Complicated meals are not uncommon here, but just tell us the details and we’ll let you know if it’s do-able. Medications are not a problem, but fragile dogs with life threatening conditions should probably not be in a cagefree environment.
The following are the most common contagious conditions that occur in dog daycare when a dog is first beginning to attend regularly. We like to compare these conditions to the chicken poxes and colds of our childhoods. Please note that what we say here is only our opinion and that you should always seek veterinary attention when you are unsure about something.
Commonly affects young or undersocialized dogs. For undersocialized dogs, they usually just need a little help and time to build their underused immune system up. For young dogs, typically under 2-3 years of age, the rate of growth combined with training/exercise/socialization by dedicated owners, plus spay/neuter surgeries, vaccination schedules, etc, makes them temporarily vulnerable to many conditions, including Giardia. Giardia is a protazoal parasite transmitted easily from dog to dog and especially in situations with standing water. Many adult, socialized, healthy dogs carry asymptomatic Giardia since experiencing the symptoms as a puppy and may occasionally still have flare-ups during times of stress or other burden to the immune system. Young dogs or other dogs who are first infected, may need help to overcome it. Symptoms are anorexia, vomiting, and loose stool. We feel that Panacur is the safest and most effective treatment for this condition and highly recommend talking to your vet about it. Do your research on Flagyl aka Metronidazole, another commonly prescribed treatment to decide if you are comfortable with it before using it! Good quality probiotics can also help enormously with any loose stool condition.
Commonly affects young or undersocialized dogs. For undersocialized dogs, they usually just need a little help and time to build their underused immune system up. For young dogs, typically under 2-3 years of age, the rate of growth combined with training/exercise/socialization by dedicated owners, plus spay/neuter surgeries, vaccination schedules, etc, makes them temporarily vulnerable to many conditions, including kennel cough. Symptoms include the trademark deep, chest cough and green or yellow eye and/or nasal discharge. If that is the extent of your dog’s symptoms, don’t be fooled! Your dog still needs to rest to prevent it from developing further, despite what her energy levels seem to tell you. Check with your vet to make sure it is not pneumonia or bronchitis. If you should see anorexia, lethargy, or vomiting, call your vet immediately. In most cases, dogs have normal energy and appetite, but they still must not return to daycare until symptoms have disappeared. Kennel cough has many causes, which is why Dr. Ronald Schultz, a highly regarded vaccination scientists has stated, “Kennel cough is not a vaccine preventable disease.”
Mange is caused by tiny mites that live on all dogs. They get passed to puppies from their mothers and as the puppy grows, the mites sometimes take advantage of their immature immune systems and overpopulate. It is actually not something that a dog catches at daycare, but it becomes evident when pups first begin attending because they are exercising and getting tired. When you notice bald spots appearing on your dog, usually on the head or front legs (but can be anywhere), take them to the vet immediately to test for which kind of mange it is. Demodectic mange aka puppy mange is noncontagious to humans, but sarcoptic mange aka scabies is easily transmittable to humans. Puppy mange is self-limiting. It requires that you feed your dog a healthy, carb-free diet, give them plenty of rest, and allow them time to get bigger and stronger. Keep an eye on the mange to make sure it is not taking over your dog’s system, but in general, allowing your dog to overcome it on their own will give them a stronger immune system. We like to treat puppy mange with careful monitoring plus extra virgin coconut oil to smother the mites, to moisturize the skin which can become itchy and dry and red, and for its anti-fungal properties to get rid of the yeast in a dog’s system that is feeding the mites.
Commonly affects young or immunosuppressed dogs. For immunosuppressed dogs, if this is a permanent condition, they should not attend daycare, as they are too vulnerable to be in such an environment. If it is due to steroid treatment, etc, you may need to exercise caution and speak to your vet about a different option for treatment. For young dogs, typically under 2-3 years of age, the rate of growth combined with training/exercise/socialization by dedicated owners, plus spay/neuter surgeries, vaccination schedules, etc, makes them temporarily vulnerable to many conditions, including warts. They display as cauliflower like projections on lips, interior cheeks, and under the tongue. They grow, and then fall off after several weeks and typically do not return after that. Check to see if they obstruct breathing or eating. Sometimes warts appear in other places like feet because dogs can pass warts around just like kids can.
