Home dental care for cats can make a tremendous difference in your cat’s comfort and health. A wide variety of home oral hygiene options are available, but keep in mind that anything you can do to help prevent plaque and tartar accumulation will pay big dividends. What really matters is whether or not home oral hygiene was provided over the long haul – considerable effort applied only for a short period or only occasionally will be of no long-term benefit.
Below are listed some common forms of home oral hygiene that have been proven to be of benefit for cats. Combining several methods will achieve the best results. All methods of home oral hygiene share the goal of preventing or controlling periodontal disease by minimizing plaque (bacterial film) accumulation, and preventing the mineralization of the plaque to form dental tartar. Cats can be reluctant to accept home oral hygiene, and require a very gradual, gentle and patient approach to achieve success.
Brushing your cat’s teeth is the single most effective means of home dental care for cats you can use to maintain dental health between professional dental cleanings. This makes sense because the bacterial film known as “plaque” is the cause of periodontal disease. This film is easily disrupted by the simple mechanical effect of brushing the teeth. For brushing to be effective, it needs to be done several times each week – daily brushing is best. Most cats will allow their teeth to be brushed, but you need to take a very gradual and gentle approach. Start by letting your cat lick the dentifrice from your finger, then off the small feline toothbrush, then gradually place the brush in your cat’s mouth and add the brushing motions. Introduction of this process may require daily activity over 1-2 months. We recommend pet-specific dentifrice for cats; these products are safe for cats and come in flavors that cats accept, such as poultry and seafood. Avoid human toothpastes as they often contain abrasives and high-foaming detergents that should not be swallowed or inhaled. Small cat-specific toothbrushes are available. Some cats prefer finger brushes.
Chlorhexidine is the most effective anti-plaque antiseptic. Chlorhexidine binds to the oral tissues and tooth surfaces, and is gradually released into the oral cavity. Chlorhexidine oral rinses or gels are safe for pets and rarely cause problems. The rinse is applied by squirting a small amount inside the cheek on each side of the mouth. The gel is smeared onto the side of the teeth or applied as a tooth-paste on a tooth-brush or finger brush. Many cats object to the taste of this product, while others accept it with no difficulty.
Several dental-specific diets have been shown to be of benefit in retarding accumulation of dental plaque and tartar cats. Some employ a specific kibble design and others include a chemical anti-tartar poly-phosphate ingredient. Although they may be of value, there is little publicly-available information documenting the dental value of chew products for cats.
Unlike dogs, cats are very individualistic in their acceptance of home oral hygiene. Try several options (brushing, finger-brushing, dental rinses or gels, dental diets) to find those techniques and products that your cat best tolerates. Some cats are very particular about new flavors. Patience and a gentle approach will yield the best results.
by Ingrid Johnson, CCBC (Certified Cat Behavior Consultant)
Indoor cats should still be allowed to enjoy the scents and textures of the outdoors in a safe, controlled manner. Try growing cat grass or catnip. Cats naturally chew on greens, and if you provide them regularly, your cats will not experience the vomiting that often occurs when greens are first offered.
Olfactory stimulation can prove quite enriching for a species that lives by their noses so much more than we humans do. Silvervine, valerian, cat thyme, bush honeysuckles, buckbean, and ever-popular catnip can all elicit similar euphoric reactions.4d There is a genetic component that makes cats responsive to each of these compounds, so if they do not react to one, it is worthwhile to try another. Create “marinades” for cats. Saturate fabric/absorbent toys in separate bins for each of these olfactory experiences so that scents are not mixed and something different can be offered every few days.
Allow your cats to experience the seasons! In the fall, fill a cardboard box or old litter pan with leaves and sticks from outside. Throw some kibble in among the leaves for added fun! You can leave a large branch with foliage on your screen porch. Your cats can play on and around it, scratch it, or chew on it. Try hiding food around it for increased exploration. Be sure that you maintain proper flea and intestinal parasite control if you are going to do this. (Misty Pines has you covered! Check out our article on flea and tick control for help identifying which flea and tick deterrent you should use for your situation. Misty Pines carries most of the products listed in this article.) Grass clippings can be gathered, tied in knots, and added to stationary food puzzles for a unique foraging experience. Cookie sheets can be placed on decks when it snows to gather an interesting and cool tactile experience!
