Dog Daycare, Puppy

What Age Can Dogs Go to Daycare


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If you have a puppy, you may be wondering when your furbaby can go to doggy daycare. Below we answer what age can dogs go to daycare and why it’s important to wait.

What Age Can Dogs Go to Daycare?

Puppies should be at least 12 weeks old and have their first round of adult dog vaccinations before going to dog daycare. Dog owners should wait approximately two weeks after receiving those vaccinations before attending.

what age to go to daycare

Vaccinations for Dog Daycare

The reason you have to wait until your young puppy is at least 12 weeks for dog daycare is vaccinations. Dogs younger than 12 weeks old can’t have all of the required vaccinations for a daycare environment because their immune system isn’t fully developed. By 12 weeks old, most puppies are ready for all vaccinations.

Most doggie daycares require the following puppy shots.

DAPP (DHPP) Vaccine

  • This is a combination vaccine that protects dogs from:
    • Distemper
    • Adenovirus type 1 (Hepatitis)
    • Adenovirus type 2 (respiratory)
    • Parainfluenza
    • Parvovirus

This initial vaccination requires boosters depending on a dog’s age, lifestyle, and risk factors.

Rabies Vaccine

Rabies vaccinations can be given every year or every three years. Not only is it required for all doggie daycares, but it’s also mandated by state laws.

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Canine Influenza Virus (Dog Flu) Vaccine

Dogs can get the flu, too! Unfortunately, they catch it from other dogs, which is why daycare facilities require it. It also needs about two weeks to take effect and a booster every year to keep working.

Learn More: Pros and Cons of Dog Flu Vaccine

Bordatella (Canine Kennel Cough) Vaccine

Doggie daycares required kennel cough vaccination because the environment is a high-risk setting. The vaccination does need time to protect a dog, so wait two weeks after it’s given to your dog before taking your pup to daycare.

The kennel cough vaccine booster must be administered yearly or every 6 months if the daycare facility requires it.

Learn More: Pros and Cons of the Kennel Cough Vaccine

Leptospirosis Vaccine

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that destroys the kidneys and/or liver. This vaccine protects a dog from getting this potentially life-threatening infection. This vaccine needs to be given yearly.

The above vaccinations are also required for boarding kennels. If you’re wondering about them, consider reading: Dog Boarding vs Daycare

what age can puppies go to daycare

How to Know It’s Time for Puppy Daycare

Vaccinations aren’t the only factor determining what age dogs can go to daycare. A dog’s behavior also matters when it comes to puppy daycare.

Doggy daycare is a place where dogs can learn, play and receive mental stimulation while their owners are working. Puppy socialization is highly important to their development. This is why the number of pet parents who have decided to take their young dogs to doggy daycare has increased drastically over the last couple of years.

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It’s important to ensure your dog is ready for doggy daycare. The following factors can help you decide if your puppy is ready.

  • Adult vaccinations were received at least 2 years ago.
  • Your puppy does well playing with new dogs at dog parks. This includes playing with older dogs and small dogs (if your puppy is a large breed).
  • When your puppy meets new people, he/she is excited and friendly vs. aggressive. Many (not all) dog daycares do not accept reactive dogs.
  • You’ve used a dog walker or dog sitter without issue, especially if you’ve been using one since a young age.
  • Your puppy doesn’t have or has mild separation anxiety.
  • Potty training is complete or nearly complete. Many pet parents wait until 16 weeks because they don’t want a setback.

When Your Puppy Is Ready for Daycare

Start looking for the best daycare for your new puppy before he/she is ready so you have plenty of time to find one. Ask people at dog parks, the veterinarian’s office, and other places that dog owners frequent.

When you have at least two daycares to look into, it’s time to reach out to learn as much as possible about them and visit them to determine which one is a good fit.

When you visit the doggy daycare, bring your puppy so you can see how he/she reacts. That can tell you a lot about the daycare facility. Dogs have a good sense of whether a place is good or bad for them.

What Age Can Dogs Go to Daycare?

Dogs can go to daycare when they’ve received all of their initial vaccinations, which is after 12 weeks of age. Some daycares require puppies to be a bit older, so be sure to ask this question to each daycare you call to inquire about their requirements.

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What Age Is Your Dog Going to Daycare?

Now that you know your new puppy needs to have all initial vaccinations before going to doggy daycare, which happens around 12 weeks, what age will your fur baby go?



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