Our only breed restriction applies to wolves and wolf hybrids. Because pit bulls have been so widely bred, there are many who do not follow the breed prototype of dog aggression. Similar to the way that some popular breeds with a positive reputation can have individual dogs who are aggressive. We absolutely believe in evaluating each dog as an individual. Except for wolf hybrids, because we are not wolf daycare, although that sounds fun.
As social pack animals, most dogs do not want to injure or harm each other unless they feel threatened. However, we screen those occasional dogs who specifically carry an antisocial personality trait that causes them to be dog aggressive by introducing them to one of our resident working dogs designated as a temperament tester, in a safe and controlled manner. This way we can examine each dog’s behavior and reactions for aggression around other dogs, without putting customer dogs at risk. We define aggression as “the desire or intent to do physical damage to another dog or a human.” Therefore, we count all interactions between the dogs that are accepted into our daycare as communication. Just because you see some teeth or hear a growl does not necessarily mean someone is being aggressive, it’s just how dogs communicate with each other. Because we are skilled in reading dog body language, we can help dogs that may have a squabble to reach an understanding with each other long before any harm is done. Typically, this happens between young or undersocialized dogs who are still developing.
Dogs are physical creatures and use all parts of their bodies to communicate and socialize and play. Even friendly play can leave nicks and scratches. If ever there is a serious injury incurred, we will let you know immediately. If you should ever feel uncomfortable with the condition your dog arrives home in, please let us know immediately so we can address it.
Then daycare can be a place for them to be exposed to those people they are biased against, while in a safe and familiar environment. Not only that, but many dogs develop these biases because of uncomfortable interactions with well-meaning, but non-dog-savvy people, and by interacting with our experienced staff, they can re-learn to trust those they were once suspicious of. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s a possibility. Many dogs that are suspicious of strangers have a great time with us here because we become like family to them.
We do not accept dog-aggressive dogs into our program. We do however perform evaluations on any dog whose owner requests it and what we find may surprise you. Many dogs who display aggressive tendencies while on leash or with their owners can sometimes show completely different behavior outside of that situation. We define “aggression” as the desire to do physical damage to another dog or person, so we trust owners to let us know the background and tendencies of each new dog as much as possible and we will take it from there.
We will contact you first and if you are not available, we will notify your emergency contact. Then, we will take your dog to get immediate veterinary attention as needed. We typically use Market Street Veterinary Clinic or another local emergency hospital, but can use any vet of your choice if you have a specific need. All vet bills incurred are the responsibility of the owner.
Eating poop is not an unnatural behavior. Dogs especially like the poop of other animals, like cats, horses, and cows. Many of you who share your homes with cats probably also have some stories about your dog looking for treats in the litter box. Our cute dogs have evolved as opportunistic scavengers, so if something on the ground smells like food to them, many of them will decide to try it out. We work very hard to prevent this from happening and to teach dogs that it is unacceptable behavior. We have noticed that there are some dogs who are dedicated poop seekers, and some dogs are offended by the very idea. But sometimes, the poop of a certain dog will have some kind of magical quality and EVERYONE will decide it’s the equivalent of a roast turkey on a silver platter. Our best guess? The preservatives, artificial flavorings, or undigested ingredients of processed foods, like kibble, remain present in their poops and disguise them as food and smell very appetizing to the dogs. We can even identify a dog’s diet by the odor of their poop or the reaction of other dogs to it. If all dogs consumed a biologically appropriate diet of fresh, unprocessed, easy to digest foods, I think this would not be such a common issue, but with modern times, come modern problems. Like poop eating.
Depending on each dog’s play style, some will go home as clean as when they arrived and some will go home with dirty pawprints, dried up drool, and someone’s else’s hair all over them. Possibly even soaking wet paws because they tried to go for a swim in the water bowls. However, we do try to clean up those enthusiastic attendees as much as possible before sending them home. Occasionally, something strange will happen, like a big macho male dog lifting his leg on his favorite female or a silly puppy who jumped on his best friend who was mid-poop, in which case we will bathe the victims of those extreme encounters. Hey, these are dogs, weird things happen! But seriously, if you are ever unhappy with the cleanliness of your dog, please let us know, and we will make sure to address it.
Indoor daycare is not the same as the inside of your home. It’s an entirely different environment and amazingly, most dogs learn that very quickly. They consider our indoor play space to be an indoor dog park. We have personally raised many dogs from puppyhood while attending indoor daycare and have not had issues with them learning the difference during house training.