If you are a dog owner, then chances are that you have considered outside care from one time to another. It may have been the day you arrived home to find your pooch sulking on the floor. Or perhaps the day your cheeky pup took landscaping matters into their own paws. Or maybe the day you checked the home camera to find your fur baby gnawing on everything in sight.
And who could blame them? They like us, thrive on love and affection. They ride our highs and our lows; and are entitled to have a few of their own. These emotions are often intensified when our beloved dogs are left alone at home. Many pet owners will know that it’s not unusual to find their dog bored, stressed, or even depressed while they are home alone.
Separation anxiety and sheer boredom can at times cause barking, howling, self-harm, and destruction. Much of this is often preventable, and it’s really quite simple. Some exercise, play, and mental stimulation all help to keep your dog healthy – and happy.
That said, work, family life, and extra commitments all limit our ability to give our dogs the time they truly need. That is where dog, or ‘doggy’ daycare, is just the help we need.
Doggy daycare like many pet services exist to make their owners lives easier, and their pets lives more fulfilled. Much like childcare for children, doggy daycare offers daily care within set hours for your dog. The number of dog daycare centres has skyrocketed recent years, leading to greater choice and higher quality care.
Many centres even offer transport, meals, and grooming services ensuring you – and your dog – have everything you need. But with so much choice, finding the right centre can be tricky. Fortunately we’ve curated a list of the best doggy daycare options in the Canberra region, read on to find out more.
What makes a great doggy daycare centre?
The best doggy daycare centres are a home away from home for your beloved furry friend. They are a haven for your dog and you know that they will leave just as healthy and as happily as when they arrived. Here are some things to keep in mind while selecting a daycare service for your dog:
- Dog lovers. A great way to assess the fit of any doggy daycare centre is to review the carers credentials themselves. After all, the carers are the reason you are here, they make your dog feel at home. Look for centres which are run, and staffed, by dog lovers. Also ensure the staff to dog ratio is high. Furthermore, consider the carers and their qualifications. Check for qualifications in animal first aid, animal behaviour, or animal care. A genuine love of dogs along with professional grade skills will help confirm your pooch is in safe hands.
- Wellness first. What really separates the best doggy daycare centres from the rest is their care philosophy. The best will always put your furry friend’s wellness first. And when we say wellness, we mean the full package. Mentally, physically, socially, and nutritionally – whatever the need or priority they will cater to it. Much like us your dog’s needs can change from day to day and the best daycare teams work with this. Be it extra cuddles, some quiet time, or more fresh air, they will strive to ensure your dogs needs are met.
- Fabulous facilities. When it comes to facilities there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, all good doggy daycare centres should be squeaky clean. Be sure to check private and shared spaces and enquire about cleaning practises. Secondly, consider how dogs are socialised or separated. The best daycare centres will ensure dogs are appropriate grouped for all shared activities to maximise their safety. Thirdly, consider your dog’s needs and review both indoor and outdoor spaces. Are the facilities stimulating, do they contain natural elements, are there opportunities for natural light and fresh air in wet weather? The best centres will be proud to show you around their facilities.
- Activities aplenty. The best doggy daycare centres will have well considered daily routines with ample times for rest, exercise, and play. Look for those which offer guided activities, conducted by carers to ensure your dog is nurtured and attended to. Moreover, consider where these activities are being held. Some centres may offer external walks, trips to the park, bushwalks and alike. Find a centre with a schedule of activities that best suits your furry friend.
- Sparkling service. Many good centres now offer an array of sparkling services all designed to make your partnership with them easier. Be it supplied meals, transport to and from care, onsite grooming, or the opportunity for activities they have it covered. Some doggy daycare centres may even work alongside trainers, vets, and boarding kennels, which may prove helpful in the long run. Always be sure to get a full steer on rates and extras while working out what is best for you
The best doggy daycare in Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
As one of Canberra’s oldest and most respected pet care providers, Tara Estate provides day care and lodgings for both dogs and cats. Their Doggy Daycare service, much like all others offered is second to none.
Set in a beautiful farm inspired estate, the daycare is at home amongst a landscaped dam, action packed outdoor play space and loads of interactive equipment that spell fun for the furry kind.
The highly experienced team at Tara Estate are all about providing enrichment-based care ensuring physical and mental activeness during your dog’s time with them.
