Dog Boarding Kennel
Dog owners sooner face the question, “What shall I do with my pet when I have to leave it?” There are the many other questions closely related to this one. “If the dog becomes sick, shall I keep it at home or leave it in a veterinary hospital? Should I exhibit my dog in as how? Should I take my cute dog to a training class? Is it safe to allow my pet free access to neighborhood dogs?”
Actually, all of these general questions are part of a still larger one, “To what extent should I isolate my dog?”
In order to answer these questions intelligently, there are certain basic facts you should know. Every proprietor of a veterinary hospital oral boarding kennel, every dog warden and humane society officer, knows these facts. If every pet owner knew them as well, sickness among pets might be greatly reduced.
Let’s assume that every dog owner and every dog handler is honest and that every person owning a dog he or she knows is sick will isolate it. Let’s assume, too, that no dog warden knowingly puts a sick dog in the pound. And last, but not least, let’s assume that no veterinary hospital exists without isolation wards where dogs with each kind of disease are separately segregated. It is obvious that none of these assumptions can be completely true. Pet owners are no more and no less ethical than other groups of people. Certainly, not all of the mares are sufficiently concerned about the health of other people’s pets to isolate their own when they know it to be sick.
But suppose that all these things are true. Could you even then be certain that your dog could be safely placed with a lot of other healthy dogs and never contract a disease? You could not.
The average dog show probably furnishes the best example of the risk involved whenever dog arc is brought together, in spite of the fact that every dog exhibited is supposed to be a healthy dog. Even if veterinarians examined all dogs at the entrance gate and rejected those that were sick, dog shows would still be one of the prime means by which disease is spread. Here is a case in point from our own experience.
Car sickness can produce vomiting. Dust in the eye scan cause squinting. But distemper can cause and be causing both symptoms. It so happens that on the sixth day after infection, a dog’s temperature drops when it has that disease which accounted for Barbara’s if F – and rises again on the seventh day. Barbara’s puppies and seventy-five other dogs of ours contracted distemper.
The Texas Dalmatian via a dog show had spread distemper to Connecticut and probably to many other localities, and who knows but that the Connecticut Bloodhound spread it to California since there were dogs from California on the circuit of Eastern shows. Yet who was to blame? Today, dog immunization is available, and distemper is rapidly disappearing, but distemper is only one disease.
Here is another example of the way the disease is spread. A kennel owner accepts Mrs. Williams’s dog in good faith. The dog is placed in a room in a building with many others. All of them appear to be in good health. After three days the kennel owner notices that Mrs. Williams’s dog is gagging. She segregates it into another room. But suppose your dog had been in the first room?
Many dog diseases are spread by droplet infection. A day after you take your dog home it starts to sneeze. You telephone the kennel owner immediately to complain. She tells you your dog was contented and well on its first visit. But the chances are she remembers Mrs. Williams’s dog, and when two days later she finds that most of the dogs in that room are sneezing, what is she to do? Whose fault is it? Is the kennel owner under obligation to take your dog back and keep it until it is cured or dies? Unfortunately legally such an occurrence is considered, along with lightning, wind, and fire, as “an act of God.”
Perhaps your dog contracts a disease while being boarded, and when you return it is dead. The owner of the kennel, half sick with worry over what has happened, has spent hours trying to nurse the dogs tinder her care health. You are hurt, indignant, and furious that your dog has been lost. Perhaps you even refuse to pay for the board. Actually, considering the work and worry involved, you owe the kennel owner more than if nothing had happened. If negligence is involved you should be irate.
Although rare, this does happen in dog-boarding establishments. Everyone with a lot of experience could tell of many similar instances. Owners will bring in their dogs, stating they don’t want them kept close to other clOgs because of the possibility of contracting a disease. They choose an outdoor run. The dog goes home infected with coccid. Who’s to blame? More than likely a fly. Did the fly first feed on an infested stool of a dog in the same kennel or did it fly from a kennel five miles away? Flies may easily travel eight or ten miles in a single night. You cannot call this an act of carelessness.
Needless to say, no boarding kennel owners ever want such things to happen. It hurts them every time it does. It causes worry, anguish, extra work, loss of money, and loss of reputation. So what, then, should be one’s attitude? Should pet owners say, “I left a good dog; now it’s sick. You’re to blame”? Or should they try to look at it from a reasonable point of view, difficult as that may be, and to understand the circumstances?
It is impossible to assemble a large group of dogs of any specie and be Rio percent certain that no one is infested with parasites or is incubating some disease. And since this is true, you can’t board a pet and be to percent sure the pet will be well, uninfected with parasites, and neither incubating a disease nor showing signs of a problem when you call for it.
The best and safest approach is to leave your pet in a kennel where veterinary attention is given or where the owner knows diseases well enough to be able to recognize the first signs and is willing and able to treat them properly. It is, of course, essential that there be a segregation ward in conjunction with the boarding facilities.
Dogs corralled by the city dog wardens may be placed in a truck with half a dozen others, taken to the pound, and there put in a cage or aspen with many other dogs. Some of these will be dogs from homes where they have received the best of care, but in general, people who think so little of their pets as to allow them to run are not the citizens who have fine dogs and take good care of them.
