Concerns about illness or injury is a big reason many people choose not to send their dogs to boarding or daycare facilities. Although this is an understandable concern, if your furry friend is current on vaccinations and you’ve done some research on a good facility, your pet should be safe. Still, like kids at school, dogs can get sick after being in a social setting. Here are some common illnesses dogs may be at risk for after visiting doggy daycare:
- Canine distemper – A contagious virus, canine distemper is usually contractor through virus particles in the air or through respiratory secretions from an infected dog. Symptoms include runny eyes and nose, fever, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe cases may see seizures and paralysis, and sadly it can be fatal.
- Prevention includes an effective vaccine, and it’s considered a core vaccine for all dogs. Reputable daycare and boarding facilities will typically require this vaccine.
- Canine influenza (Dog flu) – This virus is relatively new to dogs, and because many dogs have not ever been exposed to this virus, they will often become infected if exposed. Dog flu is spread through respiratory secretions, contaminated objects (such as feeding bowls, pet beds, and collars or leashes). The virus can live up to 48 hours on surfaces, 24 hours on clothing, and 12 hours on people’s hands. Dogs can be contagious even before showing signs of illness. Symptoms include coughing, fever, and a snotty nose—similar to kennel cough.
- Prevention comes through a vaccine, but it’s not recommended for every dog yet. Consult with your vet to see your options.
- Canine parvovirus (parvo) – A very contagious virus, parvo attacks the gastrointestinal system. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, and severe (sometimes bloody) diarrhea. It is spread through direct contact with an infected dog as well as contaminated surfaces, hands, and clothing. It can survive in the soil for years, making this virus tough to kill. Treating parvo is expensive, and it is sadly often fatal.
- Prevention includes an effective vaccine, and it’s also considered a core vaccine for all dogs. Like the distemper vaccine, most reputable facilities will require it to board your dog.
- External parasites (ticks, fleas, mange, mites, etc.) – These are fairly common issues in dogs. Ticks come from the environment, fleas come from either the environment or other dogs, mange comes from other dogs, and mites spread from dog to dog through direct contact. Fleas can sometimes transmit other issues such as tapeworms or disease.
- Prevention comes from a variety of approved products available from pet stores or vets. Consult your vet about the best options for your dog.
- Fertilizers and Pesticides – Some of these products can be toxic to dogs.
- Prevention includes being careful when you fertilize your grass or spray pesticides around your property. Discuss concerns with your boarding facility. Reputable facilities should not use these at their location unless it’s a controlled setting after hours.
Be sure to check out Part 2 of this blog series to find out more information on keeping your dog safe in social settings.