Leaving your dog behind when you go on vacation is hard enough, but do you need to worry about dog boarding making your pup sick? In a perfect world, your dog would come with you or be left with friends or family when you travel, but sometimes taking your dog to a boarding facility is the best option.
Whether you’re talking about dogs or people, being near others can increase the odds of getting sick, but you don’t need to be too worried about your pup when you have to board them. Let’s talk about dog boarding and its risks.
Dogs Are Required To Be Vaccinated
All dog boarding facilities require dogs to be current on some vaccinations. Usually, boarding facilities require rabies, Bordetella (kennel cough), and Distemper/Parvo (DHLPP). Other facilities might encourage or require other vaccinations, such as canine influenza.
Since owners are required to show proof that their dogs are current on their vaccinations before boarding, the risk of serious diseases making their way around the kennel and making your dog sick are low, especially since your dog needs to be vaccinated as well. Tell your vet you are planning on boarding your dog and ask if he recommends any optional vaccinations to keep your pup safe.
Dogs Should Be Treated For Fleas And Ticks
Most boarding facilities will require dogs to be on a flea and tick preventative before arriving. They will at least check dogs for parasites during the check-in process. Even if you don’t usually keep your dog on a flea and tick preventative, you’ll want to do it while boarding your dog to avoid the chance of bringing home unwanted passengers.
Good Boarding Facilities Disinfect Everything Daily
Since bacteria and other germs can linger on surfaces, good cleaning and disinfecting practices are crucial for preventing the spread of diseases in boarding facilities. Boarding facilities should disinfect every kennel and play area at least once a day to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases. When you visit a boarding facility, it should smell clean.
Ask how often the facility cleans and disinfects each area and how frequently waste is picked up and disposed of. The cleaner the facility, the less likely it is your dog will get sick while being boarded.
Being In Contact With Other Dogs Can Lead To The Spread Of Infection
The biggest risk with dog boarding is when dogs from different families interact with each other in doggy daycare playtime situations. Not only is there the risk of slobber or feces transferring diseases from one dog to the next, but there is always the chance that dogs could get into fights. Dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths, and dog bites tend to become infected.
If your dog loves playing with others, has enormous amounts of energy, or would be miserable being cooped up in a kennel all day, playtime with other dogs may be worth the risk of catching an illness. Otherwise, opt for individual playtime for your pup rather than group playtimes.
The Most Common “Illness” Dogs Experience After Boarding Is Stress Diarrhea
Your dog wants to be with you all the time, so being stuck in a boarding facility for days or weeks can be extremely stressful. If you’ve ever felt the need to run to the restroom during a tense moment, you can appreciate how your dog feels being left in a strange place with no idea when or if you will come back.
Not only can stress cause diarrhea, but being around other dogs in a boarding facility can make dogs prone to corona-virus, a diarrhea-causing illness. Stress diarrhea is the greatest risk when boarding your dog. Unless your dog is very young or very old, stress diarrhea won’t cause serious complications for your dog and should clear up within a few days.
Preventing And Treating Stress Diarrhea
While many dogs come out of boarding situations with stress diarrhea, there are some things you can do to help prevent and treat it.
-Bring food. Switching food abruptly can upset your dog’s digestive tract. Even though many boarding facilities provide food, ask if you can bring your dog’s regular diet during their stay. Not only will this be gentler on your dog’s stomach, but it’s one more pleasant reminder of home and one less jarring change to their routine.
-Leave them at the facility for a night once or twice before you leave. When you leave your dog at a boarding facility, they may not understand that you are coming back for them. Leave them overnight once or twice before you leave on a long trip, so your dog learns that you will be coming back. This also gives you a real look at how the facility will handle your dog during your absence.
-Bring your dog’s favorite toys or blankets. Ask the boarding facility if you’re allowed to send your dog with their favorite toys, blankets, or anything else to remind them of home. Having familiar items from home may help reduce your dog’s stress. Keep in mind that if a facility has special rules about what items are allowed, they have good reasons.
-Keep your goodbye calm and simple. If you are anxious about leaving your dog, he’ll pick up on your anxiety and become anxious. If you remain calm, your dog is less likely to become stressed over your separation.
-Feed your dog canned pumpkin when you bring them home. Canned pumpkin (100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling) is high in fiber and can help solidify stools. If your dog has a simple case of stress diarrhea, pumpkin can help clear it up within a couple of days without a trip to the vet.
-Feed a bland diet for a couple of days. If your dog does suffer from stress diarrhea, feeding a bland diet like boiled chicken and rice can help your dog’s intestines rest and recover.
-Don’t make a big deal about bringing your dog back home. Making a big fuss over your dog when you’re reunited reinforces to your dog that boarding them was a tragedy that should be avoided rather than just another part of life. To make future boarding simpler, limit your reactions.
The Bottom Line
While being around other dogs at a boarding facility will always have an element of risk, reputable boarding facilities will do all they can to ensure every dog in their facility stays healthy and happy. You may expect your dog to have stress diarrhea for a couple of days when you bring him home, but he shouldn’t experience any long-term effects from being boarded while you’re away from home.
How All Star Pet Resort Prevents Pets Getting Sick During Dog Boarding
One way that All Star Pet Resort prevents dogs from getting sick is by not allowing dogs from different families to interact with each other. Without a group playtime, there is less risk of dogs passing infections between each other. Each dog gets their own indoor and outdoor run so that they can decide where to spend their time.
All Star Pet Resort also takes great pride in disinfecting every kennel and play area daily to help minimize the risk of infection. While there are no guarantees, we do everything possible to keep your pup happy, healthy, and safe while you’re away.
Book An Appointment Today! Call us at (310) 320-8799 or click here to book your pup’s next stay with us. Holiday appointments book up quickly, so book now to ensure your pet gets the chance to stay with us while you travel!