Group play? Common rooms for dogs with human furniture? Sounds good, but let’s take a closer look at what’s best for your dog when he or she’s boarding at a kennel.
It’s true the dogs are pack animals, but most likely your dog thinks it belongs to a pack of humans, not a pack of other dogs. Facilities that boast group play for all boarders or common areas where all dogs sleep together can unnecessarily stress your pet. Remember that your dog is probably anxious about separating from you. Add to this a new home for the next week or two and all these strange dogs, sounds, smells, and people. Environments like this may push your dog or others to assert their dominance by inappropriately marking territory or worse, acting aggressively. It’s not uncommon at all for dogs to break into fights during group play at boarding facilities. At Brookfield we only recommend common area housing for dogs that have been socialized frequently with other dogs at home or in dog parks and always under the supervision of an experienced kennel attendant.
Pillows, Blankets, Stuffed Chairs and Toys
It’s ironic that the best boarding facilities may appear to humans as being the most stark. As stated earlier, separation can cause anxiety in dogs that may manifest itself as chewing or ‘destroying’ toys, blankets, pillows, furniture and so forth. Dogs that chew to this extent may also swallow the things that they are chewing and can make themselves (literally) deathly ill. Be careful about a boarding facility that offers a lot of comfortable, but chewable, accessories. To you, these things may look good to lie on, but to your anxious dog, they make look good to chew on.
Most dogs prefer play time with humans over other dogs.
Concerns about disease
Dogs that board at kennels are most at risk for intestinal parasites, fleas, ticks (if there is exposure to grassy outdoors), highly contagious upper respiratory illnesses like canine influenza and kennel cough, and stress diarrhea. We’ll talk about each below:
In our area, roughly 1 out of 17 dogs test positive for a common intestinal parasite like giardia, roundworms or hookworms. When infected dogs defecate on the ground, the eggs from the parasite mix into the soil, hatch, and wait to be picked up on the paws of another unsuspecting dog. Worse these parasites can stay viable in the soil for months if not years! High volume facilities that do not regularly and properly clean up dog elimination put other boarders at risk. When selecting a facility, ask to see any common areas in which dogs are walked and allowed to eliminate. Always make sure that your pet is on it’s monthly heartworm preventative, like Interceptor Plus or the every-six month injectable that we give at Brookfield Animal Hospital, Proheart 6.
Brookfield has one of the highest incidence rates of tick borne diseases in America. It’s extremely important to protect your pet from ticks to avoid exposure to Lyme disease, erlichiosis, anaplasmosis and the Powassan virus. Products like the above mentioned Interceptor Plus are excellent tick repellants, but dogs that spend a lot of time in brushy areas benefit from the addition of a tick collar like Scalibor or Preventic. You should assume that your any dog living in Connecticut, regardless of how ‘clean’ the area appears to be, will be exposed to ticks. In our opinion, year round prevention is essential to the health of your dog and your family.
All dogs that board should be vaccinated against two highly contagious diseases: kennel cough and canine influenza, a more serious and potentially deadly upper respiratory sickness. Both of these diseases are so easily transmitted that entire boarding facilities are sometimes required to shut down to prevent further infection. Communicable diseases are another good reason to consider private housing for you pet pet when he or she boards. Also look out for well trained, experienced kennel attendants who are familiar with proper hygiene practices that limit risk of disease outbreaks.
Stress Diarrhea and Boarding in Fairfield, Connecticut
Most dogs experience some stress when placed in a new environment with new people. At Brookfield, we believe in the value of providing boarding dogs quiet, private accommodation with regular interaction with an experienced veterinary-trained kennel team member. This drastically limits the number of dogs that experience upset stomachs when boarding
Access to Emergency Care and Boarding In Danbury
Lastly, when selecting the right boarding facility, ask what happens during a pet emergency. Does the facility have a protocol in place to notify you if something goes wrong? Is there a veterinarian on hand or available evenings and weekends if your pet requires veterinary care? Brookfield prides itself on evaluating the eating, activity, and elimination habits of all boarders, every day. If there is something unusual in one of these areas, one of our veterinarians will examine your pet and treat when appropriate.
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