Questions and Answers

Most common questions and answers

Do you accept all breeds?

We do accept all breeds into our facility, however, we do limit the number of bully breed dogs enrolled in our daycare program at any one time (some examples of bully breed: APBT, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, Neapolitan Mastiff, Bullmastiff, etc).  Some customers express concern over the bully breed type dogs’ reputation and are apprehensive about their own dog’s safety while at daycare.  In order to respect the feelings of our clients, which after all they are the ones who keep us in business, while still giving an opportunity to some fantastic dogs to come and play with our pack, by limiting the number we can help to dispel some of the bad publicity bully breeds get while at the same time maintaining our excellent safety record and keeping our customers happy. If you have a bully breed, please let us know up front and we will let you know if we have any openings available, if we do not, we have a waiting list when we are full and should any of our dogs move or discontinue daycare we can notify you. Bully breeds go through the same strict interview process that all of the other dogs go through and only well-socialized, non-aggressive, non-possessive dogs will pass.

Due to the variety of sizes in our playgroup we do not allow wolf-dogs.

We know you like to see your dog playing and you want them tired at the end of the day.  We want to make sure they are appropriately tired…not exhausted.  Exhausted dogs are more likely to over-react, make poor choices and behave impulsively.  Exhausted dogs are more likely to be dismissed from daycare.  It is not normal for a dog to play nonstop for hours on end, nor is it healthy.  Excessive activity can keep your dog in a chronic state of arousal which can trigger stress hormones.  Overly tired dogs can be antsy and agitated and though they may still be fun to watch trying to play on camera, they can give misleading signals to the dogs in the group and can create upset and tension within the group.  We want each and every dog to have a fun, interesting and entertaining day at Desert Dog.  We also want to send them home physically, mentally and emotionally better for having spent the day with us.  So if you happen to see your dog napping, remember that is actually a good sign that your dog is comfortable enough in the environment to self-settle and relax and give themselves time to rest and recover before engaging in healthy play again.

Obviously we clean up messes as they are made with a BruTab mix in the mop bucket.  BruTab is a hospital grade neutral pH disinfectant and sanitizer (safe alternative than bleach since dogs are walking on surface).  It is effective against a broad range of microorganisms including Canine parvovirus, Distemper, Canine Cough and more.  Its active ingredient (sodium dichloro-s-trizinetrione) is used worldwide to purify drinking water so you can feel confident knowing it will not harm your pup. We disinfect and sanitize entire area daily, including play equipment and dog cots, with our Wysiwash sanitizer unit.  Wysiwash is a powerful fast acting disinfectant that kills bacteria, viruses and fungi. It is effective against a wide range of pathogens including Distemper Corona virus, giardia, Leptospira, Distemper, Parvo, the list goes on.  It is pet-safe and eco-friendly. We also deep clean each weekend with a pressure washer to clean out any dirt and grime and then begin sanitizing again.  We take cleanliness and sanitation very seriously and want to maintain a clean and healthy environment for all of the dogs and the employees.

We soak our play area water bowls in bleach overnight, each night.  We also soak the bowls of all boarding dogs and we provide brand new water bowls for all boarding dogs every other morning so that everyone has access to clean drinking water during their stay with us.  All lunch bowls are soaked and sanitized before reuse as well.

Our laundry is washed in hot water with a sanitizer supplement to kill any remaining germs on bath towels and bedding.

We use a bio enzymatic digester in outdoor and indoor play areas as well.  It contains a synergistic blend of microbes that release enzymes to naturally consume a variety of organic waste, which eliminates odors.

Click on the Enrollment tab and complete the online registration.  You will need vaccination records from the vet showing that your dog is current on Rabies, Distemper/Parvo and Bordetella (Bordetella is required every 6 months regardless of expiration date on vet paperwork) and proof of spay/neuter if over 7 months – you can submit these records during the online registration or you can bring in at the time of the interview. Once you’ve completed that, just give us a call and we will schedule a time for your pups interview. Feel free to call if you have any questions or concerns while deciding on daycare or while gathering this info.

Many vets only update bordetella vaccinations annually, however because the virus is airborne, it is highly contagious and will spread rapidly among dogs sharing the same environment and much like the human common cold, canine cough is both seasonal (usually spring and fall) and epidemic. Today it is very effective against most known strains, however it is known to mutate easily and there are times you pet may still get a case of it. It is the only protection we have at this time and that is why we require it - we have taken it a step further and require it to be done every 6 months. So if your dog is very social , goes on walks, parks, hiking in the canyons, daycare, pet stores, training classes, grooming shops, vet offices or any other place where they will have contact with other dogs it is a good safety precaution to have them inoculated for this. Bordetella is not part of the standard vaccination schedule most vets follow – so you may need to specifically request it.

