Dogs. Germs. Kennel Cough. Oh My! | Wag 'N' Tails Dog Activity Center

Go the grocery store and you could catch the flu. Send your kid to camp and they could come home with a head cold from their camper buddy. Yes, send your dog for a boarding stay or a day of play and there is always the possibility that your buddy could catch a cold or a germ of some sort. As a matter of fact, dogs and humans can actually share not only affection (in addition to reducing each others’ blood pressure) but they can also share germsDon’t worry, it builds a stronger immune system!

Sometimes a sick dog is a good faker! Be sure to watch for symptoms to see if your dog has kennel cough.

When your dog isn’t feeling good watch for the symptoms so you know when a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.

This is life. We can get sick. Does that mean we don’t go to the grocery store because it’s germy? Should your kids just forget about camp this year? Does this mean the dog care center you have chosen is dirty? Eh…I doubt it. I think you would have noticed when you originally toured and decided on the best care option for your pet that it wasn’t sanitary if that were the case.

Disinfect. Repeat. Repeat again. 

Then… maybe once more.
As long as your dog’s care center has policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety and health of your pet, there is not much more that can be done. If you are at all in doubt, be sure to ask what methods are being used. Keep in mind that the more regular exposure your dog has to other dogs, the stronger their immunity will become.

Kennel Cough and the Bordetella Vaccination
Health records should be checked, verified, and updated regularly by the administration office at your dog’s care center. Keep in mind, the required inoculations really only protect against certain strains of viruses, just as with human vaccinations). For example, the bordetella vaccine is to protect dogs from acute tracheobronchitis (also known as *gasp*… KENNEL COUGH!). However, it only reduces the severity of the contracted cough if it’s caught. The vaccine is absolutely no guarantee that your pet will not catch the nasty bug. Keep in mind, this very annoying (to your pet), hacking cough is typically not serious if caught early on. Also, be sure to ask what the procedure is when the “kids” are called in sick. At Wag ‘N’ Tails we have a two dog policy rule. If two pet parents call with dogs having the same symptoms we send out parent notices. Notes are taken down from the doors and the front counter after a 14 day period of no other callers. We honestly have such a great system in place that we rarely have issues with contagions at our school outside of the norm.

Who ever named the virus Kennel Cough and why?
Why isn’t it called “Dog Park Cough?” or “Sniffed-the-fire-hydrant-with-the-neighborhood-dogs cough?” When pet parents hear “Kennel Cough” they can’t help but think their dog’s upper resporitory infection came from a kennel. Or even worse, they think the worst! Remember, tracheobronchitis comes from anywhere dogs are in close contact with other dogs. The reason it’s called kennel cough is because it’s HIGHLY contagious and can quickly spread through a kennel. At home, a pet parent loves their pup up, gives them antibiotics and babies their “baby”. At a kennel? Sometimes they have to shut down if there are enough cases. 

“Kennel cough is VERY contagious. It is named kennel cough because it can quickly spread through a kennel and infect every dog.” Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM

Nothing can be done?
Not really. Well, there is one VERY important thing you can do. No one knows your dog like you do! Watch for the symptoms at home so that you aren’t bringing a sick “kid” to school. At least human kids can complain. Moan, groan, whine perhaps. Not dogs. No way. Too tough, most of ‘em. It takes a lot for a dog to give in and admit that they have to slow down. Most, depending on their age and temperament of course, can withstand quite a bit of activity even if they are a bit under the weather. Make yourself aware.  A few aren’t really obvious, but could be signs to watch for. Dogs don’t talk – not with words. So that means we, as humans, owe it to them to be good (and most times, better) listeners!

Dogs can get sick at school. It happens. Be aware of the symptoms ahead of time. Be sure to call the school to report the illness and most likely you will able to continue socialization and training programs for your dog. If they could talk they would thank you!

Do you find it difficult to diagnose when your dog is sick as a dog? If so, leave a comment below and we will reply!

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