Putting your dog in doggy day care can cost ‘up to £11,000 per year’

Cute Puppy Lying On Sofa
If you’re heading back to the office, day care could cost you a fortune (Picture: Getty)

Getting a dog is never a decision that should be taken lightly.

It’s a huge responsibility that can mean you have to make some sacrifices, and the cost of looking after an animal should always be considered.

Food, toys and vet bills are one thing – but if you have a dog that needs looking after while you’re at work, the cost could really skyrocket.

With more people than ever opting to get a four-legged friend during lockdown, the mass return to offices and the widespread reduction in working from home, could cause problems for lots of people.

Yummy! Dogs have about 1,700 taste buds. Humans have approximately 9,000 and cats have around 473.

It’s estimated that 3.2 million households purchased a new pet during lockdown last year, bringing the total of dogs in the UK to a massive 12 million.

But if your office isn’t dog-friendly, you’ll need to look into getting a dog walker or doggy day care – and neither of those options come cheap.

In fact, Admiral pet insurance has calculated that the average cost of doggy day care is £3,456 per year, but that figure varies wildly depending on where you live.

In London, the average daily cost of day care for your pet is £45. If you use it full-time, that’s £225 per week, which is an eye-watering £11,700 per year, if you use it every week.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Your dog is as smart as a two-year old! Ever wonder why children around this age seem to have a special bond with the family dog? It could be because they speak the same language, roughly 250 words and gestures in fact.

That’s on par with putting a child through private school, or paying a second mortgage.

Even if you’re only using day care a few days per week, and you’re still working from home some of the time, the cost is far from small.

Admiral found that a worker going to the office three days a week, as per the popular new hybrid model, will spend around £288 per month on day care for their canine pal.

Getting a dog walker rather than day care is a slightly more affordable option.

The research found an hour’s dog walk with an accredited professional would cost an average of £1,774 per year. Although it’s a slightly cheaper option than doggy day care, it will still leave owners forking out £148 per month for one dog.

Move over Rover! 45% of dogs sleep in their owner’s bed (we’re pretty sure a large percentage also hog the blankets!)

Most expensive and cheapest cities for dog owners

Dog owners in the capital will be facing the largest bills as London is the most expensive city for pet services, costing an average of £17 per hour for dog walking and £45 per day for doggy day care for one dog. At the other end of the scale, Glasgow is the cheapest city for dog walkers with owners paying just £10.33 per hour for one dog. While Newcastle is the cheapest for doggy day care services with costs totalling £19.33 for a full day for one dog.

Watch Out For Your Dogs Feet in the Summer. Hot pavement can burn your dogs paws rather quickly. To see if it’s too hot for your dog place the back of your hand on the pavement – if you can’t hold it there for 5 seconds it’s too hot for your dog. On really hot days consider walking your dog in the woods, on the grass, or waiting til the sun goes down.

How to tackle separation anxiety in your dog

To help anxious owners with the change of routine , pet behaviour expert and TV presenter, Leon Towers has shared his tips for keeping a dog happy when they need to be left alone for longer periods.

He suggests getting your dog ready to be left alone by following these steps:

  • Don’t let your puppy follow you around everywhere in the home as this could potentially create a dog who is unable to cope when they can’t see you.
  • Try crate training a dog as this provides a safe space for a dog where they feel most secure when left alone.
  • Practise leaving the house without your dog and don’t make a fuss when you leave the house as this can feed a dog’s anxiety.
  • When you leave your dog alone, leave them with a suitable chew toy to keep them occupied.

Keep Household Toxins (Including the Garbage) Out of Reach. While it may seem obvious to keep your cleaning products tucked away safely one of the biggest threats to a dogs health in your home is the garbage. If your dog gets into the garbage you can use some baby proof locks to seal it, or put it away in the closet or garage while you’re gone.

Leon also advises planning any doggy day care in advance.

‘Visit your chosen doggy day care provider before booking and ensure it is insured and that the staff are all trained in dog behaviour and first aid,’ Leon says.

‘A good day care facility should have access to a large open space indoors, or outdoors (or both) for a dog to run around, have fresh water available and resting facility with clean beds and bedding.’

Leon adds that if a dog is staying at home alone for more than five hours a day, it should be taken for a one hour dog walk by a dog walker to split the day.

Make a Tug Toy From Old Clothes. Does your dog love to play tug? Got some extra t-shirts lying around? Make your own toy by braiding one of your old t-shirts into a tug toy rather than throwing them out.

‘When leaving your dog alone, ensure that they have enough fresh drinking water, comfortable bedding and a calm smaller room to make them feel as safe as possible,’ he says.

‘The more space that a dog has to pace, the more stressful the area will become.’

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