Screen porches are an absolutely amazing way to help your cats feel as if they are going outside. Even a small screen porch can satisfy your cat and offer a warm sunbeam. They are also great places to build vertical space. Place birdbaths and birdfeeders near the porch to create kitty television. Don’t have a screen porch? Open all of your doors and windows as often as you can. This helps air out the home, keeps it smelling fresh, and allows your cats to enjoy the sounds and smells of the outdoors, even without a porch.
Catios are all the rage now. They provide an enclosure that both you and your cats can enjoy and get your cats a little bit closer to nature. These “cat habitats” meet the needs for more mental and physical stimulation while simultaneously addressing wildlife concerns, feline safety concerns, and neighbors who may not want their gardens used as a litter box.3 Catios generally have a “natural floor” consisting of grass, flagstone, etc. and may be equipped with trees, fishponds, and other features. The purrfectfence.com, catterydesign.com, and the book Catify to Satisfy are great resources to help you get started.
Cat strollers are another awesome outlet for safe outdoor exploration. Begin by allowing your cat to explore the stroller while it’s inside and not moving. Then take your cat for a brief stroll up and down the driveway, or simply sit outside with your cat in the stroller to enjoy the view. Gradually, overtime, you can increase the distance of your walks. Many strollers will accommodate two cats, and it is, of course, always cool to bring the dog along too! Starting this process with young kittens and cats that are not fearful of travel is easier. Strollers are also a great way to give a little enrichment to handicapped cats (three-legged, arthritic, or paralyzed cats, for example).
I do not encourage leash and harness walks because they tend to encourage cats to bolt for the door. If you are going to take your cat on leashed walks, it’s best to take them outside in their cat carrier or take them out through a door that they can’t normally access to minimize door darting.
Interactive play is an imperative form of environmental enrichment. Play can strengthen the human/cat relationship and build bonds. It is also an enormous outlet for pent-up energy, an opportunity for exercise, and the ultimate way to let your little carnivore hunt! A cat’s greatest thrill in life is the eye-stalk-chase-pounce-kill sequence,2 and that is only achieved through hunting. Interactive play and foraging toys are the best hunting outlets you can provide. Cats can be very prey-specific, so you will need to find the prey that motivates your cat. Keep at it and try a variety of different toys. Do not leave the toys out unattended when not in use, as that lessens the novelty and motivation to play with them. A toy that is out of sight and out of mind creates much more interest when it appears.
A word about laser pointers: They never give your cat anything tangible to kill, and this can leave them feeling very frustrated and unsatisfied. Many people taunt with these toys, which is not very nice. Always follow a laser pointer game with a physical toy, tossed treat, or meal so there is some reward. If you choose to use laser pointers, they should only be used periodically as part of a rotation that also includes tangible interactive toys.
Many people say that their cats don’t play, but often, they only believe that because they simply do not know how to play with their cats. Don’t, for example, whack your cat in the head with a feather toy. Birds do not fly at cats’ faces! Be the prey. If you have a feather toy, flutter it like a bird, land, then take off again. If your toy has a small bug-like attachment, be a bug. Scurry it along the floor, hide behind the leg of a chair, stop moving, then dart about. If you are using plain string, slither it like a snake would. The point is to mimic natural movement the cat will be attracted to, not dangle the toy in front of their noses. This is a good time to remind ourselves of how cats see the world. Cats cannot focus on anything nearer than a foot away — another reason sticking the toy right in front of their muzzle provides limited response. To compensate for this, they swing their whiskers forward, making a 3-D tactile “photo” of objects right under their noses.5 Cats’ vision is built for seeing movement at a distance, and we must keep this in mind when we attempt to elicit play. It is also important to let your cat catch the toy once in a while or the game will become very unsatisfying. Yes, play is exercise and the idea is to get them to run, jump, and chase, but they have to be successful some of the time. Cats are built for speed and stealth, not endurance (they are not Labradors, after all), so a five- to 10-minute play session is plenty, but this should be done daily — ideally multiple times a day.
Motorized toys are always an option, but are best for bold personalities as more timid cats are usually deterred by the noise. Self-powered and automatic toys are not a substitute for interactive play but are an option when the owner does not have time but the cat wants to engage in something to do. Two I often recommend are The Fling-A Ma-String and the Undercover Mouse. There are many others with strings that disappear, mice that run away, or feathers that flop about on their own. They are worth a try, but be prepared to be disappointed in your cat’s response if they are not gregarious!
