FAQ’s About Daycare and Boarding
What are the benefits of daycare?
My dog has all their vaccinations so they are not at risk for any illness.
Kennel cough is a fairly common ailment in dogs. People tend to associate it with dogs who either are being or recently have been boarded (or “kenneled”). But your dog need not be boarded to catch kennel cough. Kennel cough is caused by an airborne virus, which is highly contagious. Any time your dog is in the vicinity of an infected dog, the potential exists for infection. The incubation period is about 8-10 days, meaning your dog will not display symptoms of illness for about 8-10 days following exposure to the virus. Having a strong immune system is best way to avoid coming down with symptoms if/when your dog is exposed to the virus. This is why not every dog in the kennel (or house) will get it if there is an outbreak.
Although there is a vaccine (Bordatella) for Kennel Cough, it is often not effective in preventing infection. The most likely explanation for this is that there are many strains and mutations of the virus out there. Therefore, it is hit or miss whether the vaccine used on your dog will be the right one for the strain with which your dog comes into contact. This is similar to the “flu shot” for people; each year a vaccine is developed based on which strain(s) are suspected to be most prevalent. Be aware that your dog can still catch Kennel Cough even if s/he has had a shot to prevent it.
The usual symptoms of Kennel Cough include a dry, “non-productive” cough. The dog sounds as if there is something stuck or caught in the throat and the coughing is an unsuccessful attempt to dislodge the object. Sometimes the coughing/gagging seems very violent. The episodes of coughing may go on for minutes at a time and then be repeated at intervals. Of course you will want to check your dog and make certain that there isn’t anything actually stuck in the throat! One way you can “test” for Kennel Cough is to press the throat gently, right in the collar area. If the dog has Kennel Cough, this will probably trigger some coughing.
If your dog does develop Kennel Cough symptoms, don’t panic! The way this illness operates is similar to the common cold that we humans sometimes catch; simply put: it must run its course. There is no magic pill or cure, but there are many ways to treat and ease the symptoms. Antibiotics are NOT indicated (although they are routinely prescribed and used) because this is a virus, not a bacteria. Antibiotic use is actually thought to slow the healing process. Kennel cough generally will be gone in two weeks time or less, with or without antibiotics (but probably faster without).
My dog didn’t eat all their food while boarding, is something wrong?
We encourage all parents to bring their dog’s current food so there are no upset tummies from switching or allergy issues. Some dogs get stressed in a boarding environment and their appetite will decrease, this is normal. We encourage dogs to eat at least half of their food each meal while boarding through several techniques: Hand feeding, adding water, adding chicken broth, or adding wet food. If the dog still isn’t eating, we will inform the parent and proceed with medical advice.
My dog came home with scratches, were they in a fight?
Every dog in daycare is required to pass the behavioral evaluation, but that doesn’t mean that all dogs are going to get along with each other. If certain dogs don’t get along, we will separate them immediately so there is not an issue. Dogs play with their teeth, so it is inevitable that they will come home with minor scratches or cuts on occasion. We monitor play and discourage any play that is too intense where a dog may become injured.