Can my dog catch a disease by being with other dogs?
Yes. Your dog is more vulnerable to catching communicable diseases and parasites when they are in any social situation, be it the dog park, the kennel or puppy class. In the interest of supporting immune systems, we place a primary focus on maintaining as low stress and calm an environment as possible. We have a rigorous cleaning and disinfection protocol and require veterinarian recommended vaccines and fecal checks are current in order for your dog to attend the Grinning Dog, but those precautions aren't fool proof.
It's easy to compare dogs in socially oriented dog care with kids going to school or playgroups - they can (and probably will at some point!) catch what is going around. Dogs do not, however, interact the same way kids do. They swap spit, sniff and lick nether regions, eat disgusting things and often engage in behavior humans generally find repugnant. The effects of this unique social behavior may include stomach upset, canine cough (the vaccine is not 100% effective), puppy warts and various and sundry parasites. Those are normally relatively benign (in the scheme of things) illnesses, but we can't rule out scarier diseases (God Forbid) like Canine Influenza, Parvo and other less common viruses. It's important you be fully aware of the risks involved in having your dog engage in a social life. A discussion with your veterinarian would be prudent. It's not unusual for a newcomer (or infrequent visitor) to socializing to be more vulnerable than a frequent flyer. We will always let you know if there has been communicable illness reported in our community. Please let us know about anything your dogs come down with and do keep them home until they get the all clear from their veterinarians. Communication is key to keeping our entire Grinning Dog community as healthy as possible!
Can my dog get hurt at the Grinning Dog?
Yes. While we (yes, me too!) sometimes think of our dogs as little humans, its important to remember that the animals we have decked out in cute collars, sleeping on fuzzy beds and nibbling on organic cookies are, in fact, domesticated canines. And they, in spite of our projections, act that way. Dogs play with their teeth and nails, carry sharp sticks, swallow pebbles, roll in (and eat!) dead animals and generally seem to make it their mission to remind us of how proud they are of their canine heritage - all while sporting the polka dotted bandana we think they look adorable in! We are frequently reminded of the culture clash between their canine proclivities and our human sensibilities. We have an excellent safety record at the Grinning Dog, but have certainly had some dogs become injured while they were staying with us. Injuries have consisted of sore feet (from over doing it on the pea stone), dogs nipping each other, a dog who caught her toenail and tore it out and one dog who poked its sibling in the side with a stick that was being retrieved from the pond. We have had two episodes of dog vs. porcupine out on the trails. All dogs now play "naked" or while wearing breakaway collars only after an scary incident many years ago when two dogs playing together got their mouths caught in the others' personal collars (don't let your dogs play with collars on!). My skilled and attentive staff intervened quickly and thankfully both dogs were ok, but it left us shaken for a quite some time.
If your dog does get injured we will call you and, if an emergency, will leave for the emergency veterinary clinic immediately. If there doesn't appear to be an emergency, we will contact you for guidance and your dog's veterinarian if we don't get ahold of you or your emergency contact. Please be aware that we will default to going to the vet if we have any concerns and will instruct the vet to do anything they deem necessary to treat your dog. This could include expensive testing, Xrays and imaging which you will be responsible. If you have a preference on which life saving measures you would like administered/withheld, please give us detailed instructions to keep in your dog's file.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"Alison and her staff provided exceptional care to not only my dog but also to me..." A. B.
"The best. Alison and her staff are terrific. My dog, Rem, hadn't spent any time boarded before we got here and he loved it there. I don't know how the dogs are all so calm, but they are. I'm lucky this is near by me. " Betsy N.
"We miss him, but we never worry about him when he's there. Wonderfully competent crew. Beautiful surroundings." Bruce K.
250 Southampton Rd. Westhampton, Ma. 01027 USA 413 527-3652