Don’t forget about old standbys such as cardboard boxes and paper bags. Cats love these fun items, and they are generally free. There are so many fun things you can do with a box! Offer it as is, stuff it with packing or tissue paper, close it and cut holes in it, put food inside and turn it into a foraging toy, or make it into a bed. Cardboard actually helps a cat with their “thermal neutral zone”; it is insulating and helps cats maintain their body temperature without expelling any energy. Be sure to rotate and replace these items regularly. Remove them for a week then offer a new one. Misty Pines also recommends using the cat’s carrier or crate as a place to play and for a cozy retreat. This will help when you need to get your cat into the carrier to go to the vet or boarding facility. Next month’s article will deal specifically with this issue.
Household items can make amazing cat toys as well. Crinkled-up balls of paper, aluminum foil balls, pen caps, milk jug rings — the list of things that entertain cats for free is long. Paper towel and toilet paper rolls are great fun too. You can do so much with them! Offer them on their own, run a string through one and tie it to a door, or fold the ends in to make a homemade foraging toy or catnip dispenser.
Cat tunnels are also very entertaining. You can use commercially available varieties or make them out of concrete form tubes from The Home Depot or Lowes (cut holes along the sides to make them more interesting). My cats seem to prefer the children’s tunnels from IKEA though. Tunnels add security for shy cats and allow them to cross rooms with large, open spaces where they would otherwise feel like prey. Remember that enrichment is not just about offering toys but also about providing safety and security for various personality types and simply making the home more cat-friendly.
Clicker training is not only a lot of fun; it can also build a much stronger relationship and level of understanding between you and your cats. Perhaps you want to teach practical behaviors for a purpose such as introducing cats who do not enjoy each other’s company, or maybe you want to use clicker training purely as an enrichment tool, for the fun and exercise. Clicker training is an awesome way to build foundation behaviors for feline agility, and teaching commands such as “come” or “kennel up” can even be life-saving.
Lastly, a few tips designed especially for seniors: Make it easy for your seniors to easily access sunbeams and heat in general. Offer heating pads, snuggle safe discs, fuzzy beds near fireplaces, and other cozy options. One of the kidney’s main functions is to help regulate body temperature, and because many senior cats have some degree of arthritis and/or kidney disease, they are often heat seekers. Provide lots of warm, plush bedding for all of your cats, but especially for older ones. Give them room service! Older cats will often miss meals and subsequently lose weight because they choose warmth and comfort over making the trek to the food bowl. Bring resources closer for seniors so they have easier access to all of their basic needs.
In the end, if boredom, frustration, and stress are the leading causes of behavior problems in indoor cats, I propose that we, the humans, stop creating these problems. Alleviate boredom by providing lots of fun things to do. Reduce stress by offering your cats access to their basic resources in places where they feel comfortable and secure. The cat’s time has come! They have surpassed dogs as the most popular pet in America. It is time that we develop a better understanding of what our feline companions need and do a better job of meeting those needs. It is time that we start setting our cats up for success!
Young RJ. Environmental enrichment for captive animals. Oxford: Blackwell Science; 2003:1-2.
Neville PF. An ethical viewpoint: the role of veterinarians and behaviorists in ensuring good husbandry for cats. Paper presented at: American Association of Feline Practitioners; 2002; Tempe, Arizona.
Overall KL. Manual of clinical behavioral medicine for dogs and cats. St Louis: Elsevier;201 3:106-9.
Beaver RVG. Feline behavior A guide for veterinarians. 2nd ed. St. Louis: Saunders Co; 2003:54, 221.
Bradshaw J. Cat sense. New York: Basic Books; 2013:105.
Carob is a plant in the pea family (a legume), and is often used today as a substitute for chocolate. The carob plant as we know it today is originated in the Mediterranean over 4,000 years ago. Ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and ancient Greeks highly valued not only sweetness of Carob, but the nutritional benefits the plant bestowed. It was so highly valued, that the word carat comes from measuring a gemstone’s weight in comparison to the carob seed.
Records show that carob was intentionally introduced into the United States in 1854, and the first seedlings were apparently planted in California in 1873. For commercial production cultivars with the finest quality fruits are bud grafted on common stock.
Carob grows well anywhere that citrus is grown, and it prefers dry climates that receive more than 30 centimeters of rainfall–ideal mediterranean-type climates.
