WOOF requires dog guests to be current on four vaccines:
- Canine influenza (recommended but NOT required!)
How often does my dog have to get vaccines?
We look to your veterinarian to determine the frequency of boosters and vaccine due dates. Due dates can vary based on many factors, all of which your veterinarian can discuss with you based on your dog’s age and health. Generally, vaccines are good from six months to one year to three years.
What if I don’t want to vaccinate my dog?
We will accept titers (a blood test confirming acceptable antibody levels in your dog’s system) as a substitute for vaccines if you decide you’d prefer not to vaccinate. However, if you don’t have a titer proving your dog is protected against the major communicable dog diseases, we can’t allow your dog to play in our pack because it may pose a health risk to our other guests.
Will you tell me when a vaccine is due?
Yes! We keep records in our system of your dog’s vaccine due dates and will inform you if there is a vaccine that is due prior to any boarding or daycare stay. We try to give you as much notice as possible! (For example, overdue vaccines are highlighted in red on your boarding confirmation emails.)
Do I need to bring my vaccine records with me?
Not necessarily! We prefer to call the facility where your dog received vaccines prior to your visit and get the information over the phone. This way we can flag any issues and let you know in advance if there’s anything further you need to do.
What if my dog gets sick?
By socializing with other dogs, your dog is susceptible to contagious illnesses, the most common of which is canine cough (also known as kennel cough.) Canine cough is essentially a doggie cold – very similar to the human cold in how it is spread and what symptoms are expressed. It’s typically harmless to most healthy dogs, running its course just as a human cold does. It can be harder on puppies, whose immunity is still developing, and older dogs, whose immunity may be compromised, but by and large it is nothing to worry about. This is a very good article on what canine cough is and why you should not be overly concerned.
My puppy is getting several rounds of vaccines – when can he/she come to WOOF?
We require that puppies have completed their second round of vaccines before being eligible to play at WOOF. This set of vaccines usually occurs at about 12 weeks of age.
The generally-accepted puppy vaccine schedule is as follows (however, each vet may follow a slightly different protocol):
8 weeks old – DH(L)PP #1 & Bordetella #1 (The L stands for Lepto, which may or may not be included in the Distemper-Parvo combo booster.)
12 weeks old – DH(L)PP #2 & Bordetella #2 (and possibly Coronavirus & Lyme)
16 weeks old – DH(L)PP #3 & Rabies (at this point, the Distemper and Rabies will be good for one year, and the Bordetella will be good for six months to a year, depending on the vaccine type and the veterinarian’s protocol.)
** ask your veterinarian about his or her recommendation of when your puppy should receive the canine influenza vaccine (note it is done in two rounds, two to four weeks apart) **
Note: The Bordetella vaccine is optional although encouraged for all dogs who intermingle with other dogs in order to protect them from the latest strain of canine cough. So if you plan to come to WOOF, you will definitely want to opt for this vaccine (in fact, we require it!)
Why do puppies get vaccines repeated over a period of months?
Until four months of age (16 weeks), puppies have a complex immunity – part of it is their own and part of it comes from their mothers. For this reason, we vaccinate pups frequently (from 8 weeks to 16 weeks) to ensure they are reliably protected against the most deadly and dangerous dog diseases (like Distemper, Parvo and Rabies).
Once they reach four months of age, the veterinarian gives them their “final” set of puppy shots, which have to be updated on a yearly basis. As your dog gets older, you veterinarian may advise you to update certain vaccines every two or three years, depending on the vaccine and the current research behind each vaccine’s length of efficacy.
Are you sure it is safe for my puppy to play at WOOF before they receive their final set of vaccines?
Yes. WOOF is a controlled environment in that we screen all dogs in our playgroups to make sure they are up to date on all relevant vaccines. Most vets will give puppy owners the advice, “you can let your puppy play with other dogs, so long as you know they are fully vaccinated.” At WOOF, that is a certainty.
Until your puppy receives her final round of vaccines (at four months of age) we recommend you keep her away from unknown dogs (don’t let her sniff or interact with dogs you meet on the street) and beware of letting her lick or play on surfaces where other unknown dogs may have been. You will definitely want to avoid dog parks until she has received her final round of vaccines.
Since it is not recommended to keep your puppy isolated until they are four months old, WOOF is a wonderful and safe place for puppies to meet other dogs, play and learn while they are receiving their series of puppy vaccines.
For more information about vaccines, read our blog, “Should we be afraid of the dog flu?“