Doggy Day Camp: Trend Or Here To Stay?

There's a growing trend among dog owners in the US, doggy day camp. More and more pet owners are putting Fluffy or Fido in day...


There’s a growing trend among dog owners in the US, doggy day camp. More and more pet owners are putting Fluffy or Fido in day camp to keep them from being lonely during the day when no one is around. Only five years ago you would have been hard pressed to find one of these camps, now it’ turning into a booming industry.

“It’s a recent phenomenon, and it’s grown so quickly that we’re just beginning to track it,” said Joe Lyman, chief executive officer of Pet Care Services Association, formerly known as the American Boarding Kennel Association in Colorado Springs, Colo. The recent name change came about because even the term “kennel” has gone out of fashion. More pet owners seek lodging that comes with more amenities.

Going to camp doesn’t come cheap, with an average price of $25 a day or $40 for an overnight stay. Statistics show more people are putting off having children which may lead to an increased amount of spending on their dogs. Or, are more people treating their dogs like children?

Amy Popp, 31, lives in Warren but works in Novi as a marketing expert, and she worries that her four-legged children will be bored or lonely without her. She admits the camps might sound overly indulgent. She also uses a webcam the camp provides to keep an eye on her dogs during the day, when she is at her desk.

“Before I got my first dog, I would have said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” she said. But in the three years she has been using Camp Bow Wow, first in Troy and now in Commerce, “I have never second-guessed my decision. They will be coming here as long as they are able.”

Perhaps the reason behind the trend is simply that people love their dogs and consider them part of the family. I know that’s how Lisa and I feel about Bo, Copper, and Logan.

Outside Detroit, MI in the Commerce Township camp Bow Wow opened in late July and is the second facility for owners Ann and Bob Roth; they also operate Camp Bow Wow in Troy, where as many as 40 or 50 dogs come to play each day.

“We have a lot of dual-income families, with people working longer hours in this economy,” said Ann Roth, as 15-year-old Nick, a long-haired dachshund, followed her about the main office. He is a “special needs” dog because of his age so he’s been given the run of the office. “People love their dogs, and they see them as part of the family and want to treat them that way.”

What do you think of doggy day camp, is it a trend or here to stay? If you’ve sent your dog to camp we’d love to hear about your experience. Give me a bark back.

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