The fruit of carob is a pod, technically a legume 15 to 30 centimeters in length and fairly thick and broad.
Pods are borne on the old stems of the plant on short flower stalks. Interestingly, most carob trees are monoecious, with individual male and female flowers.
The dark-brown pods are not only edible, but also rich in sucrose (almost 40% plus other sugars) and protein (up to 8%).
Carob contains antioxidants, fiber, and is rich in calcium and phosphorus which helps fight osteoporosis. Benefits of Carob also include gallic acid, which has been used to prevent or treat polio in children. Gallic acid is a tannin, has anti viral, anti fungal, and antibacterial qualities. Carob is rich in vitamin E, which helps stave off influenza. Carob also aids in digestive health, lowers cholesterol, and can help people regulate their body weight. It is non allergenic, gluten-free, does not contain caffeine or theobromine (both found in chocolate), and can be used as a 1:1 replacement for chocolate in recipes. It’s important to note that carob does not taste exactly like chocolate–it is typically used because of the brown color, which has an impact on how your food tastes. It can be found in any health food store, and is fairly inexpensive.
Moreover, the pod has vitamin A, B vitamins, and several important minerals. They can be eaten directly by livestock, but we know carob mostly because the pods are ground into a flour that is a cocoa substitute.
HealthGrove | Graphiq
Although this product has a slightly different taste than chocolate, it has only one-third the calories (total 1595 calories per pound), is virtually fat-free (chocolate is half fat), is rich in pectin, is nonallergenic, has abundant protein, and has no oxalic acid, which interferes with absorption of calcium.
Consequently, carob flour is widely used in health foods for chocolate-like flavoring.
Apart from the health benefits obtained by subsituting Carob for Cocoa and synthetic sweeteners in our diet, Carob also has excellent nutritional value. Along with up to 80% protien, it contains Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium Manganese, Barium, Copper, Nickel and the vitamins A, B, B2, B3, and D. It also has medicinal uses including the treatment of coughs and diarrhoea.
Carob pods are dried or roasted and ground into powder, which is the form it is typically found in–besides carob chips, which often contain additives and oils. Carob has a sweet, slightly bitter, earthy flavor and has been used by cultures around the world for its flavor and healing properties. Locust beans are the seeds of the Carob plant, and locust bean gum is a common food additive as a thickening agent.
Carob has become an important part of the gourmet pet treat industry with many treat makers using it as a coating and ingredient in many of their treats. With Halloween and the holiday season right around the corner we often find it tempting to share our sweet treats with our dogs but instead, get them their own goodies so when you’re indulging in some chocolatey goodness and they give you the sad eyes you can stroll over to their cookie jar and get them a safe alternative that they’ll love.
Stop in to Misty Pines and find all of our gourmet pet treats from Furrever Friends, Tail Bangers and more.
Halloween is coming soon and Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. All of these holidays mean that you’ll have droves of guests coming to your house getting Fido all worked up. Teaching a dog to properly greet visitors at the door is one of the most common issues that people have with their dogs. We’ve provided an article written by Sue McCabe listing different reasons that your dog may want to be over exuberant with their greeting and a few ideas on how to anticipate problems and head them off at the pass. Be sure to note the paragraph detailing how to avoid the situation all together. Enjoy the article and have a Happy, Safe and Stress Free Holiday Season!
In terms of dog/owner frustration & concern, coming a close third place behind recall & dog/dog reactivity issues, is greeting guests. Unlike recall or dog/dog reactivity, training appropriate greetings should not cause as much stress as it seems to. The fact that the challenge is occurring in an owner’s home, means people have complete control of the environment in which they are training. As such, it should be easy to manage their dog’s behaviour & retrain a greeting acceptable to all concerned. So why is it such a common challenge then?
Most dogs can be classed into three categories when it comes to greeting guests. The first type of dog behaves like it’s Christmas. Joy, of joys, Santa must be at the door each time someone knocks. The level of excitement & enthusiasm to greet the guest rises to levels beyond the dog or the owner’s control. This quickly results in a lunatic fur ball, abound (literally) with glee, paws akimbo, ready to greet the unfortunate guest, who has no idea they possess such cause for excitement. In turn, the owner, at pains to control their hyperactive Santa loving dog, joins in the fun, saying the dog’s name over again in an excited voice which winds fido up more. They often attempt to grab or restrain the dog which only makes things worse.
