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What to expect on your first day of dog daycare!
Although you know your dog is about to have a wonderful time, she doesn't’t have any idea what to expect. She will get her cues from you on whether she should be worried, sad, anxious or happy. The calmer you are, the better she’ll feel. The less time spent saying your good-byes and hugging, the better. This is a fun day – and you should both be happy to be here. You’ll be back, she’ll figure that out. The sooner you leave, the sooner she’ll begin to adapt to her new environment and stop worrying about you. Visa-versa J
During the day:
Watch the webcam! Go to LuckyDogRetreat.com and click on Webcam. It might ask you to install an ActiveX component from Axis – that’s perfectly safe and ok to do.
When you pick him up:
Try not to be seen arriving. Come in the retail store door way and we’ll begin checking you out as soon as possible. We’ll also send someone to go fetch your dog. If your dog sees you come in – it will be harder to get him to go to the back door where we need him to exit. Although he’s had a fun and active day – he’ll be glad to see you and will want to share all his tall tales of the day with you.
When you get home:
This has been quite a day for your dog. He’s probably been too excited to eat, sleep or drink much – maybe even too busy to go potty often enough. Water is available to every dog 24 hours a day. Food is given at lunch and at dinner and they’re let outside several times a day – but alas, it may have just been a low priority for them with all the activities going on.
Do not overfeed your dog or let him drink tons and tons of water when he gets home. He will probably vomit if he eats or drinks too much. Feed him his normal meal and he will catch up on his eating and sleeping shortly.
Don’t be worried if your dog is listless and very tired. He is. That’s what daycare is all about! He’s pooped. Just like in the wild, he’s spent the day ‘hunting and gathering’ and now he’s tired. Since he’s not used to working all day, he might be tired for a couple days!
Common things that happen in a daycare:
Dogs play and may play very hard. Scrapes, dirt and damp necks are to be expected. Of course we’ll do everything we can to prevent your dog from getting injured – and we’ll notify you if s/he does get hurt.
Sore feet is another common problem. They’ve gone from grass and carpet to running and jumping on a rubber surface. Watch for blisters – treat with an antiseptic spray to prevent infection. They will eventually build up tougher pads and this won’t continue to happen. Remind us at the next visit and we’ll put some wax on their pads until they toughen up.
Group play and exposure
Just like daycare for kids, dogs will be exposed to many new things at daycare. New smells, new play styles, new breeds of dogs, young, old, big dogs and small dogs. Dogs will be exposed to new viruses, new bacteria, new surfaces and new toys. The floors and water buckets are disinfected daily, the outside is gravel, sanitized regularly. Every precaution is taken to insure your dog's safety. The viruses and bacteria your dog may be exposed to are air borne and the risk to exposure is no greater than a dog park (probably less actually), a traditional kennel, a vet's office, a pet store or a walk in the local park.
This is a very common illness that can occur when a dog is new to daycare and boards in a kennel. Even though your dog got the bordetella vaccine to help prevent this, there are several different types of this virus and the vaccine doesn't cover all of them. Very similar to the flu vaccine for humans, it only covers specific types. It is usually transmitted through the air, again as is the common cold in humans. Most cases of kennel cough clear up on their own without needing treatment.
It usually takes anywhere from 1-2 weeks to run it's course. Some cases can turn into an upper respiratory infection and need antibiotics. Left untreated it could turn into pneumonia. Once a dog is exposed to that specific strain, s/he'll be immune to it in the future.
We have installed 5 large ceiling fans in the playroom and kennel to help keep air circulation and humidity levels under control. We also disinfect our kennels 2 times a day and our playroom floor gets cleaned and disinfected and the playroom equipment and toys get bleached every day at noon when we put the dogs up for lunch. Our regular daycare dogs and employee's dog's rarely get sick because of their level of exposure to other dogs.
Here are some links for more information:
Mar Vista Vet: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_kennel_cough.html
How to treat: http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-Kennel-Cough
Daycare is a GREAT place for dogs to learn to play and exude pent up energy, both mental and physical. Daycare is NOT the place for an older dog that has never been exposed to this type of environment. Daycare is also NOT the place for guarding breed dogs to be socialized. Guarding breed dogs need large amounts of socialization as a puppy and as they grow. Waiting until they mature and then noting that they need to be socialized, is not the time to start at a daycare. Start at a training class, small dog park, or local parks - start small and from a distance.
Thanks for coming to Lucky Dog Retreat!