There are many reasons you may find yourself looking for doggy daycare. Maybe you have an unpredictable work schedule or an especially long workday coming up, or maybe you have a dog who suffers from separation anxiety. Perhaps you have a senior dog who needs a little more attention, a young puppy with too much energy to be shut in a kennel all day long, or you just don’t want your dog to get bored and become destructive.
If you find yourself leaving your dog alone for long periods of time during the day, doggy daycare might be just the solution you need. Just like daycare for kids, you can drop your dog off at doggy daycare in the morning, and pick them up on your way home.
Of course, all that convenience is going to come with a price tag, and there are many factors that influence the cost of doggy daycare services.
Read on to learn more about the cost of doggy daycare.
Average Doggy Daycare Costs
According to Rover data, in 2023, doggy daycare cost an average of $40 per day*. However, this is just an average—actual costs can vary widely based on location, length of service, number of dogs needing care, and other factors such as those explored below.
Factors That Influence Cost
Doggy daycare providers have bills to pay, too—so in locations with higher costs of living, expect the cost of doggy daycare to be higher as well. Larger cities or desirable places to live will tend to be more expensive, while rural and suburban areas will see lower costs.
We reached out to a few sitters on Rover for examples of individual daycare rates that vary across the nation depending on location.
- Karen Szmak, of Bloomfield, New Jersey: $36
- Lisa Marie of Ramsey, Minnesota: $35
- Kait Waterman of Eugene, Oregon: $25
Doggy daycare can involve anything from a few hours of walking and attention to full overnights filled with outdoor adventures and grooming. Doggy daycare providers often start with a base rate for a certain number of hours or days. From there, some will charge additional fees when dogs need special care or extra walks, when there are multiple dogs, or when they’re caring for a very young or senior dog with additional needs.
Doggy daycare providers tend to be dog lovers, and sometimes provide that special dose of TLC for your dog as part of the service. They might be happy to spend a few minutes brushing your dog, for example, but if you’re in need of a traditional grooming session, that’s likely to be an additional fee. The same goes for training; a little bit of time spent working with your dog on sitting or staying often comes with the service, but a full-on training request will cost extra.
And again, these add-on services are available on an individual basis—not all doggy daycare providers even offer grooming or training. So you’ll want to do your research if you’re looking for a full-service provider.
Type of Facility
Another big factor in the cost of doggy daycare is the type of doggy daycare facility. A large, industrial facility where your dog is one of many will typically cost less per night than an in-home or one-on-one type of care where your dog gets individualized attention.
Duration of Stay
How long your dog stays with a provider can also impact the cost. Some doggy daycare providers will offer discounts for weekly or monthly care. Some will also charge less the more pets you place with them—a discount of 50% for a second dog, for example.
Sometimes providers will offer a discount for half days rather than whole days, though don’t expect to pay half price for a half day. You might pay a fraction of the cost of a whole day, but may not get a 50% discount.
On holidays, doggy daycare providers tend to charge higher fees as well.
Life can get busy, and if your doggy daycare provider can offer additional services while your dog is in their care, it could save you time as well as money. When you’re deciding on a doggy daycare provider, be sure to look at any upfront, daily, or half-day costs, but also ask about any additional fees.
For example, some daycare providers might require that the dogs in their care be properly leash trained; if your dog isn’t, they may work with them as part of their daily fee, or, they may charge for it. When you’re calculating the cost of doggy daycare for your specific pet, make sure to ask a lot of questions so that you have all the information you need to budget for the services you want—and the value you’re hoping for.
Other Possible Costs (and Risks) in Doggy Daycare
Doggy daycare is a convenient and easily-accessible option for many busy pet parents, but there can be associated risks, such as those explored below, when you board your pet at daycare. It’s important to be informed to find the most suitable doggy daycare for you and and your pet.
Dogs in congregate settings—such as boarding facilities or commercial daycares—may be at increased risk for kennel cough, Parvo, and Bordetella which are spread through close contact. All diseases are preventable by giving your dog vaccines.
