It is not common and does not happen often, but it is always possible for a new dog or a dog that does not come often to become ill with kennel cough or some other minor infection when there are no other sick dogs and there is no known disease in the facility. The dogs who regularly attend and are exposed to the pack often can build up an immunity to illnesses and still carry it.
Is your dog on heartworm & flea preventatives year round? Heartworm preventatives (such as Heartgard, Tri-Heart, Interceptor, Sentinel, or Advantage Multi) not only protect your dog against heart worms but also against many other kinds of internal and external parasites. If you bring your dog to doggie daycare, the dog park, or anywhere it can be around other dogs, it is a good idea to keep your dog on a heartworm preventative year round. This helps to protect your dog if it is exposed to parasites, but also helps to protect all the other dogs by assuring that your dog is not a parasite carrier. The same applies to flea preventative. If everyone is on flea preventative it helps to keep the whole pack healthy and flea-free. So make sure to give heartworm & flea preventatives to your dog monthly – for your dog’s well being as well as all the other dogs it may encounter during play time. We need your help to keep everyone healthy and safe, thanks!
On some rare occasions, the activity level at the daycare can make some dogs get sore or even sick. It is rare, but we have had a few cases of dogs that “play themselves sick.” Most dog's self-regulate their play, but some do not. Some dogs can play and play and see no ill effects. Other dogs can get run down and can get a little cold or get lethargic for a few days. We try to help dogs that don't take breaks on their own by providing them with naps and down time, but it can be a fine line between allowing dogs to have the time and space to have fun and helping them not over-extend themselves. It is not common, but it is possible for dogs to have sore feet/pads, to eat less or be lethargic after going home, or even to be tired from the stay to the point their immune system isn't as strong and they can get a cold or get sick when no one else at the daycare is sick and no disease is present. If we know ahead of time that your dog needs help regulating his activity, we can work to try to prevent these ill effects. We may also use nap times and down time to help regulate highly active dogs.
Doggie daycare can involve a much greater energy output than many dogs are used to and dogs that come to daycare can and do burn a lot more calories than they would in a normal day of relaxing at home - even if they go on a daily walk or run. This is especially noticeable in dogs that do not regularly attend daycare. For that reason, dogs can sometimes lose weight over a medium to long boarding stay. (It's kind of like starting an exercise regimen and dropping some unwanted lbs.) If we notice this happening or notice that your dog is particularly energetic, active or doesn't seem to take many breaks we will adjust their diet to try to account for this. While it is not common, there still can be some visible weight loss and this is normal for a dog experiencing such an increase in activity on an unchanged amount of calories.
It is also very important that our staff is aware of any allergies, including food allergies, that your dog might have. It is common to add soft food to meals for dogs with reduced appetite or to substitute our own food if your dog runs out of the food you brought in. It is good for us to know any special dietary considerations your dog has.
Dogs can act differently in a new environment or if they have separation stress or anxiety. Some dogs have neurotic behaviors that can result in physical harm to themselves, intentionally or otherwise. Often times the stimulation of daycare can help to curb these behaviors, but not always. We monitor dogs to keep them safe but there is always a possibility that previously unknown or unseen negative and destructive behaviors can manifest such as consuming foreign objects or rubbing a nose raw on a kennel door and not all behaviors can be seen at all times (such as consuming foreign objects). We will alert the owner to such behavior as soon as we see it as well as offer our recommendations on how to mitigate or eliminate it. If you know your dog drinks too much or too little water, consumes foreign objects, destroys and consumes bedding from anxiety, or has any other behavior quirks please notify us. If we don’t know we can’t prevent them!
We reserve the right to make the decisions we think are best for the health and safety of your dog.
We work very hard to provide a safe environment for dogs. Injuries are not at all common but they are always possible. We screen dogs that come here, monitor the packs constantly, read behavior and energy levels, anticipate problems, and do our best to mitigate problems and always set the dogs up for success. But just like children on a playground there is an ever-present risk of injury in doggie daycare. Whether it is a broken toe nail, a torn pad, a cut, scrape, or injury from a full speed tumble or collision or an injury from a brief spat with a playmate, it is always possible a dog can get injured. If an injury happens we will always assess the situation and make an attempt to contact the owner. If we are not able to contact the owner we will make decisions for the health of the dog as if it was our own.