Industry News
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The Rapidly Evolving Landscape of Dog Care In 2023
By Jesse Coslov
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In the modern world, endless information is readily available at our fingertips. The internet has given everyone access to becoming an “expert” on any subject. Ironically, this abundance of free information only increases the need for true experts—industry leaders that not only work to stay ahead of trends, but who also take the time to assist educated consumers in deciphering between facts and fluff and building on what they’ve learned on their own.

At this moment, health and wellness—both physical and emotional—are now front and center in the minds of pet guardians. As experts, we understand these subjects are highly individualized, and we can no longer get by with a one-size-fits-all mindset regarding how we care for our animals. With unique personalities and physiologies, different dogs have different needs in all aspects of life. As a result, dog daycare and boarding facilities have adapted to the new expectations of well-researched clients. Furthermore, knowing these expectations provides an opportunity for staff to add to a client’s educational journey. This is a chance to help clients not only understand how we tailor each dog’s experience, but to also appreciate why we do it.

Sleep is a great example…

In times gone by, there was a “get the most out of my money” mentality that led to clients getting frustrated when their dogs were pulled for breaks from daycare. Now, when viewed through the lens of a health-savvy client, we have an opportunity to educate on the importance of rest and relaxation, especially while boarding.

Most dogs require at least 14 hours of sleep per day, and more for puppies and senior dogs. When dogs are staying overnight in a facility, their normal routines are disrupted and, naturally, this means an interruption in sleep schedules and decrease in sleep quality—a fact not always considered by even the most researched first-time clients. When a dog is not getting adequate rest, it is more likely to be irritable and stressed, which can lead to altercations with other dogs, diarrhea and even a refusal to eat. Giving a dog an additional opportunity for rest has nothing to do with short-changing a client. On the contrary, it’s a customization that reminds clients we are watching out for their dogs as individuals.

At this moment, health and wellness—both physical and emotional—are now front and center in the minds of pet guardians.
Well-educated clients also understand how environmental factors like sight, scent and sound all can contribute positively to sleep quality. Again, this is another opportunity to showcase knowledge and services by delving into the use of calming music or sounds playing overnight, aromatherapy and DAP diffusers. Clients want to know that each dog has a visually calm and quiet place to decompress overnight, and we want clients to know that’s exactly what those of us in the industry strive to provide.

The pet care industry is also progressing rapidly in the realm of daycare. Daycare businesses are tasked with grouping dogs of all ages, sizes and personality types together in perfect harmony. But we know that isn’t always realistic or appropriate for every dog. Fortunately, the old dog daycare model (all dogs play all day and are only removed from the group for exhibiting an undesired behavior) has gone out of style, and a more individualized approach is being considered and slowly implemented across the country. Call it “Daycare 2.0.” Recognizing the unique needs and preferences of each dog allows industry professionals to make each visit to their facility a positive experience. 

Enter enrichment…

Enrichment activities offering mental (and sometimes physical) stimulation are quickly gaining in popularity. Whether it is more traditional, skills-related training, or more generalized, dog-led activities like scent training or chase games, providing enrichment can be a game-changer
for businesses. 

We know that dogs appear happier and more content when all their needs are met; physical, mental, emotional, dietary, etc. We also know that just 15 minutes of proper enrichment can be just as tiring and satisfying as an hour of physical exercise. As a result, industry leaders are incorporating activities throughout their dogs’ days that encompass more interactive activities such as sniffing, scratching, digging and searching. Dogs receiving leash walks are permitted to meander, sniff and interact with their surroundings, as this will help tire them out, allow them to decompress, and provide essential enrichment for them to feel fulfilled and satisfied—and satisfied dogs lead to satisfied clients.

In short, tailored break times and enrichment programs serve as examples of a much bigger concept: Educated clients want their dogs treated as individuals. For those of us in the industry, we understand that the individualization of each dog not only leads to more positive experiences, but it reinforces with clients that we do our research as well, making us allies in the quest for what’s best for their dog.

Jesse Coslov is the CEO of The Dog Stop®. Founded in 2009 and franchising since 2013, The Dog Stop has been winning over dogs and owners with their all-inclusive facility complete with spa-style grooming, year-round boarding, individualized training, playtime-focused daycare, and a natural pet retail store that carries ranked products, all run by highly qualified staff. Each component is catered to stimulate every dog’s physical and mental needs, ensuring that they leave happier and healthier. The Dog Stop currently serves dogs and owners in all 25 locations in 12 states. For more information, go to