Whether you work full time and need regular daycare for your dog or you take a single vacation a year, you will need someone to look after your Chihuahua when you cannot. If you have a responsible friend or family member with whom you feel comfortable leaving your dog when you’re away, you might be all set.
If that person has other pets or children that could pose a concern, though, you may want to contemplate using a boarding service, or kennel, instead. If it is regular daycare you need, it might be too much to ask of a friend—even the most dependable.
Be sure to tour a kennel before deciding it is best for your dog. The most important elements are the cleanliness of the facilities, friendliness of the staff, and the amount of time each day your Chihuahua will be taken out of his pen for exercise. A kennel will ask that you show proof of your dog’s vaccinations—usually rabies, DHLP-P (distemper/pa rvo combination), and Bordetella (kennel cough). Some also require an intestinal parasite test. These requirements ultimately protect your Chihuahua, since all the others dogs have been held to the same standard.
Dog daycare differs from boarding in that you utilize a daycare service five days a week, or however many fit your schedule. Daycares also usually spend more time focusing on entertainment and exercise. Most programs offer both, free and organized play times along with walks and other physical activities.
The caregiver you choose should use an assessment plan for deciding which dogs are compatible, and therefore allowed supervised interaction. Issues of size, breed, and temperament should all be considered. Not all dogs are suitable candidates for daycare; for the safety of all involved, some are even turned away.
The benefits of placing your Chihuahua in daycare are numerous. In addition to exercise and mental stimulation, your dog will receive the added benefit of socialization. Being around other dogs is excellent experience if you plan to add another dog to your household in the future. If not properly socialized, Chihuahuas, like many breeds, can be very resistant to the idea of other canines in their households. Daycare also offers your dog contact with other humans, which can be extremely helpful if your dog suffer, from separation anxiety.
When touring a daycare, you should use the same criteria as when evaluating a boarding service. You will need to show the same vaccinations as for a kennel, but many daycares also require that your Chihuahua be spayed or neutered. Ask a lot of questions. Since your dog will be spending a significant amount of time in this setting, it is vital that you trust the staff.
Although prices can vary by region, the cost of daycare may be higher than that of boarding, since the ratio of staff to dogs is high, but like a children’s daycare, the most important matter is that you are leaving your dog in a healthy, safe environment. This is an expanding industry—take time to find a daycare that fits both your budget and comfort level.
If your Chihuahua doesn’t get along well with other dogs, don’t despair. A professional pet sitter or dog walker may be the answer. A pet sitter will come to your home and stay with your dog for a predetermined amount of time while you’re away. In many ways this can be even better than daycare, since your dog will receive so much individual attention.
A dog walker is similar to a pet sitter in that he or she will come to your home and take your dog for walks while you’re away, so he can get out of the house and relieve himself when necessary. If your biggest concern is that you cannot make it home midday to take your dog for his walk, a dog walker may be an ideal solution.
Once again, one of your best resources for referrals is your veterinarian. Interview either a pet sitter or a dog walker thoroughly. Be sure to ask for references and follow up by contacting them. You will trust this person with both your precious Chihuahua and the keys to your home.