The interview process has a few different steps.

First, we will spend a few minutes going over your dog’s application and vet records; then, we will address any questions or concerns you may have.

Then we will take your dog from you and introduce him/her to our pack. We will observe them as they interact with the other dogs, checking for any signs of aggression, obviously, as well as signs of fear, stress or anxiousness. If at any point we see signs of aggression, we will bring your dog back to you and they will not be able to stay to play – we take this very seriously because the safety of our campers is of utmost importance. If your dog seems fearful or anxious, we will take the time to help him/her get passed the initial reaction – it can be a big deal for a dog, especially one that has not been exposed to many dogs, to be able to properly meet and greet other dogs, but it is an essential skill that can be learned if you would like to have a well socialized dog. Once we feel your dog is comfortable and mingling well with the pack we will let you know that they have passed this step in the interview. Please allow 15-30 minutes for this process.

Finally, we will have you leave your dog for 4 hours so that he/she can really settle in and get a feel for the daycare experience. We will watch to make sure your dog is not stressed or uncomfortable because we want every dog in our pack to feel at ease, whether they want to run and play on their first day or just relax and calmly socialize. If your dog does not seem to be fitting in to the social environment or is showing signs of distress, we will call to let you know so you can come and pick him/her up. For many dogs daycare is a natural environment, however there are occasionally dogs that would be happier at home with a pet sitter or at a traditional kennel, this does not means they are not great dogs, they just do not enjoy the social environment, and your dogs’ welfare is very important to us.

Absolutely! We have several water troughs in each play area at all times with fresh water, but remember, dogs are very active at daycare so it is basically like several hours of exercising for us, so even after they have left daycare, they will still need to rehydrate. Also, dogs that are running and playing should not drink large amounts of water because it increases their chances of vomiting it back up as well as getting bloat, so many dogs will drink a limited amount of water until they are out of the play area and know that play time is over. If we see a dog that is drinking large amounts of water and then playing extremely hard we will actually pull them out of the play area until they have had time to digest the water.

Most adult dogs do not need to eat while at daycare.  We do recommend that puppies and dogs up to one year do have an extra meal during the day due to the increased activity while at daycare.  This will also provide the time to learn how to self-settle.  If you would like your dog to eat while at daycare just bring your dogs’ own food/treats – we prefer a reusable container, no glass.  After eating, all dogs remain in their kennel for 60 minutes after eating to allow their food time to digest and to prevent issues such as vomiting and bloating.

Dogs whose pads have not yet worked up a good callous surface may be a little sensitive after running and playing all day. We use pea gravel in our outside yard – it’s easier on joints and paws, it’s hygienic and it much more forgiving during games of chase. Don’t worry though, once they are exposed on a regular basis they will harden and will no longer be sore. It is best not to put any kind of softener or paw wax on their pads because their pads are meant to harden and protect them for a variety of surfaces.

Absolutely, we just ask that you call ahead to schedule a re-interview time and bring current vaccination records.  Be prepared to wait a few minutes while we re-introduce your dog to the pack to make sure they will still be happy and comfortable and play well with the pack. This is considered a day of daycare – you can purchase a pass or pay for the single day at the end of your dogs day of play. If for any reason your dog does not pass the re-interview, they will not be able to stay for the day and there is no charge.

Everyone that boards needs to be able to spend their days in daycare, so you need to do the same things listed above. Once your dog has passed the interview, you can schedule boarding.   There is a Sleepover Checklist under your Agreements after you have registered that gives you details on what to bring for boarding stays.

Definitely, we recommend you bring the food your dog is used to eating. Most dogs’ digestive systems do not react well to rapid changes in their diets which can lead to stomach cramps, heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, vomiting or refusal to eat. We do have house foods ($2 / day) if you forget your dog’s food – let us know what brand he/she normally eats and we will try to supplement with the same or something similar.

Absolutely, we will administer, we just ask that you provide written instruction so that we know exactly what to do for your pup. There is no charge to administer medications.

Yes, we can accommodate special diets. We do ask that you provide instruction on how to prepare any meals and any storage requirements and treat restrictions. We have a full kitchen – fridge, microwave, etc.

