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Important Message

At A Walk in the Park the wellbeing and health of the dogs always comes first. We love having the company of the dogs and the friendships that develop between them.

Unfortunately, some undesired things can show up too during those play sessions. It has come to our attention that a number of dogs have come down with respiratory infections, also known as kennel cough.

A lot of people are not familiar with kennel cough, what it looks like, how it spreads and how it gets treated. We urge everyone to read the article on our website.

First of all, there are dozens of agents that can cause respiratory issues in dogs. We require the Bordetella vaccine, but this vaccine protects against only one of these agents. Furthermore, just like the flu in humans, the virus mutates and manufacturers have to guess which strains will be prevalent. But we feel it's important to reduce the risks as much as possible, therefore we want every dog here vaccinated.

The symptoms of kennel cough can be:
Coughing, from a quiet, hardly noticeable cough to a loud barky type cough. Sometimes it sounds like a goose honk.
Gagging, reverse sneezing, as if they are trying to clear their throat. Sometimes they spit up foamy mucus. People get confused and think the dog swallowed something.
Crusty eyes
Loss of appetite
Possible fever.
Not all dogs show the same symptoms.

The reason it can be so hard to prevent the virus from entering a day care or kennel is, that often the infection goes undetected for days while the dog is shedding the virus. By the time it becomes obvious that the dog is coughing, he might have been a silent carrier and already infected his playmates. The owners are not aware that their dog has been infected.

If your dog shows any of the signs described above, or if you and your dog encountered a dog with these symptoms, keep him away from other dogs. You can take your dog to the vet, they might prescribe some antibiotics, but mainly your dog will need rest. Just like a cold in humans, the dog's own immune system will clear up the viral infection. Kennel cough is especially prevalent during the summer when a lot of people are travelling and their dogs get boarded. But it can happen anytime of the year. In our experience, dogs that are regular participants seem to be much less susceptible than dogs that board every now and then. Also, dogs that are comfortable being away from home, have better immunity than dogs that are stressed, because they are not used to being away from home.

If your dog shows symptoms and comes down with kennel cough, we ask you to alert us right away. You should keep your dog away from other dogs at least till 5 days have passed since your dog is symptom free.

We believe that play and interaction with other dogs is important and enriches their lives. In most cases, kennel cough is not worse than the average cold for humans and not a reason to isolate your dog from it playmates and the fun time that keeps them healthy and happy. In the long run, a well socialized dog that contracts the occasional kennel cough is better than a dog being kept away from it's own kind.

However, we do want to minimize the risk to exposure at our facility and therefore we will adhere strictly to the following rules. We ask that everyone cooperates with these rules, we depend on each other for all our dogs health and wellbeing:

We ask that everyone waits for a minimum of two weeks after visiting another dog day care, grooming salon or boarding kennel. We have no control over their protocols, especially groomers can be lax in checking vaccine records. We don't want to bring in kennel cough because another facility was not properly enforcing safety standards. The staff will ask you if you have been to another facility. Please don't get impatient with them. They are there to protect the health and safety of all the dogs in our care.

Keep a close eye on possible symptoms. Don't be in denial but be objective and if you have any doubt, leave your dog at home until you're sure he is fine.

Keep all required vaccines up to date.

On our part, we will keep an close eye and separate dogs that might show symptoms. As always we adhere to strict sanitation standards, to reduce the risk of illness spreading.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 419-475-4101. We will be glad to answer them.

Dirk Broersma