Each pooch is peer placed according to temperament; and is fully supervised throughout the day. The daily schedule contains a perfect balance of socialisation, play and quiet time, maximising the estates surrounds.
Their impressive facilities include individual accommodation, grooming services, training, and airport transfers. For respected carers and all that you need for your paw pal under the one roof look to Tara Estate Doggy Daycare.
Rachel Hamilton shared this glowing feedback of Tara Estate Doggy Daycare on Google, “My dog absolutely loves daycare here, always comes home happy and exhausted. The staff know him very well and always let me know how he was during the day.”
Safe, welcoming, and fully-insured, Paws2Play is one of Canberra’s leading doggy daycare centres. Committed to delivering a supportive and stimulating environment for your beloved dog, Paws2Play caters to dog-owners in Canberra, Yass, Queanbeyan, and surrounding regions. In addition to their doggy daycare services, Paws2Play also offers puppy kinder and obedience classes.
Tee Oslo had this to say about Paws2Play, "My dog has been coming here for close to two years now and absolutely loves it. He is so excited that he runs to the entrance and has no time to say goodbye when I drop him off! Staff are super friendly and genuinely love their job."
The caring team of professionals at Canberra Pet Care have been offering quality care for decades. Cats and dogs receive special attention at a “real pet’s resort”. Services include playtime, bush walks and “Yappy Hour”. Shampoo and blow dry services are available for dogs, on departure. Canberra Pet Care is a unique concept in animal care. Animals love the Superior Pet Motel. Luxury Suites are available.
On Riot Act, Julie-Anne Boxall wrote, “The best people. Have a dam and a lot of room for pets to run and play.”
Your dog is the top priority for the experienced team behind Dog’s Day Out. Your four-legged friend is given the love and attention they deserve as they play and rest in this fully indoor facility. With multiple play areas, Dog’s Day Out divides the dogs into safe play groups depending on size, age, and ability.
Jen Large shared this feedback on Dog's Day Out on Google, "We have been extremely happy with the care and fun our little Audrey has at Dog's Day Out Doggy Daycare. She loves to visit and she has a regular booking each week. We think our doggy is in very good hands Kate and her team are excellent!!"
Open between 6 am and 7:30 pm, the passionate team at Pups4Fun provide a fun, rewarding doggy daycare program for dogs of all breeds and ages. With plenty of opportunities to socialise with other animals, your pet won’t grow bored or restless while you are out and about.
Karina Conza shared this glowing review on Google, "I am so thankful for Pups 4 Fun and their fantastic services. Our pup has so much fun at specialised daycare and we have seen tremendous improvements in her behaviours in only the first few weeks. This paired with a super easy online booking system, convenient drop-off/pickup procedures, and daily photo updates - I really can't recommend this business enough!"
If you’re interested in finding somewhere for your pet to stay whilst you’re on holiday, our articles on Canberra’s best dog walkers and pet sitters and best dog boarding kennels and catteries may be helpful.
And if you’re looking to adopt another furry friend, our article on the best places for rescue dogs in Canberra may be of interest to you.
Your experience with doggy daycares in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the doggy daycares listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is doggy daycare different to a boarding kennel?
Doggy or dog daycare is a daytime care service for dogs. Care is offered during set hours on a daily basis, much like childcare centres do for children. Dog daycare differs to boarding kennels which traditionally offers multiday or overnight stays.
What happens during doggy daycare?
Much like daycare for children, doggy daycare centres offer activities in line with their curriculum, and of course your dogs individual needs. Your dog will have the opportunity to socialise with other dogs, play with carers, spend time both in and outdoors, and rest. For details on specific routines for your daycare please contact the centre.
What age can a puppy go to daycare?
General advice indicates that most dog daycare services will require a puppy to be at least twelve weeks old and fully vaccinated before commencing. If in doubt, please consult the centre of your choosing for further information.
What do I need to bring to doggy daycare?
Most centres will require that you bring a few essentials items for your dog’s day at daycare. These include a collar, leash, any medicine, along with meals and treats for the day. Some daycare centre may have specific requirements such as the type collar, while others may offer additional inclusions such as meals or a taxi service, so always consult prior to commencement.
What does doggy daycare cost?
Costs for doddy daycare vary around Australia and are influenced by factors like dog size, daily inclusions, and the duration of care. In Canberra expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $90+ per day. For rates specific to your needs please contact your doggy daycare centre directly.