Doggy Day Care: Fad or Essential?

by PetCloud / Pet Owner Advice / 5 Jul 2020

Two dogs playing at a home-based doggy care

In recent years there’s been an increase in the number of doggy day care services being booked in inner metro areas across Australia. But is it aimed at just over-anxious Pet Parents? Or should it actually be considered as an essential part of your dog’s development?

What is doggy day care?

Doggy day care is day time care service for your dog in a Pet Sitter’s home. Depending on the Pet Sitter you choose, you can also choose Puppy Day Care for younger dogs.

When is Doggy Day care useful?

  1. You can book doggy day care when you are on a road trip with your dog and you have a short, non-dog-friendly spot to explore for the day.
  2. You can book doggy day care if you work long hours at an office and you own a solo dog prone to boredom or anxiety and loneliness.
  3. If your puppy has had all their core vaccinations and are in the critical socialisation period (around 11 weeks) and they need to learn to interact well with other dogs, people, smells, and sounds so they grow into a well-adjusted adult dog.

Is Doggy Day care essential?

Yes.  The RSPCA advises there is a ‘critical socialisation period’ between approximately 3 -17 weeks of age.  However, your pup must have all core vaccinations prior to being exposed to other puppies, so this means your pup probably won’t be able to start socialising until around 11 weeks after their vaccinations are all complete.

What does Socialisation Involve?


Two young puppies playing at home-based doggy day care

Does my Dog get lonely?

Any dog can suffer from separation anxiety. Certain breeds can also be more affected by being left alone—for example - working breeds, Labradors, Retrievers and Terriers.   What is key is having two dogs of a similar size and similar temporament together. 

Breeds particularly prone to anxiety about being alone include;

  • Toy Poodles and Mixed Poodle Breeds.
  • Australian Shepherds.
  • Staffies
  • Chihuahuas.
  • Bichon Frises.
  • Italian Greyhounds.
  • Malteses
  • French Bulldogs.
  • Fox Terriers.
  • Pomeranians

Is Doggy Day Care safe?

The experience with a Doggy Day Carer through PetCloud is a secure, fenced grassy backyard with a maintained lawn, free of faeces, water bowls, and maintained garden in a private home.  There is also adequate shade and soft areas to rest and sleep.
Due to Council laws for home residences, unless the property is located in the outer suburbs and is much larger in size, most Councils state that only 2 dogs per home are allowed for care at any one time. 
When you join PetCloud, you'll be sent the RSPCA Property Checklist Guide:
Meet and Greets must always occur beforehand so that the Sitter and Owner can do a full Property Tour together to take joint responsibility by checking that it is escape-proof and hazard-free and to do a compatability evaluation with the Sitter's own family (potentially young children), pets or another doggy day care guest.  Doggy Day Care must always be supervised. Good Property Hygiene (poo patrol) and garden and lawn maintenance by the Sitter is a requirement.

We don't use Commercial Venues

Doggy Cay Care at a commercial venue, versus a home environment, are two vastly different experiences with very different Council laws and Codes of Practice, for good reason.  Commercial Operators of Doggy Day Care Walk-in Centres are not advertised or booked through PetCloud.  A doggy day care experience through a commercial venue covered by one ABC Journalist and it was described as a "Ticking time bomb" - Putting groups of multiple dogs and breeds of unrelated dogs together, is not something that would naturally occur and is deemed high risk.

Ensuring Safe Play Equipment and Environmental Enrichment

  • Play equipment must be durable and safe for dogs and easily cleaned and disinfected.
  • Toys used in exercise areas must be washed and disinfected weekly.
  • An inventory of all toys used must be kept and toys checked for broken pieces, sharp edges and any other damage.
  • Clearly defined inventory management on the number and types of toys used in the exercise areas must be documented.
  • All gates must be locked and cannot be opened spontaneously by Service people visiting the property.

Dog Preparation Requirements

There are requirements from both the Pet Sitter and the Pet Owner to prepare their dogs before booking doggy cay care such as
  • Dogs must have completed all core vaccinations,
  • Must not be on heat,
  • Must be desexed, and
  • Must have parasite control (Flea and Tick, Heart, and Gut).
  • Must be micrchipped, Council Registered, and be wearing a collar with Council tag, plus engraved ID tag with the Owner's up to date contact details and be on a leash upon arrival.

What happens at Doggy Day Care?

It varies from Sitter to Sitter in a Home Based Environment however, usually:

  • Ball throwing and fetching
  • Tug of war with a ball rope.
  • Sensory Stimulation through Scent trails
  • Enrichment Toys such as kong wobblers & snuffle mats
  • Doggy Naps
  • Some Sitter's may have fenced pools and with the Owner's permission, and Sitter supervision, some dogs may be allowed to swim in summer to cool down.?
Socialisation with a similar sized dog breed.
If a similar sized, similar temporament dog breed is not booked in, then your dog will usually just spend one on one time with the Sitter.
Tug of war between dogs are a fun way for them to interact safely and burn energy.
Some Sitters set up a Scent Trails with scents deemed safe for dogs
Enrichment puzzle toys where dogs have to sniff and work for treats is a great way to stimulate their nose and minds.
A dog with a snuffle mat, one of the common sensory toys you may find at home-based doggy day care
Tug of war is a fun game to play with a pet sitter and as advised by RSPCA School for dogs - does not encourage aggression.

Is my dog’s breed suited to doggy day care?

It depends.  Oodle type dogs — Cavoodles, Spoodles, Labradoodles, Groodles really enjoy doggy day care.  Working dogs such as Kelpies are very intelligent and have a strong work ethic and like to be in control. There's not enough space for them to run around or tasks for them to do.  

How much does doggy day care cost?

Booking an ongoing weekly program of care is the most affordable option.  From $40 and up for 8 hours during the day.





Even if your dog seems to be comfortable with being home alone all day, it’s great for their development to change up their routine and give them a break from barking at the Postman and sleeping on the couch. Doggy daycare will be like a mini holiday!


Ready to Post a Job for a Doggy Day Carer?
PetCloud makes responsible Pet Care easy and is free to join. Keep track of your Pet's Vaccinations, or annual checkups, store their Vet Certificate, even hire a Doggy Day Carer - all in your very own PetCloud!