A senior german shepard at dog daycare.

As much as we love our furry friends and want them by our side, bringing them everywhere is impossible. To compensate for this, pet owners bring their dogs to doggie daycare instead of leaving them at home.

For many pet owners, keeping older pets safe means to keep them under a watchful eye. In many cases, this results in registering them to doggie daycare. Daycare centers are an option that many pet owners are adding to their budgets as life gets busier.

But is doggie daycare the right option for you? Especially if your favorite pooch is an older dog?

Well, it depends on your dog and your budget. Owners of senior dogs must consider a few factors before registering their furry friend to daycare, including their personality, temperaments, and any medical conditions that can lead to complications while under someone else’s care. Additionally, they must choose a daycare that fits their budget and schedule.

How Much Does Senior Daycare Cost?

Keeping your senior dog happy and healthy should be your top priority. Providing ideal care means more than just showering your dog with affection. It also means providing shelter, food, medical care, and supervision to keep them safe.

Doggie daycare can be an affordable option for many pet owners, especially when looking for supervision for their senior dog. A senior dog may require additional supervision, and pet sitters can quickly get expensive. For many pet owners, doggie daycare is an ideal option that is more affordable, convenient, and provides quality care at a reasonable price.

The costs associated with doggie daycare can vary depending on how long and often your dog will be in attendance. Many centers have created packages at different prices to fit each owner’s and pet’s needs.

Depending on your dog’s needs and the package you purchase, doggie daycare can cost roughly $12 to $50 per day. This price can change depending on your location and the package you purchase.

What are the Benefits of Taking your Dog to Daycare?

There are many benefits associated with doggie daycare. Dogs are naturally sociable creatures, and they thrive in community environments. There are many benefits seen in those who participate in doggie daycare that, in the end, improve their overall life:

  • Increased routine physical activity and exercise
  • Increased mental stimulation and engagement
  • Socialization and mentoring younger dogs
  • Given constant attention and supervision

Taking your older dog to daycare is not just to socialize them with other dogs. Anxious pets can thrive in daycare as well. When dogs are left home alone, they may not understand that you will come back. Better understood as separation anxiety, these emotional episodes can damage your property and potentially harm your pet. Situations like this are where doggie daycare can become an ideal solution.

Meeting Furry Friends by Age

In most daycare centers, dogs are split into different groups based on size, temperament, and age. Senior dogs are placed with other dogs with similar attributes, which means that they will be able to rest when they need to and can also play when they want to. These setups are for security purposes and to ensure the safety of all furry guests while they are there. 

Personalized Physical Activity and Exercise

Just like humans, keeping an exercise routine for your senior dog is important for its overall health and longevity. Dogs need to exercise to stay healthy, as exercise increases blood flow and improves bodily functions like digestion and bowel movements. Plus, it also keeps them at a healthy weight, so long as exercise is paired with a balanced diet.

The American Kennel Club states that while older dogs may not play and run as they did when they were younger, they still enjoy walks, swimming, and cross-training exercises. Senior dogs will be encouraged to participate in exercises tailored to their health needs. Staff considers their weight, past injuries, and weak areas in their body before choosing ways to play and exercise.

Doggie daycare provides structured exercise programs that fit your dog’s needs. These exercises can include an abundance of toys, playing with other dogs, and going for long walks with their caretaker. Your center may offer your dog different programs and exercise classes, like doggy yoga, pilates, walks, and running. 

Promoting Mental Stimulation and Engagement

Exercise is not just for the body but also for the brain. In dogs, mental stimulation affects them the same way it affects humans. When dogs age, they choose to rest more rather than play or explore, which leads to a decline in mental enrichment.

 As a result, dogs can develop forgetfulness and mental conditions similar to human dementia and Alzheimer’s. A senior dog with dementia and Alzheimer’s will often have episodes of disorientation, confusion, anxiety, and forgetting learned routines and commands, amongst other symptoms.

