Are kennels making your dog sick or depressed? Know the risks

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Finding the right place to put your four legged pooch while you're away on vacation can be difficult.

Michelle Milburn and her husband Chad ran into problems when they boarded Miah their husky.

While they had fun in the sun, Miah was getting sick and they quickly noticed something was wrong when they got home.

"She wouldn't eat, play and then she started throwing up," she said.

Milburn took Miah to the vet and she was diagnosed with kennel cough.

She called the boarding kennel. "So I called the kennel and is said hey my dog has kennel cough and I want you to know  and she said oh yeah we have been having a battle of that for about two weeks now," Milburn said.

Milburn said she wished she knew about this before she dropped off Miah.

"Everybody should fess up to what happens cause it does happen you can't avoid it," said Dr. Alex O'Roark who owns the Elyria Animal Hospital.

There are over five causes of kennel cough, but they only have vaccines for two.

O'Roark has a small boarding service for his clients and special need pets.

"I got in the business to be a veterinarian not to be a boarding kennel," he said.

He said he doesn't disapprove of the spa-like kennels.

"You can get everything you want from personal attention to group play," O'Roark said. "It' s nice it gives your dog's something to do especially if you are going to be a way for a prolonged period."

Here are his tips for keeping your doggo from getting sick.

"So, you want to get yourself prepared ... make sure you have all the vaccines that are needed," he added.

Two weeks prior to boarding dogs should be vaccinated.

Do your homework on what you are going to need --  tranquilizers ... do you need to take your own food, something that belongs to you or your dog?

Some dogs take time to relax when they are away from home.

"In my opinion, most of the dogs ... the more they go to the same place they get familiar with it the less it stresses them out," O'Roark said.

When your best friend gets home, it's normal for them to sleep a lot more than usual, he added.

Check out references, too. And visit the facility and do they have a plan if your dog gets sick.

"There are different ways of kenneling them where they have a chain linked front or  glass front of different kinds of bars," he said.

He also said there are dogs that do not like any type of boarding and like their home routine. For some dogs their home is their castle. Period.

In that case, a dog walker is probably best.

"Miah didn't mind be kenneled ... the problem is she brought kennel cough to the other dogs," said Milburn. Not being told about it is what upset Milburn the most who said she would have made other arrangements.

"No, I would never do that to her I would have called a family member and said come and hang out at our house while we go on vacation," she said.

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