Puppy Day School Health Commitment

To help ensure the well-being of your pet and guard against the spread of common canine colds, we take our responsibilities seriously.

On arrival each morning, we visually screen puppies for signs of illness or injury before admitting them to the building. We may ask you questions about their health at home.

In addition, our cleaning and health regimen includes the following:

  • Daily cleaning and sanitizing of the facility including surfaces, crates, bowls and equipment.
  • Communal water bowls are not used in our facility. Each dog is provided with their own fresh water.  
  • If a puppy in our care presents with illness, they are immediately isolated from the other dogs and the family is called for pickup.
  • Puppies must have been in the home 10 days and free from illness before starting the program.
  • Any anomalous behavior, such as pain or lethargy is reported to the family immediately.

These areas are all within our control, but we need your help to be as effective as possible.

To help ensure the well-being of your puppy and guard against the spread of infectious diseases to other puppies, we recommend that you speak with your vet about the Bordetella vaccine in addition to your required puppy series, however it is important to note that even though a puppy has received the Bordetella vaccine, they may still contract a cold. Like with human vaccines, the most common strains are in the vaccine cocktail for that season, but we are not guaranteed that all variants will be covered. Anecdotally, this seems to be most prevalent in the winter months, just as our colds are, but can happen at any time of year.

Please keep your puppy away from dog parks while in the program and if possible, off the ground at the vet's office where sick dogs are likely to be to decrease likelihood of contracting an illness.

It goes without saying that sick pets should not be brought to school.

  • Runny Nose
  • Frequent Sneezing
  • Excessive discharge from eyes and nose)
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea

All of the above can be attributed to other common things too, such as allergens, irritants, and diet, so please factor for what is normal in your dog and if there is question, consult with your vet. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept dogs with active symptoms into the school until symptoms are diagnosed by a vet and/or cleared for return. If your dog is diagnosed with canine cough during or after a stay with us, please notify us. Providing this information helps us to protect the health of other dogs in our programs.

We can decrease risk together, but cannot fully prevent dogs with colds from spreading germs

Keep in mind that the virus is spread by either airborne or direct contact situations and symptoms may not appear for 10 days.

While we are fortunate to have a zero incident record with serious illness in our 11 years in business, canine colds, like those for humans are not 100% preventable and we can only work to prevent them by adhering to our strict cleaning, sanitization, and visual checks; and requesting that our families do the same. It is not only important to us from a health standpoint, it's also best practice from a business perspective. We REALLY don't want a bunch of dogs getting sick. Financially, it really impacts the bottom line.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about canine colds

  • What is it?
    Canine cough are a cluster of contagious respiratory illnesses. In a nutshell, it's the common cold for dogs. For healthy puppies, this is generally not serious, though can become more serious if your pet is immuno-compromised or you have an immuno-compromised dog also living in the home. Only your veterinarian can diagnose canine cough and provide treatment, if necessary. It is important to report coughing or excessive sneezing to your veterinarian because treatment varies depending on diagnosis. I.e. allergies are treated differently than a virus. 

  • What are the symptoms of a Canine Cold?
    Most cases are mild and consist of a dry, hacking cough, sneezing and nasal discharge, and last from one to two weeks. Some dogs may carry the virus and show no symptoms, yet they can shed the virus and infect other dogs. Symptoms may not appear during the incubation period for up to 10 days. This is where the difficulty lies in preventing it fully.

    If your dog has canine cough, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

    • A strong cough with a "honking" sound
    • Runny nose & Sneezing (in our experience, this is often the first symptom)
    • Lethargy
    • Loss of Appetite
  • How is Canine Cough spread?
    As with other respiratory pathogens, canine cough is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact, respiratory secretions, aerosols generated by coughing and sneezing, and contact with contaminated environments. The virus can also contaminate surfaces such as collars and leashes, and the clothing of people who handle infected dogs. The risk of infection is highest when large numbers of dogs are congregating in close quarters, such as dog parks, shelter facility, boarding and daycare facilities, and dog shows, etc. 

  • My dog is vaccinated, can they still get it?
    Yes. It depends on several factors, including the age of the dog, the state of the dog's health and immune system, the specific strain of the virus, when the vaccine was administered, etc. 

  • Why recommend a vaccination if the vaccine is not always effective?
    Although not 100% (like any vaccine) the vaccine does help prevent outbreaks of the disease and helps mitigate symptoms if the virus is contracted.

  • What action does Rocky Mountain Dog Training take if a dog appears to have a cold? 
    Keep in mind that only a veterinarian can diagnose canine cought as the symptoms are similar to other ailments. However, if a dog in our care appears to have the symptoms of a cold or other illness, we contact the owner immediately to pick up their dog. In the meantime, we keep the dog isolated.

  • Does Rocky Mountain Dog Training pay for the treatment of Canine Cough or other illness?
    No. Just as you would not expect an elementary school to pay for a child contracting a cold, we do not pay for the treatment of sick pets. It is a calculated risk that is agreed upon to take when weighing socialization benefits and the limited age range for this developmental period in puppies.

Other Illnesses
While we don't see other types of illness frequently in this climate, we do sometimes see gastrointestinal issues. This is most commonly attributed to a quick shift in food ration it type, however, if it persists with no known cause, or continues for over 24 hours, or is accompanied by mucous in the stool it's recommended you have a vet get eyes on it. Puppies can get an overgrowth of bacteria in their gut for unknown reasons, giardia lives in soil, etc. If they are spending a lot of time eating items off the ground or in wet places this increases risk. Because giardia can cause dehydration, it is important to seek medical attention if diarrhea persists for 24 hours or becomes more serious over time.

Our Promise
We will always strive to do our very best by your puppies. Their success is important to us, our entire team dedicates themselves to both their physical and behavioral health. With a limited window for socialization, we work extremely hard to keep them safe so that their need for puppy socialization is met before the opportunity is lost and that developmental window is closed. Well beyond what is required by industry standards, but that we feel is important for their safety. We care a great deal about and become close to each of our students so we appreciate you being on our team with our efforts in this and preventing illness in every way we can!

Please Note: Always contact your veterinarian for medical advice. This information is for general information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose any illness or take the place of professional medical advice from your veterinarian.