The alternative group of dogs believe that their home is their sanctuary. The front door is the portal which divides safety & the big bad world. Through this portal, each guest carries the guise of Satan. Such dogs are worried for the safety of their property or themselves. The former feels the need to guard their home or owner. The unsuspecting visitor has no idea they have been classed as evil as they are met with a dog ready to protect (lunging, jumping, barking, growling and/or biting). Owners of such dogs, in a vain attempt to take control, often shout commands & use physical restraint, finally resorting to locking the dog away from visitors to keep everyone safe.
Our other Satan wary dogs are terrified for their own safety. Such dogs run to hide, attempt to go deeper into the sanctuary, shy away, beg to be left alone. Owners often attempt placation, reassurance & cajoling. They drag their dogs to greet guests, asking visitors to feed, stroke or cuddle them. All the time such dogs believe they are being asked to make friends with the devil.
While I know there will be rare folk whose dogs don’t fall into the three categories listed above, for the average pet dog owner, it’s far more common for the Santa or the Satan dog to prevail. For this reason, allowing your dog to greet at the front door is a bad idea for all concerned. Dogs become proficient at behaviours they practice, so if you want your dog to learn calm, controlled greetings, practice this. Manage your dog’s behaviour & that of your guests carefully.
Use a dog gate to ensure your dog doesn’t greet guests at the front door.
Teach them that the doorbell is a signal to run behind the gate for a tasty treat. Don’t wait for guests to arrive to practice this.
Ask guests to COMPLETELY ignore your dog. Lead by example-ignore your dog at this point also.
Make tea, allow your dog to see & hear the guest through the gate. Wait for this new arrival to lose its novelty.
With all three dog types, use ‘Treat & Retreat’ training but use food which is of extremely high value, real warm roast chicken or fresh cooked liver works best.
The ‘Oh my dog, Santa’s here’ type:
If you’ve got a Santa loving dog, he will be desperate to say ‘hi’ so watch for signs that he’s given up trying, wait a few minutes more & only then proceed to train him. If Santa loving dogs jump, the dog gate becomes a buffer. Guests should walk away & approach the gate again once the dog is calm. Teach him that guests throw food over his shoulder, so wasting time/energy approaching the guest is pointless, as food comes to him, not the other way around. Guests should begin to train calm sit greetings after several ‘free’ treat/retreat sessions.
The ‘Satan has come to take over my home and/or owner’ type:
You really don’t want dogs who guard their property or their owners to approach strangers to your home. Close proximity to guests means such dogs may try to control visitors through their actions (stalking/lunging/growling/biting). Make decisions for them to demonstrate clearly that guests are non- threatening & are also in control. When such a dog has relaxed, request that visitors calmly approach the dog gate & toss mouthwateringly tasty food over the dog’s shoulder. They should retreat , then repeat the approach until the dog is showing relaxed body language rather than reactive signs, when visitors move towards the gate. Guests can begin to request a sit & repeat the treat/retreat training thus controlling the greeting & reward.
The ‘Satan has come to get me’ type:
Our last group of dogs don’t want to approach guests anyway, they want to be left alone. Respect this by providing a space to hide in (covered crate) while guests visit. Should you chose to change their mind about visitors, do so using treat/retreat training but allow the dog to decide if he wants to take further steps to greet. Ask guests to allow such dogs to approach the dog gate, not the other way around. Toss food. Never at this stage put hands down to the dog. If allowing this cautious greeter to join your gathering, remind guests that most of these dogs want to sniff visitors to reassure themselves they are not in fact Satan, not because they want to be friends with or stroked by strangers.
A simple step which can encourage more appropriate behaviour in our dogs, is often one which owners seem most reluctant to take. People are so desperate for guests to like their dog & vice versa, they continue to put their pets into fail/fail situations. Situations where everyone gets frustrated or upset. Whether your dog expects Santa or Satan at the front door, do him a favour & help him to get it right. Take control of greetings so your dog doesn’t have to!
An easy way to set your dog up for success is to give them an area to be in when the doorbell rings or when someone knocks on the door. Unless you have decided that you want your dog to answer the door, it is not appropriate for them to be at the door when someone arrives. Think of it in human terms: does your whole family, kids included, come to answer the door? Probably not. This would be overwhelming to a guest an create too much of a crowd around the door. Apply the same thinking to the dog. Give them a defined place to go and train them to go there when the doorbell rings. Mutt Mats, Sherpa Pads and crates are great ideas for places that your dog can go to and be out of the way and avoid the entire situation all together.