We encourage you to do so! Items from home have your smell on them and provide comfort and security for your dog while he is in his kennel. Those items are not allowed in the play area but when it is time to go to bed at night it lets your pup know which area is his/hers and helps them to snuggle in. Be aware though, if your dog tends to be destructive, all items may not make it back in one piece, so if you have a cherished item you should probably leave that at home. We have bowls, beds, blankets that we can provide as well if you do not bring anything.

If it has been more than 12 months since your dogs last visit (daycare or boarding) we do require that you bring them for a re-interview day before we can reserve a space for them. You just need to bring updated vaccination records. There is a $25 daycare day charge to re-interview as long as your dog passes and spends the day with us, however, if you are making a boarding reservation for 5 nights or more, there is no charge for the daycare day. If for any reason your dog does not pass the re-interview, there is no charge. We require this for a couple of reasons.  First, it will get your dog reacquainted with the humans and dogs at the facility so when they return there will be less stress because they are familiar with the routine.  Second, while most dogs maintain a consistent disposition throughout their lives, some dogs may display changes in personalities as they mature. For instance a dog that is 8 months old during its first visit may get along extremely well with other dogs, but if that dog is not exposed to similar social situations as it matures into an adult dog, he/she may not be able to handle the open play environment as a 2 year old adult dog. The same goes for a dog that is aging or one that has had a negative experience since their last visit; they may not be able to handle the experience as they did before. We would rather find that out during a day when you are in town and can make other arrangements than to take your dog and have to disrupt your vacation trying to figure out alternate arrangements. Again, our aim is to provide all of our dogs, whether daycare or boarding, with a safe, fun and comfortable environment, though it may seem inconvenient, it’s in everyone’s best interest.


We do offer discounts for extended stays and multiple dog families. See our home page for details.

Absolutely, most family dogs feel most comfortable when they can snuggle up next to their siblings. We have a few oversized kennels as well for large breed families or if you would just like your dog to have even more room.

Yes, we take dogs of all sizes, however, we are not setup to accommodate teacup/micro sized dogs.

We do have multiple areas for our dogs; however we do require that all dogs get along with both large and small dogs. During the interview process all dogs are exposed to dogs of all sizes because we feel it is important that dogs, whether large or small, do not develop phobias of any other types of dog because at some point in their lives they will be exposed to those types of dogs, whether on a walk, in our lobby or at the vet, and it is important to have a well-balanced dog that can handle those situations.  Though many small dogs enjoy playing with various sized dogs – there are times though when we feel it is better for them to be in a separate are – during inclimate weather, during drop off and pick up time, etc. and we will move them accordingly for their safety and comfort.

Yes, you can drop off and pick up dogs on Saturday and Sunday for daycare and boarding.  Our hours are from 10:30 to 5:30.  We are also open from 10:30 to 5:30 on all major holidays.

We do this for the safety of the intact dogs and for the overall safety of the group. Intact dogs are at greater risk of injury from other dogs. In a social setting, such as daycare, intact males are often viewed as threats by other dominant dogs and therefore may become targets. The testosterone that is present will put the other non-intact dogs on edge creating tension and disrupting the pack. Non-intact females will target intact females as well, whether they are in heat or not, and male dogs will view her as an intact female which can lead to behaviors that are not acceptable social behaviors at daycare. Basically by creating a level playing field, the dogs can easily find their natural place in our pack and that makes for a safe and comfortable environment for everyone.   If you begin bringing your puppy to daycare regularly between the ages of 4 to 6 months, we will work with you to allow your pup to continue daycare as long as possible without getting spayed/neutered.  Once we begin seeing any indications of a problem, we will discuss your options at that time and you can decide whether or not to continue daycare.

Many vets and kennels offer traditional boarding for less than what we charge. Traditional boarding consists of your dog being kenneled for the majority of the day (20 hours or more) and being taken on a few potty walks each day. Not much interaction with humans and little to none with other dogs, it’s a rather solitary experience, though some dogs are just fine with it. Daycare boarding allows your dog to socialize freely indoors and out while playing with other friendly dogs, lots of human contact and supervision, not to mention playing in the hose or pools or even chasing snowballs from morning until night! There are tunnels to run through, platforms to jump on, play equipment to run around and even a place to lay under the shade of a tree when they are tired. All of that activity each day makes for a calm and peaceful night's sleep each night and that makes for one happy dog when you return!