Home Daycares and Pets

pets and daycares.jpg

I’ve had several questions lately from readers who are interested in opening up their own home daycares but they currently own a pet.  Is the pet going to seriously reduce their chances of finding daycare clients? The answer is yes and no because it really depends on the pet.

Many people are not comfortable with the thought of toddlers and large dogs sharing the same space. I agree with this opinion.  Children need to be taught how to interact gently and respectively with animals. Pets need to be non-aggressive and extremely tolerant to co-exist in a house full of children.

I had two large dogs when I first opened up my home daycare.  They were both friendly and extremely well behaved.  I did agility classes with them.  You might have seen super dog shows where the dogs are directed through obstacle courses using hand and voice commands from their owners?

It was lots of fun and built a strong bond between us.  Therefore, when I opened my home daycare giving away the dogs was not an option for us.  The problem was, they were large scary looking dogs, even if they happened to be sweet and well behaved.  Take a look.

129_16085315566_8507_nMy daughter and her faithful park walking companion.

teeg watermelon.jpgShe also had a devoted crumb collector companion.

I’m a dog lover and I would not have felt comfortable leaving my daughter with someone who had my two big dogs.  The decision I made was to organize our home so that the dogs were separated from the children during daycare hours. I had great trust in my dog’s behaviour around children but realized that it would take a long time for an unfamiliar family to trust them.

It also takes time for a child to understand how to pat a dog gently, speak in a calm voice and be careful with the dog’s eyes and tails. Organizing our living space was the best solution in our case.  We divided the back yard with fencing so that the dogs had their own area that was separated from the children’s play area.

The dog’s food and water dishes were moved out of the kitchen to a room not used in the day care.  The dogs spent their daycare hours in a different part of the house and outside while the children were here. This worked well for us. One dog has passed now from old age but we still have the younger one.

Many of my daycare children came from homes who had pets and therefore the parents did not express concern about our dog ownership.  Obviously, I’ve never been able to enroll a child who suffered from pet allergies because even though the vacuum is my best friend, allergies are another story.


I know many home daycare providers who have dogs, cats, birds and even chinchillas!  Pets and children can co-exist in the same house with the right combination of supervision and respect.  Some parents are not comfortable leaving their child in a home with pets but many parents are o.k. with this scenario.

Most children love pets and learning how to interact with an animal is a useful life skill.  If you happen to have a beloved cat or dog and are unsure about opening up a home daycare, don’t worry, many of us have pets and it works out well.

Good luck with your four legged and two legged friends!


  1. K from London ON says

    We had a wonderful 6 year old labradoodle when I started daycare. She did not like the noise of the children and their toys on the hardwood floors. She wanted to go down stairs to be alone and climbed into her crate. After a while we started to feel very sad that she didn’t have a quality life hiding down there for my long work day. We posted an ad for her to find a new home and she went to a family who owned a flower shop and took her to work. Customers would visit just to see her and staff took her to the park on their breaks. She had a much happier, social life with them.
    One thing to consider is the stress it brings an already stressful job. If your dog barks every time a neighbor slams the door and wakes up the napping children your frustration sky rockets.
    Also the front door opening and closing with kids and parents coming could cause your chihuahua to fly out the front door into traffic. Or daycare kids hurting, dropping your little friend. You have no time with a daycare to take them to the vet and its your $$$$ bill not the parents of the child who hurt the dog. You can’t afford $600 worth of tests on our wages.
    Most of my daycare families had dogs and didn’t mind that we did. One child did develop severe allergies and had to remove pets from his own home. He would have had to leave us if we hadn’t rehomed our dog already by then.
    Now we have hamsters…….sigh……but dogs are way cooler pets.

    • HowToDaycare says

      Yes, you bring up a good point about the stress involved with caring for a pet AND all your daycare children. Barking dogs and napping babies don’t mix. It sounds like you made the best choice of a difficult situation. At least hamsters don’t shed like dogs do. 🙂

  2. It is true that young children love pets and they want to play with them but if you are a owner of a home daycare and you are having pets in your home then you should try that our pets keeps a distance with children as the young children can tease your pet which can make them angry and they might hurt children.

  3. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found
    a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and
    said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed thee shell to
    her earr and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and iit
    pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally
    off topic but I had to tell someone!

  4. I’m glad I stopped by this site and read this. I was concerned about having a pet but I remember growing up with pets and never thought twice. I feel in this day in age a dog is also good security and a comfort the the kids, teaching them responsibilities (petting the animal accordingly) and such.

  5. Hello,

    I really appreciate all the valuable information on your website. I just have a couple questions about how having two large dogs affected your insurance. Was it hard finding a company that would insure you while having large dogs, and more specifically a German shepherd? Was the cost of the insurance drastically more expensive because of the dogs? I also have two large dogs and one of them is a German shepherd so I am all too familiar with people categorizing her as an “aggressive breed” regardless of how gentle and friendly she is. Any answers you have would be greatly appreciated 🙂 thanks

    • HowToDaycare says

      Hello Stephanie,
      I did have to go with an insurance company that was more expensive when I first opened but it was more because we had a backyard pool rather than the dogs. We have since taken out the pool and sadly my two dogs have both passed of old age now. I thought having the dogs would be a big problem in finding clients but it wasn’t as big of a hurdle as I feared. Shop around and see what each insurance company is willing to offer you. I agree with you, German Shepherds can be so sweet and gentle. I liked the fact that people thought my big softie of a dog looked fierce, her presence made me feel safe at home alone with all my little kids. I predict you will be able to find insurance even with your two dogs at home. Now that my two dogs have passed I wouldn’t give up the extra time I had with them at home for their last eight years. It was worth every extra penny in insurance to be home with my human children and my four legged furry babies!

  6. This is very interesting and worth the time.