What is Canine Influenza and Kennel Cough?

Your dog is at an increased risk of catching communicable canine ailments when socializing with other dogs. We are diligent in minimizing health and safety risks, but it’s important for clients to understand some of the inherent risks. Both Canine Influenza and Kennel Cough are contagious upper respiratory infections in dogs. Canine Influenza is caused by one specific virus and Kennel Cough is a term used to describe multiple viruses or bacterial infections. Both may occur at higher rates in places that dogs frequent, including dog parks, dog daycares, kennels, and veterinary offices. They are both highly contagious and spread much the same way the human cold or flu spreads. It is important to remember that dogs can be contagious even if they are not showing any clinical signs of being sick which is one of the reasons these diseases can spread so quickly.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can vary, but are typically characterized by either a dry or wet cough, nasal discharge, listlessness, or sometimes a fever.

What are the treatments?

Canine Influenza is a virus and many strains of Kennel Cough are also viruses. There is no “cure” for a virus. Your veterinarian may choose to let the virus run its course or may suspect that the symptoms are caused by a bacterial infection and may prescribe antibiotics. Many veterinarians do put dogs on antibiotics even when they suspect a virus is the cause, to help protect against secondary infections including pneumonia. Additionally, cough tabs, nebulizer treatments, and fluids may be given depending on the dog’s symptoms.

How are they transmitted?

They are transmitted by coming into contact with an infected dog’s body secretions, whether it is through direct contact or indirect contact such as collars, leashes, water bowls, etc.

Are there vaccines and will they prevent my dog from getting sick?

There are two separate vaccinations that may reduce the severity of the symptoms and the time your dog has symptoms, but they do not prevent your dog from getting sick. The Kennel Cough vaccination, which is required at Doggie Doo's is either given every 6 months or once a year depending on your veterinarian.  Canine Influenza vaccination initially is givin in two separate doses two weeks a apart (your dog will need a booster approximately two weeks after the first vaccination)

Does Doggie Doo's require these vaccines?

Doggie Doo's does require the Kennel Cough (Bordetella) vaccination and we recommend talking with your veterinarian about the Canine Influenza vaccination because research shows that while it does not prevent infection, it does reduce the severity of the disease.

What does Doggie Doo's do to reduce the likelihood of my dog getting sick?

We treat all health issues at Doggie Doo's very seriously and want to assure you we are doing all we can to take preventative measures including requiring the Bordetella vaccination, encouraging the Canine Influenza vaccination, adhering to the highest standards of cleaning and disinfecting, and isolating any known infected dogs immediately. Unfortunately, both diseases are so highly contagious that no amount of supervision, sanitation, or personal care can guarantee complete prevention of Canine Influenza or Kennel Cough.

What can I do to help the spread of disease?

Keep in mind that Canine Influenza and Kennel Cough are much like the human flu or cold and spread much the same way. Talk to your veterinarian and keep your dog current on all recommended vaccinations. Keep your dog out of daycare and other social situations for at least 10 days if you have reason to believe your dog was exposed to either Canine Influenza or Kennel Cough. Most importantly, remember you know your dog the best so if you suspect your dog might be “a little under the weather” keep your dog out of social situations as your dog is likely to be contagious even if your dog is not coughing or showing other obvious clinical signs of being sick. Please alert Doggie Doo's if your dog shows any symptoms or if you suspect your dog is sick.

Kennel Cough - Simplified in human terms

You visit a daycare center for your child and find it to be clean, well run, safe…and your child is happy there. Enter another child who happens to be coming down with a cold. This child coughs and sneezes near your child and the particles containing the virus or bacteria move through the air, and are inhaled by your child. Nothing humanly possible can stop the spread of this cold unless one of two things happen. First, the child showing signs of the cold is kept home, away from other children. Or, the child is heard to sneeze or cough by a daycare staff member and is immediately put into isolation, away from other children. Substitute the word “dog” for “child” in the above paragraph and you have the kennel cough scenario. Kennel cough is here to stay, and the Bordetella vaccine…although helpful…does not prevent all types of this bacteria strain. At Doggie Doo's, we take cleanliness and hygiene very seriously, but it does not mean your dog will not get kennel cough at Doggie Doo's, or any other canine facility. Dogs showing signs of illness are not permitted to enter our facilities, however, a dog may be harboring the virus without showing any symptoms.

Do dogs get sick like kids get sick?

