Doggie Day Care – What to Do with Your Dog While You’re at Work

Dog ownership comes with a unique set of challenges and responsibilities. Those of us who have “inside” dogs often have to structure our lives around them. Maybe we have to turn down that dinner invitation because we need to get home to let the dogs out. Or perhaps we limit our travel due to having to board the dogs while we’re away. Possibly the biggest challenge the bulk of us face however, is what we do with our dogs all day, five days a week, while we’re at work. We have several options, from doing nothing at all to sending our fur babies to all-day doggie day care. Each option has its own set of pros and cons.

doggie day care

Ten hours is a long time for a dog to stay by himself. Doggie day care is an important consideration for anyone who has a dog and goes away to work all day.

Doggie Day Care – What to Do with Your Dog While You’re at Work

Do Nothing

This is actually the most common solution, as many pet parents have conditioned their dogs to go all day with no accidents. There is really only one pro to this solution, but it’s a big one – it’s free. There are cons, however. Going more than 10 hours or so without urinating is not healthy for any dog. Your dog knows he’s not supposed to go in the house, so he will hold it as long as he can. This causes a great deal of stress, which can bring on other health problems. Most pet parents who use this option will also admit they at least occasionally have messes to clean up when they get home. And for those who always have messes, you’re likely sending your dog mixed signals about where he’s supposed to go, compromising his toilet training.

Indoor Potty or Paper Training

If you have small dogs, this option may a good one. We have trained our Yorkie to use a washable rug if he has to go while we’re away.  We alternate two of them, so if he soils one it just goes right in the washer. Indoor dog potties are another option. The bigger your dogs are, however, the less practical this option becomes.  You can expect to pay about $300 for a large indoor dog potty.

Doggie Door

The next option is to install a doggie door so that your dog is free to go in and out as he pleases. There are downsides to the doggie door, however. First, they need to be installed correctly, and you must have the proper access to use them. If the only access to your fenced back yard is a sliding glass door, you’ll have to have some major installation work done cutting through an exterior wall. Another negative is that your dogs will be outside alone. In many areas, the threat of coyotes and hawks is too great for small dogs to be outside unattended. And I would constantly be afraid that my pup would go outside, but for some reason would be unable to get back in – especially in wintertime.

doggie day care

One option for your doggie day care is to hire a dog walker to come get your pups once or twice a day. This not only gets them outside to potty, it also provides them some socialization during the time you’re gone.

Dog Walker

Dog walkers are becoming more popular these days, and are a reasonable solution to our doggie day care. In addition to providing your dog the opportunity to potty, dog walkers also provide your dog with some exercise and companionship during the long hours you are away. The downsides here are that you are allowing someone access to your home, and the cost can be prohibitive.  In my area of the country you can expect to pay a minimum of $25 for a 30-minute walk.

doggie day care

If your dog gets along well with other dogs, the solution to your doggie day care problem may be to send him to all-day doggie daycare.

Doggie Daycares

Doggie Daycares provide all-day doggie day care that includes socialization and stimulation. They also tend to wear your dogs out, so they aren’t so rambunctious when you get home. Besides the obvious downside of cost (anywhere from $25 and up per day), your dog has to pass a socialization test to ensure he plays nicely with others. In most cases you will also need to drop off and pick up Fido every day.

Whatever option you choose, your doggie day care should be seriously considered. If you haven’t gotten a dog yet, ensuring its health and safety while you’re away should be paramount in your decision.

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doggie day care


  1. Thank you for providing truly needed and helpful information for those who have to leave their babies at home. I am so grateful that I work from home and can be with my furkids all day and all evening. When I do have to be away which is rare, I have family who comes by and spends time with my pets.

  2. I don’t have a dog but we have a great doggy daycare right by us and the dogs look so happy, playing with their “friends”. My kids love to stop and look in the window.

  3. I’m not a dog owner, so many of these things have never crossed my mind. However, you’ve given me some things to consider if/when we decide to get a dog. There is a lot more to it then I’ve considered. Thanks for writing this! Gives me stuff to think about.

    • Ricci – You’re not bad at all. In fact, night time is the best time to leave a dog home alone. He probably just sleeps the whole time.

  4. I am so glad I work from home so my doggie is rarely alone. He even comes with me to take the kids to school and pick them up. He’s a rescue and taken his roll as watch dog for our family. He’s such a great dog.

  5. We don’t have any pets at the moment but are looking into getting a puppy within the next few months. With both my wife and I working this post was an interesting read for me. I have a lot to learn about over the next few weeks.

  6. I used to work in a place that offers doggy daycare and I have thought about putting my dog in there occasionally to give her a social life but I am not sure yet if it is for us. We really need to get a better plan because I am sure she is bored when we are not free to play with her.

  7. Thanks for sharing! We’re lucky in this regard because I work from home. But we are actually considering doggy day care so my Loki can have a little more fun in the day and I can get more work done! Not sure how I’d cope if I was away for 9 hours everyday. Think we’d at least consider a dog walker to come in and let her out at least once a day

    • Karly – Putting your dog in doggie daycare does help with socializing your dog. I’m sure it also helps break their boredom and keeps them more entally fit.

  8. Great post. Layla is fortunate that I work mainly from home but in the past I did try a doggy day care and all she did was sit in the corner and mope, I was angry as the people did not tell me for about two weeks and the minute I heard I stopped it. I would love her to go but she is so used to being with me now it would not work at all, I have tried a dog walker and she refused to walk so gave up on that idea

  9. Informative post. I’m happy that dog walking services are becoming more popular. It’s great when pet parents have more options so they can choose what works best for their dog. Your photography is wonderful too!

  10. I’m usually home so it isn’t an issue for my dogs. However, I’m also lucky that my sisters live nearby and will help out when needed. My daughter is considering adopting her first dog and is trying to find a good dog walker before she even goes to look at the dogs.

  11. My SO Matthew works nights, which can be difficult for some life events. However, the big advantage is that he’s home, mostly sleeping, during the day. He gets up and lets the dogs out and has mini play and snuggle sessions with them. The pups go to daycare once a week too, but during this next Tucson summer, I may increase the amount of time they spend at daycare just so they get more consistent exercise on those sweltering days.

  12. The doggie daycares and dog walking services are very popular here in NYC. I am glad that I work from home and am able to exercise my dogs at my own leisure. I would definitely consider a doggie daycare or walker if I wasn’t able to be there for them myself.

    • Diana – My daughter and her husband live in Brooklyn with their beagle, Lucy. But they both work in Manhattan. So they have a dogwalker every day. They used to send her to doggie daycare, and she even got picked up and dropped off each day. New Yorkers really love their dogs!

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