2016Many boarding facilities and doggy daycare’s require your companion dog to have the Bordetella vaccine every six months or annually. This requirement may be due to laws (regional, local, or state), the facility’s insurance purposes, or the belief of those responsible. The shortened interval is because the duration of vaccinated immunity to Bordetella bronchiseptica lasts for only 6 to 12 months.
Below is a hand-out that we developed at Misty Pines for our staff and clients. If you would like a printed copy, please request one at our front desk.
Infectious tracheobronchitis, or canine cough, is a highly contagious, upper-respiratory virus that is spread by any one of numerous agents. Parainfluenza, adenovirus, Bordetella or any combination thereof is most often passed on through the air, but can also be transmitted on hands or clothing. The incubation period of the disease is roughly 3-10 days and an infected pet may be contagious for three weeks after showing the first signs of illness or up to 2 weeks before showing any clinical symptoms. The main symptom is a hacking cough that sounds like a goose honk, sometimes accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge, which can last from a few days to several weeks. Although the cough is very annoying, it does not usually develop into anything more serious; however, just as a common cold, it can lower the dog’s resistance to other diseases making it susceptible to secondary infections, so the dog must be observed closely to avoid complications. Canine cough can be an especially serious problem for puppies and geriatric dogs whose immune systems may be weaker.
Just as in the case of the common cold, canine cough is not “cured” but must run its course; however, any dog displaying signs of a secondary infection should see a veterinarian. Many times an antibiotic will be prescribed as a precaution and sometimes cough suppressants will be used to reduce excessive coughing. Canine cough, just like flu and cold season, is often seasonal. It usually occurs in spring and late fall.
How is it Transmitted?
Airborne organisms are carried in the air by microscopic water vapor and dust particles. The particles, if inhaled, by a susceptible dog, may attach to the lining of the trachea and upper airways. These organisms are easily spread when infected dogs sneeze, bark, cough, or even drool. Some dogs are carriers and can spread the infection for months while not showing any signs. These “carriers” are a source of infection to other dogs. Contact can also occur through hands and clothing. This virus can be present at dogs shows, pet stores, your veterinarians office, and even in your own backyard.
Why are the Chances of Catching it Greater in a Kennel?
A dog encounters two conditions in boarding facilities that do not typically occur at home: 1) they are with a number of potentially contagious dogs 2) the stress and excitement of a less familiar environment, both of which can result in lowered resistance to disease. The more frequently a dog visits the kennel, the greater the chance the dog will gain immunity to the disease. Even during a widespread outbreak, only a small percentage of exposed dogs are affected.
How is it Treated?
Many dogs that contract bordetella will display minor signs of coughing that may last 7-10 days and will not require any medication. The majority of dogs will continue to eat and play except for the annoying, dry, non-productive cough.
The dog should be kept warm in an isolated area with good ventilation. It should be free of drafts. The dog can also be put in a steam filled room or use a cold mist vaporizer several times a day. It is important to keep the dog quiet; any excessive barking may irritate the trachea even more. In some cases the dog may develop a secondary infection. The dog may run a fever, not eat, will have a thick yellow or green nasal discharge, and wheezing. The dog may develop pneumonia which will require immediate veterinary care.
How Can I Protect My Dog?
There are 3 types of vaccines for canine cough; intranasal, injectable, and oral. Some dogs will develop mild symptoms similar to canine cough when given this vaccine. The symptoms will last for several days and the dog will not require medical treatment, but they can also spread it to other dogs. This is the main reason your dog should not be around other dogs after receiving the vaccine. The downfall with both of these vaccines is that they have a short duration. High risk dogs should be vaccinated twice a year. A high risk dog would be one that goes to the kennel, grooming shop, daycare, dog park, or is involved in group training classes. Dogs that have been vaccinated can still contact the disease, but the symptoms are usually not as severe and do not last as long. The vaccines allow them to get rid of the virus quicker. The vaccine should be given at least 10 days before exposure around other dogs.
Why Does Misty Pines Require Bordetella every 6 Months?
