How to Design a Doggie Daycareby Sally Holmes
When owners opt to enroll their canine companions in a doggie daycare center, they expect their dogs to be provided the best of care in a safe, stimulating environment. A well-designed daycare center provides ample space for play, quiet areas for relaxation and a range of facilities to engage even the most hard-to-please canine. A spacious center that is clean, airy and bright, without appearing too sterile or impersonal, will appeal to the most discerning dog owner and her pet.
Plan the layout of your center. The ASPCA recommends a play area of around 75 to 100 square feet per dog. You will need at least two play areas, one for larger dogs and one for smaller breeds. For the large-breed play area, allocate space in line with the top end of the recommended scale. Allocate additional space for a client reception area, an office, a quiet area for the dogs, an isolation room, a kitchen, staff restrooms and storage facilities. Construct internal walls and partitions according to your desired layout.
Select a flooring material that is both durable and easy to clean. Cushioned, rubber mats are the choice of many dog daycare centers. Concrete is a less expensive option, but it may become shabby if it is not well-maintained.
Paint the center with bright colors. Avoid dark shades, as you need to create a light, spacious feel. Add pictures to the wall. While your canine customers may show little interest in these, they will add visual appeal for your human clients.
Buy bright, easy-to-clean storage boxes and crates for toys and play items. Select robust, plastic beds that will not harbor germs, and choose bedding that is easy to launder. Choose beds, bowls and other items in a variety of sizes for the different dog breeds.
Create an agility area. Incorporate jumping, climbing and weaving activities, as well as a tunnel. Either buy specialized equipment or improvise with household objects. Do not set jumps too high -- they should be no higher than halfway up the leg of the smallest dog in the group -- and ensure they will easily collapse on contact.
Install a desk, sofas and side table in the reception area. Hang photographs of happy dogs on the wall. Create a relaxing atmosphere with a touch of luxury to convince clients that their pets' comfort is assured.
Attend to all necessary safety aspects. Install secure fences that are at least 6 feet high. Construct double doors and gates to prevent escape. Avoid sharp edges on furniture or equipment. Install fire and smoke alarms and effective temperature-control systems for both comfort and safety. Install a telephone in each room to enable staff to contact each other while still supervising the dogs.
Design and install eye-catching signage. Create a welcoming exterior with colored paint and tubs of flowers. Ensure there are safe access paths from both the parking lot and the street.
Add a shaded area to your outside space. Make sure there are no poisonous plants or other hazards. Buy a small, plastic pool for paddling on hot days. Include an outside drinking station and a toileting area.
Incorporate a system for playing quiet music, particularly in the rest areas, where you should be able to dim the lights for relaxation. Consider installing webcams to enable clients to watch their dogs at play.
Place drinking stations throughout the facility. Consider buying water fountains to provide a constant, fresh supply of water. Create a separate feeding area to avoid conflicts between food thieves and food-possessive dogs.
Walk through your facility and imagine you are a prospective client. Assess the feel and flow of your center, and make any necessary adjustments. Ask a friend or family member to visit, walk around, and provide candid feedback.
Items You Will Need
- Graph paper
- Measuring tape
- Color charts
- Consider soundproofing the facility to avoid complaints from your neighbors.
- Ensure there is easy access to running water from each area of the center in order to facilitate cleaning and refilling drinking bowls.
- Avoid disasters by conducting regular risk assessments of your facility.
- Collie Dog on Dog Bed image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com