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Doggie daycare

Demand for dog-caring services on the rise, say providers; owners say their pets lap up the attention

Unleashed, Hyuga broke into a sprint on the sandy beach and dashed into the glistening water at East Coast Park.

Some of the more outgoing dogs followed the brown poodle, barking and chasing one another, playing under the watchful eye of their handlers, while the more introverted dogs stayed on land.

Like children going to childcare, these dogs go to daycare while their owners are at work.

Doggie Retreat, a daycare provider in Katong, ensures that they receive attention and care throughout the day.

The owner of Doggie Retreat, Ms Esther Low, 39, said: "Daycare ensures that the 'furkids' are not alone at home pining for their owners.

SECOND HOME

Daycare ensures that the 'furkids' are not alone at home pining for their owners. Some of the dogs have been with us since they were puppies and treat this as their second home. They grew up with one another.

MS ESTHER LOW, owner of Doggie Retreat

MORE CLIENTS

We started out with caring for eight dogs in 2013, but now we can take care of up to 20 in a day.

MS LOW, on the increased demand for dog daycare

HELPS RELEASE ENERGY

My wife and I are sometimes too busy at work and sending them to daycare helps them to expend energy.

MR JOEL TAN, whose labradoodle and golden retriever go to Doggie Retreat twice a week

"Some of the dogs have been with us since they were puppies and treat this as their second home. They grew up with one another."

A spokesman for the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said that no licence is required for the provision of daycare for dogs.

There are no official statistics on the number of dog daycare service providers in Singapore.

Nevertheless, Ms Low notes a steady increase in demand for such services, based on the requests Doggie Retreat receives. She said: "We started out with caring for eight dogs in 2013, but now we can take care of up to 20 in a day."

Ms Estelle Tayler, 33, managing director of a pet hotel, The Wagington, in Loewen Road agreed.

She said business had risen by 30 per cent since November last year.

Mr Kelvin Chua, 37, owner of Pets Serenade in Indus Road, said that he, too, receives more inquiries about daycare services now compared to 2010, when he started.

Daily rates for canine daycare vary from $25 to $65, depending on the size of a dog.

This works out to $1,300 a month for a big dog - comparable to some childcare services.

Mr Joel Tan, 37, owner of a labradoodle and a golden retriever, spends about $400 a month for both his pets to attend daycare twice a week at Doggie Retreat.

The managing director of a chemical laboratory said: "My wife and I are sometimes too busy at work and sending them to daycare helps them to expend energy."

Teacher Jamie Atkinson, 34, notices that her schnauzer, Hero, gets excited when it is time to go to daycare and "comes home happy and tired".

She also finds Hero more sociable with other dogs and people.

A typical day for the dogs at Doggie Retreat starts with walks with dog handlers.

After the morning exercise, some dogs have breakfast, followed by downtime.

Some of them will take a nap while the restless ones play.

If the dogs are still restless after the nap, Ms Low takes them to the nearby dog run park before they go home in the evenings.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2015, with the headline 'Doggie daycare'. Print Edition | Subscribe