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What Is the Cost of Doggy Daycare? 2023 Price Guide

Brooke Bundy

By Brooke Bundy

a staff member with several dogs at a doggy daycare kennel

As more workers crawl out of their remote jobs post-pandemic, doggy daycare prices are rising to meet the growing demand. Some shelters were emptied during the early days of the lockdown as pet ownership rates soared, so now all of those dogs need a place to stay for the day while their parents go back to work. While the exact price depends on your dog, location, and the type of services the facility provides, you can expect to pay around $40 a day for doggy daycare in the United States. You may be able to secure a half day for around $30, which gives your dog between 4-5 hours of play. Let’s dig into the details to see if doggy daycare is the best fit for you and Fido.

Divider 7The Importance of Doggy Daycare

At the essential level, dogs need to relieve themselves at least every 8 hours. Puppies require more frequent bathroom breaks every couple of hours, especially as they’re potty training. Holding their urine for too long is painful and can cause bladder problems such as kidney stones.

A general rule of thumb is to allow them to relieve themselves every hour according to their age, up until 8 months old. For example, a two-month-old puppy needs to be taken to the potty every 2 hours, etc. However, most people prefer to break up the chart into smaller numbers, with puppies younger than 6 months needing a potty break at least every 3 hours, and puppies older than 6 months but younger than a year hovering between 6-8 hours. Like puppies, seniors also need more frequent breaks than full grown adults since they may struggle with incontinence.

Unfortunately, commutes sometimes drag out an 8-hour shift into a 10-hour ordeal—and by then even your adult dog will be in serious pain. Doggy daycare can give them some literal relief, and enriches their time apart from you by allowing them to safely engage with other dogs.

Doggy daycares also allow dogs to socialize with other dogs and humans. This is especially beneficial for dogs that may become destructive or anxious when left alone without a companion, especially for long hours. However, not all dogs enjoy the company of other dogs, so consider your dog’s personality and temperament before using doggy daycare for this reason alone.

dogs playing at a dog boarding kennel
Image Credit: Jayme Burrows, Shutterstock

How Much Does Professional Doggy Daycare Cost?

The exact cost of doggy daycare depends on variables such as where you live and the type of service. For example, some doggy daycares may be more similar to boarding while others provide a more interactive experience. Costs tend to be higher in densely urban areas such as San Francisco than smaller metros like New Orleans. Let’s take a peek at a few example costs to receive a general idea of what to expect:

Cost Per Day Cost Per Half Day Location City
$24–$38 $28 Dogtopia New Orleans, LA
$36–$43 $30 Paws in Chelsea New York City, NY
$45–$50 $30 Embarkadero Social Club San Francisco, CA
$28–$36 N/A Hounds Town Orlando, FL
$20–$40 $20 Bark ATL Atlanta, GA

As the prices reflect, you can see that the half day price is fairly steady, ranging between $20–$30 if available. The full day rates vary greatly depending on the location. For example, despite being a fully engaging playtime experience with other pups, Dogtopia in New Orleans costs less than Embarkadero Social Club in San Francisco, which only provides walks and one-on-one play with handlers.

What Are the Different Types of Doggy Daycare?

When looking for the best daycare for your pup, you’ll need to consider your budget and your dog’s personality. While daycare may sound like a blast to an energetic Border Collie who likes to chase dogs and make friends, it may be a nightmare to a nervous Chihuahua who’s easily stressed. Boarding experiences are cheaper but aren’t as physically and mentally enriching.

We recommend trying to book your dog with an all-inclusive experience when possible. Most dogs in the US don’t receive enough exercise, which puts them at an increased risk for health concerns such as obesity. Doggy daycare can help combat these risks, especially if you don’t have time to take them on a jog after you come home from your job.

Some doggy daycares are chains with locations across the nation. Others may be small, locally run operations. Regardless of which model you choose, it’s important to research reviews before you leave your pup there. Even a trusted daycare chain may have a sketchy reputation in certain cities. The quality of care really comes down to the handlers, so you might ask your dog park friends for advice before booking.

large and small dogs in a pet boarding facility
Image Credit: Jayme Burrows, Shutterstock

The 3 Alternatives to Doggy Daycare

Let’s face it: Doggy daycare is expensive. Chances are, you’re looking into the service because you’re forced to work away from home, so you certainly don’t want to feel like it’s the reason you must work! If your budget or your dog seems ill-suited to doggy daycare, rest assured that there are other options that can still give your dog the care they need while they’re away. Here are some alternative methods to taking care of your canine from a distance.

1. Hire a Dogsitter

If you’re going away on a business trip or vacation, you might want to think about hiring someone you trust to come and stay with your pup. Although it might cost you just as much as doggy daycare, it could be a better option in certain situations, especially if your dog has anxiety about leaving the house.

2. Hire a Dog walker

a person walking several dogs outdoors
Image Credit: Blue Bird, Pexels

The average cost of a 30-minute dog walking session is roughly the half day rate at your local doggy daycare. It’s a middle-of-the-road option that lets your dog relax from the comfort of their own sofa while still receiving the mid-day exercise that they really need.

3. Ask a Friend or Neighbor to Check on Your Dog

Depending on the relationship, this option may or may not cost you money, or at least not very much. Consider asking a retired person or college student in your neighborhood if they wouldn’t mind helping you out by letting your dog in the yard or taking them on a brief walk. They usually have a little more time than people in other age demographics. Plus, they always appreciate a little cash on the side.

divider 9Additional Considerations

So, you’ve scouted out local doggy daycares and checked the budget. It’s a go! Before you sign up your pup, here are a few more things to consider. While it depends on the individual facility, most doggy daycares have a few rules and common procedures you might want to familiarize yourself with:

  • Dogs must be up to date on vaccines. Besides rabies, which is required by law, the daycare facility may also make sure they’ve received common vaccines against diseases such as Bordetella, distemper, and parvo.
  • Most require that your dog is spayed/neutered. With few exceptions, your dog usually needs to be sterilized in order to attend daycare. After all, dogs in heat make playtime messy, and can stress out everyone involved—especially the handlers.
  • Preliminary evaluations may be required. It’s common for doggy daycares to ask your pup to pass a behavioral test before their first day. This helps to rule out dogs with aggressive tendencies, which makes playtime safer for everyone.
  • Ask about discounts. You may be able to score a discounted rate if you buy a bulk pass instead of purchasing for a single day. Some locations may also give you a discount if you have more than one dog attending or if they’re a rescue.

Divider 7Conclusion

If you think your workday is long, just ask your dog. Doggy daycare can help break the monotony of a long day at home alone indoors and can provide your dog with a much-needed potty break. You can expect to pay around $40 per day for doggy daycare, but the exact price depends on where you are and what you’re paying for. If you’re looking for a more cost-efficient option that will still give your dog some relief and socialization, you might consider hiring a dog walker instead.

Featured Image Credit: Jayme Burrows, Shutterstock

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