which deals with your child, it is imperative to check the condition of the building which houses the facility. You want your child to be safe while he or she is at daycare.

Are there any noticeable safety concerns? Is the building properly outfitted in case of an emergency?

Outside of the building, are there fences which will keep the children in and unwanted visitors out of any play areas? Safety concerns should be fairly apparent, so just take a look around as you visit the facility.

After making the decision of where to take your child to daycare, it is important to remain involved in your child’s care. Some daycares will hold meetings for parents during which the staff and parents can voice and discuss concerns that they have.

It is also a good idea to volunteer at the daycare center when repairs and cleaning are needed. If you have some extra time, you can help out occasionally at the center.

The most important thing to do is to talk with your child about his or her experience at the childcare center. Determine what is being taught to your child.

As you make your decision and after, be cautious of any warning signs or problems. One thing to be wary of is a staff that does not respond to your concerns or questions.

Also, a daycare that does not allow parents to be involved at all should be avoided. If your child expresses dissatisfaction with the care he or she is receiving, or if you notice that your child seems to be having frequent “accidents”, you may wish to reconsider your care provider.

Lastly, if other parents you know express concerns that they have about the center, it may be an indication to stay away. However, you should be able to find a childcare center that will work well for your child.

Terry Daniels has worked in the early childhood education field for the past 12 years and written hundreds of articles about early day cares. He recommends Day Care RI when looking for quality day care.

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Terry Daniels

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