Whether a canine family member needs some same-species socialization or human supervision when they can’t accompany their owner, a dog daycare provides a safe, fun place for them to expend energy, make new friends, and grow socially with experienced pet care professionals.
As a dog daycare owner, your customers are trusting you with a beloved member of their family. With the right safety measures in place, you can create an enriching atmosphere that lets you better control the movement, activity, and comfort levels of the dogs in your care.
Every pet care provider has a responsibility to the safety of their customers, pets, and staff. While dogs have been domesticated as companion animals for tens of thousands of years, they’re still largely ruled by a mixture of instinctive behaviors and the training they’ve received from the humans in their lives.
Your safety practices need to account for both the human element of their care and training and the instinctive behaviors dogs use to assess danger, communicate fear, and warn of aggression before it happens.
That means putting the right policies in place for staff and ensuring you have the equipment that gives them the tools they need.
1 – A Comprehensive Onboarding Procedure is Essential
Every new dog in your care should be welcomed with an open mind toward their unique disposition and needs as well as a thorough background check with their owner.
- Require proof of vaccinations for rabies, Bordetella, and DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus).
- Talk to the owner to find out if they have any history of aggression, known behavioral issues around other animals, or if their dog has certain territorial or resource boundaries, like possessiveness over a toy or food insecurity.
- Finally, verify if there are any special diet or medical needs, and then ask for the name and number of their veterinarian in case of an emergency.
2 – Trained Dog Care Professionals are the Key to Safety
The ratio of humans to supervised pets is critical to ensuring a safe, controlled environment. You want to ensure you have at least one staff member dedicated to animal supervision for every 15 animals, but that number can change depending on the needs and activity levels of the dogs in your care. This includes both those actively playing and those kenneled for rest, feeding, or to relieve themselves.
You should also make sure every staff member is trained and ready for the responsibility of caring for and controlling the dogs they’re supervising–either through a recognized certification program or your own documented training regimen.
3 – Separate Spaces Make Safe Spaces
A large part of supervising multiple dogs safely is traffic control. Ensure there is always a two-door barrier between unrestrained pets and the outdoors. While playtime may be a fun time for most, use pet daycare room dividers to create smaller areas for overstimulated pups or to keep playgroups smaller and more manageable.
Kennel spaces should be provided and used for rest breaks. Some dogs need to decompress in the comfort of their own space whether they just need to relax or are territorial over food, water, or toys. Additionally, that helps to keep the active dog-to-supervisor ratio low for safety.
4 – Supervise, Recognize, and Be Proactive
One of the most important safety aspects of running a dog daycare is learning to understand the behavioral cues that mean it’s time to separate a dog from the group. Happy dogs are often active, mobile, waggy, and wiggly.
Standing tall over another dog, staring at them, rising hackles, tucked tales, or cowed hunching can all be signs of fear, agitation, or overstimulation. Separate animals that are showing signs of distress from the group or separate the entire group to give everyone a chance to calm down.
5 – Cleaner is Healthier
Even if your dog daycare doesn’t have an outside play area, dogs will still find a way to get dirty. Whether it’s from a tipped-over food bowl or they didn’t quite hold it long enough before a potty walk, it’s good to have a pet bathing hose for quick cleanups, even if you don’t offer salon services. This can also do double duty should you need to rinse a shoe off after a misstep or help with your regular cleaning and sanitation procedures.
6 – Stay on top of staffing and administration
It’s always easier to stay caught up than to catch up. Maintain a staffing level that ensures you always have plenty of trained personnel to effectively supervise the animals, talk to customers, and diffuse potentially dangerous situations before they have a chance to boil over.
Update your records on the dogs in your care annually to ensure you have their most recent owner contact information, vaccination records, and vet information on file. Likewise, your own business licenses, training certifications, and liability insurance should be kept up to date to protect your customers, staff, and business.
Pet Care Equipment for Dog Daycare Professionals
With the right equipment and preparation, you’ll be ready to create a safer dog daycare for your customers and their fur babies. Order your professional pet care supplies and accessories from Direct Animal today.