Demand growing for doggy day care

By Carmen Hall

Devoted Bay pet owners are spending up to $175 a week so their pampered pooches can be entertained while they work.

Parents pay on average $5 an hour or $200 per week in a childcare centre or significantly less with a subsidy.

While dog owners are not entitled to those perks, it has not stopped them from fronting up the cash for a dog sitter.

Absolutely Precious Paws owner Lisa Hudson said demand for "doggy daycare" had increased by about 50 per cent since she launched her business two years ago.

The company has 100 dogs on its books and owners think nothing about paying upwards of $20 a day to ensure their pets are well looked after.

Recreational activities included tennis, running on the treadmill, swimming, dress-up parties, nap time, walks and a bath on Tuesday.

She said they had also become a haven for misbehaving or naughty dogs.

"Some people bring in dogs that have been getting into trouble while at home alone.

It's a good opportunity for the dogs to socialise with others and have fun." Specialised "in-home care" had also taken off.

Pet Partners owner Deb Bodger said she offered a boutique service and catered for up to four dogs a day at her house, at $35 per day. She was booked out. "It's just growing and growing and growing," she said.

The company had taken on nine partners in Papamoa, Mount Maunganui and Tauranga, although not all of them did "in-home care".

"Nowadays pets are considered an integral part of the family and their physical and emotional wellbeing is important to people. Often owners can't be there to do that, because they are out earning a living, but they want the best for their dogs because they love them with all their heart.

"We can create environments to suit all types of dogs. People have commented about similarities to home child care and it's not dissimilar at all, actually. The dogs are stimulated mentally, emotionally and physically in a positive caring way."

Dog owner Anna Zandstra said she had no qualms about paying $23 a day for Millie to attend doggy daycare at Absolutely Paws, for 2-4 days a week. "Millie has been going since she was a puppy and the staff genuinely love the dogs. After work it is just like picking up a child from daycare."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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