The Value of Outdoor Play for Dogs

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At Pet Camp, we think it’s important for dogs to play outside. We know that there are lots of doggie day care facilities that are all indoors, and we think we know a big reason why. In San Francisco and maybe in other places, real estate is so expensive. Finding a place that has outdoor space is so difficult that these doggie day care and pet boarding facilities simply have no viable option to get outdoor play space. If you’re considering a pet care facility that is all indoors, we encourage you to ask about how the indoor play space is cleaned, how much airflow is provided, and of course, about the surface of the play space. Here’s why.

We’ve visited some dog care facilities (both in San Francisco and beyond) where the indoor play space is just a concrete floor in a room or warehouse. To simulate outdoor play space, their floors are painted green, the ceilings are painted blue, and a fake fire hydrant is placed in the middle. None of my dogs have ever been rocket scientists, but even they know that green concrete and a blue ceiling does not make indoor space an outdoor space.

Some indoor only facilities had added artificial turf to make their space more outdoorsy. We get that, and some of these facilities did an amazing job. They added floor drains beneath the turf, elevated the turf above the floor, and installed flush mechanisms below the turf so when they rinse the turf any residual urine or feces is flushed through the turf and then flushed out of the building via the floor drains. But sadly, most indoor play areas are not so designed or equipped, and the lack of proper cleaning and disinfecting capabilities coupled with the lack of air flow and sunlight (the best disinfectant there is), means you end up with a play area that isn’t clean and often smells.

Compare this with an outdoor play area. Just like human kids, dogs need to get outside in the fresh air and sunshine and play. Outdoor play areas, of course, have lots of fresh air and sunshine (even in foggy San Francisco). Add that most outdoor play areas are designed with either natural drainage (i.e., they are built right on top of the ground) or have drainage added and you get play space that is clean and healthy for your dog. Sure, there are some downsides of outdoor play areas; your dog might get wet from playing in the rain or a bit dirty. But at least at Pet Camp, we’ve got plenty of towels and can always give your dog a quick rinse and dry before going home.

Just think about it. Where would you rather hang out with your friends standing around on a concrete slab in some building, or outside at the park in the fresh air and sunshine? We think the popularity of Fort Funston, Crissy Field and Dolores Park makes it pretty clear the type of play environment your best friend wants. Choose Pet Camp for your next San Francisco dog boarding stay for the best pet care!