Updated: Jan 13
Dogs are social creatures who rely on companionship and mental and physical stimulation for their health and happiness. So when the holidays wrap up and we return to work and school, it can be tough on them. If you're looking for a way to keep your pooch entertained while you're out of the house, why not try doggy day care?
Following a surge in pet ownership during lockdowns, multi award-winning day care Bruce's has seen an increase in demand for its services. It has several sites across the South East of England and is rapidly growing. A new centre was opened in Tunbridge Wells at the end of 2020 and we were invited along for a taster session.
Overlooking the beautiful Kent countryside, the new site is a wonderful environment for our four-legged friends. A lot of thought has gone into its layout, with the outdoor space separated into different sections in order to peak every dog's interest.
For active pups like Paisley, there's the curiosity corner - a huge space that allows dogs to discover what makes their tail wag. There's loads of things for them to play with, from paddling pools to tunnels.
Another exciting zone is the sniffing safari. Designed for curious noses and minds, it has plenty of scents hidden in grass mounds and wood chips. Wilbur was in his element here!
For the more calm and collected canines, there's the zen garden, which features natural aromas that encourage relaxation and offer calming properties.
What to expect at day care
Dogs receive hours of expert care and off-leash fun at Bruce's. Each newbie has an individualised induction and settling in plan and is also assigned a designated carer and bus driver to ensure they receive personalised attention.
To keep everyone safe and happy, pooches are placed into fields depending on their size, personality and play style. It's totally tailored to each individual dog so, although small, Wilbur would go in with the medium-sized dogs as he likes to think he's bigger than he actually is!
A typical morning at day care starts with sensory hour. For this, the fields are prepared with plenty of enticing smells to encourage dogs to sniff. Then it's play time! Pooches can choose to chill out or play around with their best pals. After lunch, our four-legged friends enjoy enrichment and 1-2-1s then they get a quick warm wash before it's time to head home, clean and happily exhausted.
Above and beyond
What sets Bruce's apart from other doggy day care centres...
Enrichment calendar Dogs enjoy a full calendar of enriching activities at Bruce's, such as scent work and sensory activities. A new enrichment theme is introduced every week too. This January they'll be playing 'What's in the box?', using Christmas boxes to hide different sensory smells.
Bus service Owners can drop their pooches off at the centre or sign them up for bus collection from home. Available to areas of Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks, the air-conditioned doggy bus is equipped with cosy bedding and calming music. Drivers are all DBS checked and your keys are held securely so there's no need to be home. You'll even receive live pick up and drop off notifications too.
App While your dog is having the time of their life, you can follow along with the fun on the Bruce's app. You'll receive weekly photos of their antics and be able to book through it too.
Peace of mind
To ensure dogs feel settled and happy at day care, owners can bring anything they like with them, from blankets to teddies. Safety is hugely important to the Bruce's team, so there's an on-site canine first-aider as well as an on-call vet. Dogs also get a Bruce's ID tag linked to a 24 hour emergency helpline, so even if your pooch gets lost outside of day care, the team is on hand to help.
Day care prices start at £133 a month for one full day a week and just £155 for a full day with home collection.
What else is on offer
In addition to doggy day care, Bruce's offers a number of other services...
Puppy pupils can enrol in a graduation programme that will develop their social skills and nurture their journey into doghood. Owners also receive tailored expert advice and regular feedback.
For those with more irregular schedules, pooches can stay behind for some after-school fun.
Pups are able to get their nails clipped and teeth cleaned at Bruce's. Selected sites also offer a full groom.
Exclusively available to day care customers, pooches can stay with a team member at their home, giving owners peace of mind that they're happy and comfortable with someone they know. All members are fully licensed and DBS checked and owners will receive photos and updates of their stay too.
Want to give it a taster?
Bruce's Tunbridge Wells is hosting an Enrolment Open Day on Saturday 15th January. It gives you the chance to see the centre and the opportunity to speak with the team about day care for your dog. There will be plenty of off-leash outdoor fun plus tasty treats and refreshments for both two and four-legged guests!
The event is free but booking is required as spaces are limited. Find out more information about the event here and call to book your space on 01892 502803.
If you're not available on the day, you can also book a free taster session by visiting the website and filling in an enquiry form.