Dog Boarding and Doggy Daycare: What's the Difference?

Dog boarding and dog daycare offer your dog a space for care when you can't. But which is better suited for you and your dog's needs?

Leaving home for extended periods of time is never easy for most, more so if you have a furry companion left alone when you are away. Luckily, pet services catering to such situations are becoming readily available just a phone call away. 

But which service does your dog actually need? Beyond taking into consideration your own time being away, your canine companion(s) too require a solution that caters to them as well. Here are some general features of dog boarding and dog daycare services, as well as some pros and cons to help you the pet parent figure out which your furkid will have the best time in.

Dog Boarding

The pet hotel option, dog boarding involves overnight stays for when pawrents need to leave town for multiple days and need a supervised, safe place for the dog. 

  • Pros:
    • 24/7 Care - Dog boarding facilities offer almost constant supervision, ensuring the guest doggo's needs from morning to night.
    • Socialization - Guest dogs will be able to interact with other dogs, providing ample opportunity to engage in play and prevent loneliness.
    • Additional services - depending on the facilities and staff available, boarding homes may offer extra services, such as dog walking, bathing, and specialized care where needed.

  • Cons:
    • Stress and Aggravation - Some dogs may find this high engagement with new dogs and humans stressful, and might exhibit aggressive behaviors unknown even to their owners.
    • Pre-requirements - Boarding centers may have a list of pre-requirements, including vaccination history, trial daycare (to assess the potential guests' temperament), and others to ensure a safe stay for your furkid as well as others.
    • Cost - As extended care is involved, dog boarding is usually the most expensive option in the list of general pet services. Additional costs may also be included to cover in-house expenses and additional pet services.


Leaving your dog home alone can detriment your relationship with it. (Image credit: Pixabay)
Dog Daycare

Similar to human children's daycare centers, doggy daycare schedules revolve around giving a place for your dog to spend the day, and be ready to be picked up by you by evening.

  • Pros:
    • Keeping active - Guest dogs will be able to play and expend energy exploring a new space, making it a great space for active breeds or young pups.
    • Socializing - With regular interaction your dog has with others during daycare stays, canine social skills can be developed and improved, leading to better behavior when you visit dog-friendly cafes!
    • Peace of mind - Knowing that your furry companion is somewhere safe and cared for while you are working can alleviate both you and your dog's stress.
  • Cons:
    • Limited time - Daycares have specific timeslots that do not cross over into overnight care (without additional charges). Most daycares provide options for business hours only.
    • Overstimulation - For some dogs, the atmosphere of a crowded daycare can be overwhelming, leading to territorial behavior and aggression. It is thus important to be in contact with your daycare provider and to be aware of your dog's behavior to provide warning and corrective measures.
    • Commitment - Unlike boarding, which spreads over several days, daycares require you to send your dog daily should you need an extended time of caretaking. Commuting may become an issue. Luckily, pet taxi services are also becoming available, but communication and timing still relies on you!

When deciding which pet services are best for your pooch, these distinctions between dog boarding and dog daycare are important. Knowing what each service caters to different pet care needs and its specifics can help you make the best choice for your dog.

Not only that, understanding your dog's personality, your schedule, and both you and your dog's specific needs are also, if not more important. Dog boarding offers a solution for extended stays; while dog daycare ensures your pup gets a day full of doggy activities and human interaction, and bonds with you even more when they return in the evening. 

Always keep in mind that the pet services you choose tells a lot about your relationship and love for your canine companion. Don't hesitate to reach out to your local providers to inquire about offered daycare and boarding options, and have trial day runs to see if your dog fits in and adjusts to their care. Your dog's happiness and safety is the goal!

P.S. - It's extremely helpful to seek out these pet services early prior to festive seasons such as Chinese New Year and Christmas, as many centers will be fully booked and at capacity!

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