Kennel Cough is an ailment that is common among dogs. Due to its name, people tend to associate it with kennels or boarding facilities. In actuality, your dog does not need to be kenneled or boarded to catch Kennel Cough. It is caused by an airborne virus, which is highly contagious. Any time your dog is in the vicinity of an infected dog (on a walk, at a dog park, or even the Vet’s office) the potential for infection exists. Some dogs are simply carriers and don’t display any signs of the virus, yet they can still transmit the illness. The incubation period is about 8-10 days, so more than a week can pass after your dog has been exposed to the virus before they start to show any signs of illness. As well, dogs that are socialized regularly tend to be less likely to catch the virus, as they usually have developed immunity to most pack-transmitted illnesses. This is why not every dog in a boarding facility will catch the ailment if there is an outbreak. Although there is a vaccine (Bordetella) for Kennel Cough, it is often not effective in preventing all strains of Kennel Cough. This is because there exists many mutations of the virus that are ever evolving, so it is impossible to determine whether the vaccine your dog receives will be the right one for the specific strain they have been exposed to. This is very similar to the “flu shot” for people; each year a vaccine is developed based on the most prevalent strains. And likewise, just because one gets the flu shot, does not mean they are safe from that year’s strain of flu. If your dog is in contact with other dogs, or near an area where dogs frequent, it is very possible that your dog will inevitably encounter the virus within their lifetime. Not to worry! Kennel Cough is simply the dog version of a common cold. For most dogs, once they catch it, they become immune to most strains and are unlikely to catch the cold again. In nearly all cases, Kennel Cough will run its course (within 2 weeks of the first sign of illness) without medication. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent any further illness while the immune system is down. Parents of extremely old, young, and sick dogs should take extra precaution because of their delicate immune systems, and limit their exposure to dogs in general. Reputable boarding facilities will require the Bordetella vaccine to be given every 6 months in order to cover a broader spectrum of the potential strains. For more information, always contact your veterinarian.

What other ailments can my dog possibly catch?

Giardia and coccidia are intestinal parasites that may cause diarrhea or vomiting. Dogs can get these parasites from contact with the feces of infected animals (domestic or wild) or from contact with contaminated standing water. The parasites can be spread at daycare when dogs inspect each other’s rear ends or if they have direct contact with other dogs' poop. Giardia can cause severe dehydration which further weakens your dog’s ability to fight the parasite. If your dog has vomiting and diarrhea, take him to your veterinarian’s office immediately. Coccidia causes similar, but less severe, symptoms. Most dogs recover quickly with prompt medical attention. Dogs can get worms (roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, etc) in the same way they can get giardia or coccidia. Doggie Doo's is diligent about quickly cleaning dog waste and if we see that a dog has worms, we will isolate the dog and contact the client to let them know. Once de-wormed, a dog should stay home for at least a week to give the dead parasites time to work their way out of the dog’s system. If your pooch seems to be a bit under the weather, please keep him home and seek veterinary attention if symptoms persist. It is not fair to expose your dog’s playmates to potential health issues. Injuries can also sometimes occur at daycare. Any open play with a group of dogs can be a very active and interactive environment for your dog. Many of our dogs enjoy rough and tumble play; although we do break up play that gets too rough, the dogs can get pretty rambunctious. Dogs use their teeth like we use our hands; they grab each other by the neck and nibble, run, and play with one another. Minor injuries such as nicks, cuts, scrapes, missing hair and strained muscles do happen. Additionally, dogs do have disagreements from time to time, and fighting is a possibility. The staff is trained to break up any dog fights that may occur. We believe the benefits of dog daycare far surpass the possible risks. We are diligent about quickly cleaning up dog waste and we sanitize our facility daily. We are quick to interrupt inappropriate social behavior and overly rough play. However, please be aware that your dog is at an increased risk of catching contagious canine illnesses and getting minor injuries when socializing with other dogs. This is a risk you must be willing to accept if you want your dog to play in this environment. Doggie Doo's has a strict supervision policy, and your dog will always be in the company of one of our trained employees. However, there could be fights among the dogs in any play environment like this. The staff is trained to anticipate a problem and break up a serious fight quickly. If your dog causes an injury to another dog or staff, you are financially responsible for that injury. If there was no incident and your dog was injured during play, you are financially responsible for that injury. If a serious injury or emergency occurs, we will rush your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital. We will call you immediately if your dog is sick or injured, and if your dog is sick, please keep them home.

What if my dog needs to see a veterinarian?

Doggie Doo's staff are always on their toes looking out for changes in behavior. If need be, the owner is contacted immediately, and the pet is either taken to his/ her own vet our to the veterinarian of our choice at the owner's expense. 

How about giving my pet medication?

Sure! Doggie Doo's will give your pup their meds to keep them in tip top shape at no extra charge.

What's the Spa?

Who wouldn’t want to look extra special after a long absence from our loved ones? We offer nothing but the finest grooming at Doggie Doo's. No amount of pampering is too much for our best friends. 

What are the requirements for Doggie Doo's?

Doggie Doo's requires three vaccinations for our WOOF guests: Rabies, DHPP (Distemper), and Bordetella. If the Bordetella vaccine has never been given or has lapsed in validity, it needs to be administered at least 24 hours prior to your pet’s stay. Our feline friends must be up to date on Rabies and FVRCP (Distemper). Proof of vaccines must be submitted to us prior to your arrival. Your veterinarian can easily email these to doggiedoosspaandretreat@gmail.com. Dog is free from fleas – pets will be inspected upon check-in and if fleas are noticed on pet will be sent home for the owner to seek treatment from their veterinarian. If pets are over the age of 8 months, they must be altered to attend daycare and boarding.

This FAQ is generated for the sole purpose of providing information to pet owners. This is NOT our policy guide or procedures. You will be asked to sign our policy and agreement form upon creating a client profile.