Dog daycare business is booming in different parts of the country as most owners prefer paying someone to watch after their pets.
The growing business offers employment opportunities to early adopters with commensurate experience and skills to care for different domestic dog breeds.
In Nairobi, daycare owners make north of Ksh19,000 per month to care for one dog. Others fetch close to Ksh190,000 depending on demand and quality of services provided.
Most daycare owners charge Ksh600 a day per dog and Ksh600 for boarding.
Walking a dog and subjecting it to professional training fetch Ksh600 a day. However, professional dog trainers demand even close to Ksh20,000 for a full-week training course.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, Rita Njoroge, who operates Pet Daycare Kenya, stated that the business is gaining pace due to families' decisions to adopt dogs as pets.
"Initially, most people only kept guard dogs but for the last two years, people have started embracing dogs as pets,"
"Dogs have become part of many families who are even willing to splash money to take good care of them," she asserted.
Pet dogs on the Kenyan markets include the Chihuahua, which costs between Ksh8,000 - Ksh20,000, Boerboel (Ksh70,000- Ksh100,000), Doberman (Ksh20,000- Ksh100,000), English Springer Spaniel Ksh20,000, Japanese Spitz (Ksh10,000) and German Shepherd (Ksh5,000 - Ksh120,000).
Large-scale daycare providers and breeders make close to Ksh1 million per month, depending on demand and quality of service.
Conditions for Admitting Dogs into Daycares Centres
Rita told Kenyans.co.ke that many operators demand registration certificates, vaccination certificates and reports of pets' behaviour.
She further insisted that aggressive dogs are not admitted into the centres due to the danger they pose to daycare providers but depending on the charges imposed, dogs are fed, trained, and groomed.
"Most daycare providers reject aggressive dogs which endanger the lives of providers.
"Daycares offer a different environment for dogs because they get to interact with other breeds and also have fun. Dogs need to play just like human beings," Rita indicated.
Factors to Consider Before Setting Up a Dog Daycare
According to a breeder based in Syokimau, competition and market rates are some of the key factors one needs to consider before setting up a dog daycare facility.
The expert further advised interested investors to select a suitable location for the daycare based on the population density of pet dogs in the area.
"Once you research what competitors are charging, you can consider what types of services you want to offer and how much you could charge. Research how many people living in your area are pet owners," he advised.
Operational expenses, including rent, utilities, supplies, marketing, insurance and license, should also be considered before starting a daycare.
Before expanding the business, it is paramount to determine the type of pets allowed at daycare. Mixing of animals would expose them to diseases.
Challenges in Running a Daycare
According to Rita, some owners dump their pets at the daycare leaving operators with huge expenses.
"Some people bring their dogs and fail to pick them leaving providers with unplanned costs," Rita stated.
Government regulations and residential rules also affect the expansion of daycares especially those located in premium estates such as Loresho, Kilimani, Lavington, Kitisuru and Kilimani.
Owners also encounter transport costs, especially where pet owners live far from the centres due to high fuel costs encountered during pick-ups and drop-offs.