Dogs stay home for Christmas; The pandemic’s impact on pet hotels

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With many people avoiding travel this year and over Christmas break, the hotel and travel industry is taking a big hit, including pet hotels and daycares.

“Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of our biggest holidays…most time we’re really close to hitting 100 percent capacity, however, this year, our Christmas was probably 25 to 30 percent capacity so we really took a hit with nobody going anywhere,” Dog Days Hotel & Day Camp owner Nicole Schroeder said. 

Dog Days Hotel and Day Camp has seen a big drop in business since the pandemic hit.

“Without anybody going anywhere, without anybody going to work, with all the kids staying home from school when they were, there’s just not many dogs going out there,” Schroeder said. 

The drop comes just three years after doubling the size of Dog Days facility. 

“We had less dogs on Thanksgiving than we did our first year in business during covid, which is saying a lot because we more than doubled our capacity by taking over the whole building,” Schroeder said.

“December of last year we had walls going up and the framing was just getting done,” Paws Pet Resort General Manager David Hyde said.
Down the road, Paws Pet Resort was in the process of building a second 11,000 square foot facility right when the pandemic hit.

“When we first started talking about it pre-COVID, looking at it going this makes complete sense, then you’re in the midst of it, already heals deep into it, so it was like, oh boy, it was nerve wracking a little bit,” Hyde said. 

Paws Pet Resort also saw a big drop in business when the pandemic first hit, but the dogs have slowly returned, especially since opening their second building in November.

“The summer was not what it normally is, but it certainly has in the last few months increased,” Hyde said.

Both Dog Days and Paws Pet Resort were operating at capacity before the pandemic as the industry saw a lot of growth in Sioux Falls. These facilities are optimistic their businesses will continue to grow once the threat of covid-19 has passed and all of those new pandemic puppies need a place to stay.

“Everybody’s got puppy fever right now,” Hyde said. 

While doggie daycares saw some drop in numbers due to many people working from home, they have seen an increase in demand from health care providers working long shifts during the pandemic.

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