In 2023, a concerning and mysterious respiratory illness began to spread among dogs making dogs in daycare uniquely susceptible. It was a different illness than kennel cough, veterinarians said—but they cautioned pet owners to take the same precautions in either case: Monitoring dogs for any signs of illness, and ensuring all pets are up to date on recommended vaccines.
Most commercial facilities will require proof that your dog has required vaccines before admitting your pet, but if you’re working with an in-home provider, be sure to ask about any other pets that will be in the home and whether they are vaccinated.
Dogs are dogs, and sometimes roughhousing can get really rough. Others are so curious and scent-driven that they are master escape artists. It’s important to keep these things in mind when checking out a new doggy daycare.
During your initial meeting, be sure to consider the following:
- Before signing a contract or agreement, tour the space to see what the play areas look like, whether it’s properly fenced, and what potential risks may exist.
- Ask questions about the safety measures the provider takes, who specifically works with the dogs, if anyone is certified in pet CPR, and what protocols are in place in case of an emergency or injury.
- You’ll want to get a sense of how the dogs interact and get along—are they together all day long? just for portions of the day? what happens if a fight breaks out?—and the temperament of the daycare’s current roster of dogs. Sometimes daycare providers will take their dogs on field trips to a dog park or nature center—you’ll want to know if the daycare you’re considering takes the dogs off the premises, how often, and for how long.
- If your dog has special physical needs, it’s also critical to discuss them with the provider up front so everyone knows how to handle any situation that may arise.
Stress and Anxiety
In some cases, providers will assess your dog for anxiety before they accept the dog in their care. They’ll also take steps to mitigate the common triggers of anxiety by providing plenty of exercise, enrichment, and toys.
Daycare providers will often also ask you to fill out a list of intake questions, allowing them to get to know your dog and to anticipate any risks or challenges involved in bringing your pet into their care.
Allergies and Dietary Concerns
When it comes to allergies and other dietary concerns, communication is your number-one tool. Doggy daycare providers are often aware of the importance of keeping foods that are dangerous to dogs away from the dogs in their care, but if your dog has specific allergies, talk to the provider about their needs. In addition, be prepared to provide your dog’s specific foods and treats when you go to drop off your dog.
Tips for Ensuring Health and Safety at Doggy Daycare
Choose a Reputable Provider
Leaving your dog in the care of someone else can be nerve wracking, so the best way to ensure your peace of mind is to find daycare providers with strong reputations. Rover’s Doggy Day Care directory is a great place to find 5 star providers with excellent reviews. Another option: word of mouth. Friends or family members may have connections and can give you an honest assessment of the providers they’ve used.
Beyond that, trust your gut. Tour the facility and make note of the cleanliness and cleaning protocols. Also be on the lookout for credentials, such as a dog trainer or an animal behavior consultant certification, that can be an indication of a committed and knowledgeable daycare provider. If the daycare doesn’t ask for vaccination records or health certifications before admitting your dog, ask why. Some providers may not require them if they only have one dog in their care, for example.
Monitor Your Dog
You know your dog best, so when you’re working with a new provider, keeping tabs on changes in your dog’s temperament, behavior, or habits can help you determine whether the new provider is a good fit. In the best of worlds, your dog will love going to daycare where they’ll be more stimulated and get more exercise than they would by staying at home. But if something doesn’t seem right, trust your gut.
Keep Communication Clear and Open
Daycare providers often start working with you by providing a checklist or questionnaire that lets you share information about your dog and your expectations, but that shouldn’t be the only form of communication you have with the provider. Check in regularly with the provider to ask any questions you might have, or simply to find out how the dog’s day went. And if something goes awry, be sure to address your concerns as soon as possible. Share what you’re observing and ask your provider for help in fixing the problem. A good daycare provider will want your dog to be happy and content in their care, just like you do.
Finding Great Care for Your Dog
Finding a safe, fun, and comfortable place for your dog to go when you’re not around doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, but it’s going to require some diligence on your part. While cost is one factor in deciding who to leave your dog with, that’s just one consideration. Exercise, the environment, and the extras a daycare provides should also be factors that help you decide where to leave your precious pet.
Find a loving doggy daycare provider or service in your neighborhood here.
*Based on average cost of doggy daycare services listed on Rover.com