Whether it be after boarding or even surgery, we get a lot of questions when pets return home after staying with us.

We have decided to write a few of these down so you can know what to expect (or at least not be alarmed by). Here are a few of the comments/questions we get:

“Oscar is acting like he's starving! Did he get fed while he was there?”

Of course!! Your pet was either fed the food brought when he was dropped off or our high-quality dry food if none was brought with him. Occasionally, dogs and cats do not eat as much while they board, so it is “normal” for them to play catch up once they return to their homes.

At doggie daycare, (unless it is a puppy), pets are not fed lunch. Just like my 3-year old son when he gets home from school, they have usually built up a huge appetite playing all day!

Of course, it goes without saying that after a surgery or dental visit, pets are hungry because they were fasted the morning of the procedure.

"Bailey drank a whole bowl of water when she got home. Was she allowed to drink water while she was there?"

All pets have access to water during their stay. That being said, when they are here just for the day, such as for daycare or grooming, they are given water when they are walked. This is to prevent them from splashing and turning over water bowls in the cages (and getting dirty). It is also normal for pets to feel more comfortable drinking water when they return home.

"Fido was really tired and slept the entire evening after I brought him home. He seemed worn out!"

If we did our job, your pet had lots of play time and exercise while boarding or in doggie daycare and is worn out! There's so much activity in our hospital that your pet is likely over stimulated and excited. Because of this, his sleeping pattern can change in the time spent with us, and he just needs to catch up on his zzzzz’s!! I usually feel like sleeping a lot when I come home from vacation as well. Typically after a good night’s sleep, Fido feels like playing again within the next 24 hours.

“Maggie’s stool is loose. Has she been having diarrhea while there?”

First of all, if your pet was having diarrhea, the staff and doctors would have contacted you and started them on medication. That's the good thing about boarding your dog or cat at a veterinary hospital - if they develop problems, the issues are addressed immediately.

Secondly, pets often experience excitement when returning home and are often rewarded with treats. So this “excitement” leads to colitis, a common cause of loose or watery stool. Some pet owners expect it and we arrange to send them home with preventative medicine.

We take every precaution at River City Veterinary Hospital to prevent viruses and parasites from being passed to your pet. Stalls, runs and cages are sterilized. We also require dogs to be checked every 6 months for parasites (unlike annually at most vet hospitals). This is the reason: some of the parasites we see are easily spread between dogs (Coccidia and Giardia) and are not prevented by monthly heartworm preventatives. We have staff that clean/scoop fecal material as soon as it hits the ground.

To recap, loose stool or diarrhea is not uncommon but please let us know if it continues for more than 24 hours once your pet returns home.

"The dates of my stay have changed. Can I have Butch stay 2 extra nights?"

We understand that plans may change and unforeseen events can occur, so we always strive to be flexible and accommodate our clients' schedule changes whenever possible. It's important to note that our capacity is comparable to a hotel with a limited number of rooms. During off-peak times, we can often accommodate requests to extend reservations. However, during our busiest periods, such as extended weekends, holidays, and spring break, our facility is frequently fully booked, with another dog likely scheduled to take your pup's spot on the day you originally planned to pick them up. As much as we would love to spend more time with Butch, regrettably, we won't always be able to extend your reservation.

"I picked up my dog, Winnie, from boarding a few days ago and I just noticed that she is coughing. Was she coughing during her stay? Should I be worried?"

We can assure you that if the staff had noticed Winnie coughing, or exhibiting any other signs of illness, you would have been notified immediately.

Winnie may have contracted Kennel Cough. Kennel cough is highly contagious and easily spreads in places where dogs come into close contact with each other. It’s similar to a child contracting a cold from school or daycare.

River City Veterinary Hospital takes very thorough precautions to minimize the risk of kennel cough outbreaks by requiring up-to-date vaccinations, segregating dogs showing symptoms, and maintaining strict cleaning and disinfection protocols. However, despite our best efforts, kennel cough can still occasionally occur.

In most cases, kennel cough is a self-limiting condition, meaning it will resolve on its own without specific treatment. However, it can take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks for the symptoms to improve and for the dog to fully recover.

During this time, it's common for the dog to experience a dry, hacking cough that may be more noticeable when they are excited or engaging in physical activity. In some cases, there may also be nasal discharge and mild lethargy.

While most dogs recover without complications, in some instances, the cough can persist or become more severe. If your pet’s symptoms worsen or they develop difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, or other concerning signs, it's essential to seek veterinary attention promptly. Your veterinarian can assess your dog's condition and recommend appropriate treatment, which may include medications to alleviate coughing or manage secondary infections if present.