Unfortunately both humans and dogs can easily contract a "cold". We call it a "cold" or the "flu" as pretty much generic terms in humans - even though there can be loads of different causes. In dogs, when our dog gets the sniffles or cough we tend to all call it "kennel cough".
Unfortunately the kennel cough vaccine, that you need to give your dog before coming into a kennel, is not well recognized for providing full protection. Some vets will tell you it provides little or no protection. It may minimise risk, but it is not proven by how much.
We look forward to the pharmaceutical companies providing better solutions than what currently exists.
The truth of the matter is that when you put your dogs in any situation that exposes it to other dogs or where another dog has been, you put it as risk of contracting infection of some sort. And then of course there are the airborne disease, so unless you keep your dog in an air bubble, they are always at some of risk, whether at home, with us, or just out and about in your car.
Sometimes your dog can be carrying a low grade infection that you don't know about it, and when they go to a new place such as a boarding kennel, the stress and excitement lowers their immunity, and the infection that they were already carrying, but not showing any outward signs of, kicks in when they leave. This doesn't mean "my dog got kennel cough from the boarding kennel".
The common symptoms of kennel cough (which might be either bacterial or viral) include coughing, lethargy, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, and weepy eyes. If the source of the infection is bacterial, antibiotics may help.
We recommend you talk to your vet and boarding kennel professional about possible issues in your area, but the reality is that it doesn't matter what the time of year is, kennel cough (as a generic term) is always about.
Boarding kennels and doggy day care centres are like child care centres where your dog will be exposed to other dogs. Some dogs find the first couple of days in a boarding kennel to be stressful, and when humans and animals are stressed, their immune system is weakened, making them more susceptible to infection.
In the vast majority of cases, kennel cough is not serious. But just like you'd keep an eye on a family member with a cold, you need to keep an eye on your pet. If you are concerned at all, please contact your vet immediately. (or human doctor if it's a family member).
Kennel cough is not contagious to humans.
A great article to read about kennel cough can be found here.
We will not accept dogs into the kennel who are showing signs of kennel cough.
Unfortunately, just like any other kennel, we can offer no guarantee that your dog will not contract this or any other disease, despite our liberal use of disinfectants and other safe cleaning products within the property. We keep a very close eye on all dogs, and if we suspect your dog is not well, we will contact you immediately to discuss the situation. Of course, we will seek vet treatment if deemed necessary by you or us.
To further complicate the issue, we do know that dogs that don't show symptoms of kennel cough can also carry the infection and spread it to others.
As "kennel cough" can be picked up just about anywhere, with a boarding kennel being one of a thousand places that it may be found, like a human cold, it needs to run its course but we suggest the dog is kept quiet and under observation. In rare cases, it may progress to something more serious, which is why you must keep a very close eye on your dog during such periods.
Feel free to talk to us about this issue and we are happy to share our knowledge and reading on the subject.