The Health Benefits of Socializing our Furry Friends


Lori Zimmerman, owner of Pups@Play in Livingston, believes that the healthiest and happiest dogs interact with other dogs regularly. In a recent interview, Lori discussed keeping your dogs healthy in their daily dealings.

How are dogs socialized at Pups@Play?

We socialize dogs through our daycare programs. They may attend a full day, half day, or on an hourly basis. While dogs benefit and learn from other dogs what is inappropriate behavior, we always have a person available to divert a potential conflict and to reinforce correct behavior. 

Through socialization, your dog has more self-confidence, less anxiety and is more comfortable around other dogs and people.

What are some of the health risks associated with having your dog socialize with other dogs?

We live in a world with many germs, and there are risks to your dog interacting with other dogs. But just as you wouldn’t stop sending your kids to school, sports, or other activities because of potential illnesses in a germ-ridden world, your dogs should not be isolated either. With a few health precautions, the benefits of socialization outweigh the potential health risks.

The most common upper-respiratory ailment for socialized dogs is canine cough. Canine cough is an airborne disease and has an incubation of seven to ten days before symptoms appear. So, we can’t avoid this disease because we may not know beforehand if our dog has been exposed to it.  

Stomach viruses, or other infections or viruses, and the potential of catching a parasite from another dog is always a risk when in a communal setting. Dog flu is another potential hazard. We ask that parents stay vigilant in keeping their dogs’ updated with vaccinations– their dog is not acting right, we ask that they bring them to their vet instead of daycare. The reality is, no matter how clean a facility is, there are always these risks, just like a kid’s schoolyard.

How can we keep the socialized dog healthy?

The Bordetella vaccination is about seventy percent effective in preventing canine cough. However, different strains develop constantly, and we require that dogs be vaccinated twice a year, so that they have a better chance of not catching the current virus strain.   

Regarding dog flu, another vaccination provides some protection against this illness.

In general, it’s advantageous to have a socialized dog despite some health risks. The health risks are rarely life-threatening. A well-socialized dog is a happy dog. Socialization provides optimal health benefits by allowing your dog to exercise fully both mind and body.

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11 Jun 2018


By Christine S. Maxwell
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