When your senior dog is at daycare, they are exposed to multiple opportunities to use their brains through playtime, socializing, working with enriching toys, and exercising. With encouragement from staff and other dogs, older dogs may be more inclined to participate in mentally stimulating activities.

Plus, as a bonus, when dogs receive enough mental stimulation, regardless of age, they tend to show a calmer temperament at home.

Socialization and Mentoring Opportunities

Dogs thrive on being around others. At daycare, dogs are exposed to other people and dogs, promoting socialization with strangers in a safe environment. This helps dogs feel comfortable with others, even if they are used to living at home with only one person.

The same applies to an older dog. Despite its age, many senior dogs still enjoy daycare. It allows them to be around others to play and run. 

Minimizes Anxiety in Your Older Dog

As an added benefit, dogs who suffer from separation anxiety flourish in doggie daycare. Separation anxiety causes uncontrolled urination or defecation, howling and loud barking, or destructive attempts to leave where they are in pursuit of finding their owner. All behaviors that, if left untreated, can lead to serious self-injury and destruction of your property.

When they attend and are away from their owners, they learn to trust other humans and dogs and are encouraged to play and socialize. These techniques help keep anxious episodes at bay. 

Constant Attention and Supervision

While some dogs adapt well to being home alone, that is not always the case. Senior dogs may not be in a condition where they should be left alone at all. Similar to children or older people, a dog in daycare will be supervised and cared for while they are there. 

What Is a Normal Day in Doggie Daycare?

A typical day in doggie daycare starts with drop-off. They are introduced and assigned to a group of dogs of similar age, size, and temperament. Each day, they will get the opportunity for indoor and outdoor playtime and breaks.

Activities throughout the week are planned and depend on the weather and how the dogs feel that day. Staff will include games, toys, and activities stimulating mental and physical exercise. Your dog will have access to teeter-totters, jumping obstacles, and plenty of opportunities to rest and relax.

As an example, when you bring your older canine friends to Greenlin Pet Resorts, they will benefit from these play methods at one of our centers. Additionally, some of our centers are equipped with doggie in-ground swimming pools. Swimming is easy on the joints and body while working as a full-body workout.

Know What Your Dog Prefers

Similar to humans, as we age, we start to prefer less exciting social environments. Just like you may phase out of bars and partying, older dogs phase out of super stimulating social situations and large groups. As they get older, they may prefer less social interaction and more time for rest and relaxation. You might see an elderly dog resting or sleeping more. This is perfectly normal, given their age, and it should be considered when signing them up for any program. 

Where Doggie Daycare May Not Be Right for Your Dog

There are some cases where doggie daycare is not the right answer. While doggie daycare is an excellent option for many pet owners, depending on the needs of their furry friend and personalities, they may need to opt for alternative care methods like a pet sitter, dog walker, or seeking training before entering a daycare altogether. Especially for dogs who have not had much interaction with other dogs or people, they may need to attend training sessions before entering a doggy daycare at all.

Additionally, dogs with defensive temperaments, chronic anxiety, or other medical conditions may not be the right fit for doggie daycare. In these cases, seeking alternative solutions is probably best.

What if My Dog Doesn’t Want to Go to Daycare?

Older dogs might not show excitement about going to daycare. As an owner, it is imperative that you understand what your dog wants, and it might generally be too old for daycare. If you start to see disinterested behaviors, talk to staff so that they can track your dog’s enthusiasm throughout the day. At some point, your good ol’ boy might be happier resting at home on the couch.

Consider Doggie Daycare for Your Senior Furry Friend

Doggie daycare might be the right fit if you have a senior pet. With the opportunity to socialize and make friends to engage in physical and mental activities, your older dog will find an improvement in their quality of life and potentially elongate their lifespan altogether. These benefits make doggie daycare an excellent option for many owners of senior dogs.

Ready to see if doggie daycare is the right option for your senior furry friend? Greenlin Pet Resorts is here to provide top-notch service at all our locations in Pennsylvania. Our facilities are in six different locations across the state, designed with your dog’s needs in mind. Visit us online or give us a call to learn more about our services and amenities and how our services can help you.