If your healthy male dog knows where a bitch in heat lives, you may be sure he will be camped near her home, and so will all the other male dogs that know another potent source for the spread of infection. Unquestionably dogs can contract diseases in veterinary hospitals. The most careful veterinarian, in the best of faith, accepts dogs, apparently free from disease, for operations. Two days later that same dog may be sneezing and filling surgical wards with invisible virus-filled droplets. Even though ultraviolet lights and germ-killing vaporizers may have been installed, they cannot guarantee that a few healthy dogs will not be infected.
Just as children in a certain school and community who have measles, mumps, and chicken pox and are then immune to them are glad they don’t get these diseases later, so pet owners can be glad their pet can be protected by inoculation against all the diseases it is possible to be protected against and then can build up natural immunity to others. This much is certain: dogs can’t assemble in large numbers and remain free from disease any more than children can be expected not to contract infectious diseases irons their classmates in school . Remember that not everything that happens to your pet in a hospital or kennel happens because it is there. Many of these things are the result of normal health hazards; many are the direct result of age, habits, idiosyncrasies, food, and appetite of your pet.
You may have left a very fat pet and returned to find it thin. You should be pleased that it has lost dangerous excess weight. Or a comfortably fat pet may have grown too fat by the time you call for it. A few days ‘attention to its diet will correct that.
Remember the characteristics of the breed and of the individual dog. If you own a Great Dane, you can expect it will brood, be homesick, refuse food, and may lose twenty pounds in a week if left in a kennel. And when it does, this will be your fault for ever having allowed the dog to become so dependent upon you. The cure is to leave it more often and to use more food at home as the kennel uses (if it is the wholesome brand) so that your pet won’t have to be starved to cat this food every time you board it.
If you own a lively pet, the first day after you take it home its stool will probably be quite loose. This does not necessarily mean the dog is sick. Any hunter will tell you that, though a dog’s stools may be perfect when in the kennel, the dog won’t have run a quarter of a mile before it may be passing liquid stools. Excitement after confinement, not sickness often causes loose stools. Your pet was probably in a small run or even a compartment; at home, it has the outdoors to run in and it jumps and frisks. Expect loose stools until your dog gets back into its old regime.
After leaving boarding establishments most pets seem thirsty. They have had pans of water in their runs, but upon returning home seem to drink a lot of water. Expect this too. Your pet may also act starved. This is not strange: it had been learning to know a new food and you take it back to the one it was accustomed to. Of course, it enjoys its old food! Try to be reasonable about the food and care you expect for your dog while it is being boarded. If you want your dog fed fancy things, it is best that you supply them.
For the average pet, where the cost of everything is considered, the boarding kennel owner is lucky to clear spoor 15 percent a day on the average dog. Would you, for the average boarding charge, assume the responsibility of keeping a neighbor’s setter for two weeks, feeding it, keeping it free of external or internal parasites to the best of your ability, changing its bedding regularly, cleaning its droppings twice a day, renewing its water twice or three times a day? The reason the kennel or pet shop owners are willing to do this is that they are equipped to keep large numbers of dogs.
If you find a boarding accommodation for your pet that suits you, continue to use only that establishment. In time your pet will become acclimated and your troubles are over.
One precaution you can and should take: consider the age of your pet. Young puppies are far more likely to die in a new environment than grown dogs because they have less resistance. Intestinal parasites are more harmful to young dogs than to older ones. Virus diseases are much harder on younger dogs. Knowing these facts, you will be wise to keep your puppies and all your young dogs isolated, as far as it is in your power to do so until they are over a year old . Thereafter the ravages of diseases will be less severe.
If you know the distemper incubation period is five days and you have had your pet home from its boarding place for ten days, you may be sure it “caught it” while in your hands. By the manse token, if you are informed by the boarding kennel owner that your dog started to be sick a few days after it was accepted to the board, you may know it was infected before you left it.
One other factor or risk in boarding pets is that they may run away. Don’t expect the kennel owner to be responsible if your dog chews an ole in a sound fence and escapes. You owe the kennel owner for the damage. If your dog jumps a six-foot fence and you didn’t tell the owner it could jump, or perhaps you didn’t know it, that is your misfortune.
Don’t neglect the viewpoint of the owner of the establishment where your pet is left, be it a boarding kennel or veterinary hospital. You would be appalled if you knew how often people who were aware that their dogs were sick tried to leave them “to board” at a veterinary establishment. Every hospital and kennel owner has had this experience. Veterinarians with “weather eyes” out for such dogs are not often fooled, but proprietors of boarding kennels who fail to recognize a diseased dog (and who are grateful to have another boarder)often have illnesses introduced into their kennels by unscrupulous dog owners.
The risk to health where pets congregate or are congregated is unavoidable. But it can be greatly reduced. Nothing does more to minimize the hazards than proper vaccination. Neglecting to take this simple precaution is not only unethical, since it affects others, but is also irresponsible you must take the most obvious step to protect the health of your pets.
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