Immunity of this vaccine has a short duration and has not been scientifically proven to be effective for one full year. The efficacy of the vaccine is anywhere from six to nine months based on the various researches. Since we have implemented this policy, we have seen a substantial decrease in dogs that have developed the virus while at our facility. Those that have developed it have seemed to have had a shorter duration of the virus with milder symptoms and have recovered quickly.
What Does Misty Pines Do When A Boarding Dog Begins Coughing?
We immediately isolate the dog into our quarantine area of the kennel. The quarantine area is set up like the rest of the facility; indoor/outdoor with radiant floor heating and automatic waterers. It has its own heating, cooling, and ventilation system. The quarantine room also has a separate entrance and exit to eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination through the rest of the kennel. We also have a footbath that the kennel staff steps into whenever they enter or exit the quarantine area to avoid contaminating the rest of the facility.
The dog will have their temperature taken and tracked twice daily until they go home. The owners or emergency phone number will be contacted so they are aware of the situation. Our policy states that you must have someone available to pick up your dog within 24 hours in the event of them coughing. If we are unable to get in touch with you or your emergency contact, we will contact Dr. Larrimer of Franklin Park Veterinary Hospital who may want to examine the dog and prescribe antibiotics and/or cough suppressants.
Once we have the dog settled into the quarantine area, the cleaning process begins in the area of the kennel that the dog originated. The cleaning consists of dismantling that kennel to ensure that we disinfect every nook and cranny. The kennel gets soaped down with one of our disinfectants which we let soak for 10 minutes. While that is soaking, we soak the food bowls, water bowl, and water bowl attachments in hot, soapy water. While everything is soaking, we will clean the ceiling fans, exhaust fan, and ceiling vents in that section of the kennel. The kennel is then rinsed thoroughly, bowls washed, and everything gets put back together.
An End Note…
It is impossible for us to tell when there might be a dog here that has been exposed to canine cough prior to their arrival. Remember that the virus is sub-clinical meaning that it does not show visible signs of infection until up to 10 days after being exposed. We are making strong efforts to avoid an outbreak in our facility by requiring biannual Bordetella vaccinations, extensive cleaning and disinfecting procedures in our facility, and public awareness about the virus. While we make every effort to prevent the occurrence of Canine Cough in our kennel, we are unable to give 100% assurance that someone’s dog will not bring it to the kennel while boarding. This is similar to a teacher being unable to give you assurance that when your child goes to school s/he won’t catch a cold or the flu from another student.
Please remember that Misty Pines requires the Bordetella vaccination every six (6) months, so be sure to check your dog’s vaccinations and make sure he’s up-to-date. Scruffy needs to wait at least 5 days before visiting Misty Pines after receiving the Bordetella vaccination so if you have an upcoming reservation or you wanted to bring him to Daycare be sure to plan ahead and give yourself enough time.
Vaccination Requirements for All Services at Misty Pines Pet Company: All dogs must be current on Rabies, DHPP, and Bordetella (Bordetella every 6 months) vaccinations. The Leptosporosis (Lepto/L) vaccine is not required, however, Misty Pines highly recommends that your dog receives it. All pets must have received inoculations at least 10 days prior to their visit to Misty Pines. The waiting period will allow your dog to build sufficient immunity to the vaccinations which will make your dog less susceptible to catching or transferring any unwanted viruses. This includes new and updated vaccinations. Your pet cannot be over due for vaccinations – NO EXCEPTIONS. For example, if your pet is scheduled to visit Misty Pines on May 14 and received vaccinations on May 8, we cannot accept your pet due to the insufficient 10 day waiting period. Please bring vaccination records with you or fax to the Misty Pines office at 412-367-7387.
Vaccination Requirements for All Services at Misty Pines Pet Company: All dogs must be current on Rabies, DHPP, and Bordetella (Bordetella every 6 months) vaccinations. The Leptosporosis (Lepto/L) vaccine is not required, however, Misty Pines highly recommends that your dog receives it. All pets must have received inoculations at least 10 days prior to their visit to Misty Pines. The waiting period will allow your dog to build sufficient immunity to the vaccinations which will make your dog less susceptible to catching or transferring any unwanted viruses. This includes new and updated vaccinations. Your pet cannot be over due for vaccinations - NO EXCEPTIONS. For example, if your pet is scheduled to visit Misty Pines on May 14 and received vaccinations on May 6, we cannot accept your pet due to the insufficient 10 day waiting period. Please bring vaccination records with you or fax to the Misty Pines office at 412-367-7387.