I firmly believe that the benefits of either boarding your dog in an open concept kennel or bring your dog for daycare far out way the risks. The mental stimulation, exercise and social skills that they get from being here are fundamental to your dog's emotional and physical well being. With that said though there are risks in bring your dog to Doggydo and it is important that you understand them and are comfortable with them before you register.
Some of the risks are:
1) Injuries - at an open concept facility the dogs are playing, rough housing and interacting with other dogs which may result in injury. Dogs are just like humans, in that they won't like everyone they meet. Sometimes they have scuffles or fights that may result in injuries like puncture wounds, scraps, cuts, etc. Although when any of the dogs are together we are supervising them, a fight can happen in an instance. If the injury is serious we take the dog to the vet, if it is not serious then we clean the wound with anti-bacterial soap and then apply polysporin. Other things can also occur like a dog may sprain their foot/leg from playing too hard or they may get goopy eyes from all the dirt in the yard. We try to let all owners know if any of these occur so that the owners can decide what the best next course of action is.
2) Weight loss - the dogs are playing between six to seven hours a day, which is usually, a lot more than they normally get so unless you request rest breaks periodically throughout the day they will probably come home slimmer especially if it is a longer stay. If your dog is losing weight we add lunch to their diets so please always bring extra food for their vacation.
3) Diseases - this is a huge one!!! A kennel is just like a school. The kids come in and they have picked up something and then all the other kids get it. Just like a school, we try very hard to keep everything sanitary and clean. We mop the floor with bleach, we scrub the kennel walls with bleach, we bleach the water bowls, we bleach the outside runs, etc., etc. however dogs may still come in, unbeknownst to their owners, with diseases, parasites, worms, etc. that are then introduced to our environment. That is why it is So important to treat your dogs with Revolution or Advantage multi before coming here and to get your dogs vaccinated regularly as it prevents them from catching anything. If we notice the signs of disease we quarantine the dog right away and don't let him/her around any of the other dogs however sometimes you can't even see the symptoms so the other dogs are at risk.
Some of the more common diseases are:
Kennel Cough - is like the doggy flu. Just like humans, dogs can be vaccinated for the flu, although you can still get the flu but hopefully the symptoms may be milder. This is exactly like kennel cough. Even though you get the vaccination for your pet for kennel cough, your dog can still get it. Signs and symptoms include coughing, sneezing, mucus and difficulty breathing. Usually the symptoms clear up in 7 to 10 days without medication however this is a decision that you and your vet should make. Kennel cough is very contagious so you can't have your dog around other dogs during this time frame.
Fleas - Vancouver Island climate means that there are fleas and lots of owners might not even recognize that fleas are on their pets, so when they bring their dogs here, unknowingly, they have added fleas to the environment. So always make sure that your pet is treated with a vet supplied Revolution or Advantage multi before coming here.
Diarrhea - this can be caused by many things including the stress of a new environment, worms or parasites that your dog picked up, food allergies, etc. If we notice that a dog has diarrhea at the kennel we quarantine the dog until it has regular movements again. We also don't feed the dog for 24 hours but allow full access to water during that time. This allows the dog’s tummy to settle and then we reintroduce small quantities of food for the next few days until they are back to normal. Sometimes we also add canned pumpkin to the food as it naturally settles tummies. We will always let you know if your dog had diarrhea so that you can keep a watch on it when they return home. If your dog has watery diarrhea or fire hose diarrhea please visit your vet as soon as possible as it may be a parasite that requires medical attention.
Parasites and Worms - dogs sniff and eat everything so they can pick up parasites or worms anywhere however when you have a lot of dogs playing together in a park, dog kennel, etc., there is an increased chance of this, so please use a vet recommended flea treatment like Advantage multi or Revolution on a monthly basis. Advantage multi for example will prevent your pet from getting round worms, mange, fleas, ticks, whipworms, lice, etc. so even if you don't use this product regularly make sure that you do before coming here as a prevention tool.
At Doggydo we try very hard to have everyone have a very healthy and happy vacation!! We clean regularly, supervise the dogs when they are together, bleach everything continuously, pick up the feces continuously, etc. however in this environment there is always going to be risks for injury, disease, weight loss and parasites. Please talk to your vet about these risks and prevention before bringing your dog to Doggydo!!!
As I bring my seven dogs to the kennel every day, I firmly believe that the benefits far out way the risks however that is a choice that I want everyone to be very comfortable with before they bring their dogs here.