Should you intentionally expose your dog to bacteria and viruses?

puppy training and socialization

Exposing your dog to bacteria and viruses proves to be a way to ensure the overall health of your dog.  Dogs who have strong immune systems are more likely to avoid health issues later in life.  Repeated exposure to bacteria and viruses bolster a strong immune system and could save you money in future vet bills.

We see all kinds of dogs here at DogJax.  We love all the different breeds that we get and the variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and temperaments.  We love that DogJax provides a place for all dogs to socialize, exercise and receive much needed mental stimulation.  We have seen the benefits of having dogs come in on a regular basis and help them be more social with other dogs, this is a great benefit of our Open Play concept.


We also see many different kinds of dog owners.  All have one thing in common; they love their dogs and want what is best for their health, happiness and welfare.  DogJax is happy to be a part of the overall health and happiness of all dogs!


One often overlooked benefit of social play is the exposure to virus and bacteria.  Yes, you read that correctly, I said benefit.  Though it may not seem like a benefit if your dog gets ill, the benefit of building strong immune systems is part of this open play concept.


I think back to my own youth and my mother taking me to play with the family down the street.  One of the young kids in that family had chicken pox.  My mother took me over to play with kids in the hope that I would get the chicken pox as well.  As I grew up and heard this story I began to understand the strategy: Get kids to be exposed to the virus young so they build up an immunity to it and they won’t get it while they are adults.  The same strategy can work with dogs.


Open Play facilities such as DogJax are a great place to get your dog exposure to virus and bacteria so they too can build their immune systems and support overall health.  I have heard countless stories from staff and customers that their dogs had contracted a bug or bacteria when they were younger, most likely from social play areas like dog parks, popular walking trails, or dog facilities and later in life haven’t contracted any more bugs or viruses.  This has been my experience as well.  The first week I brought my German Wirehaired Pointer to DogJax he contracted a small case of Kennel Cough.  He was a healthy dog at the time and had mild symptoms and I spoke with my vet about what to do.  We decided to wait out the symptoms and monitor him.  After about 10 days he was symptom free without antibiotics or treatment (much like our common cold and flu, it will pass in 7-14 days’ time).  He is now 3 years old and since that time he has come to the facility daily and has not contracted any more viruses or bacteria and is overall very healthy.


Our long time clients and staff have very similar stories.  Some of their dogs have come and never had any sickness or infections, others have had it initially but none since the first exposure.  Once the immune system adapts it has the proper defenses to take on new strains, or new exposures.  When we have seen Kennel Cough or Bacterial issues it is usually from dogs that have limited exposure to many different dogs and only socialize with neighbor dogs or friends and family’s dogs, with no mass exposure on a frequent basis.  Imagine if you lived in a cabin in the woods by yourself and then you decided to travel to the largest airport in the world or visit a school while the flu is going around.  I would bet that you would probably get sick without a working and hearty immune system.


Our main goal is to provide a Clean, Safe and Fun facility for your dog.  We disinfect the facility on a daily basis and often multiple times a day.  We do not want to have sick dogs any more than you do.  Please know that we do everything we can to limit the spread and exposure to virus and bacteria.  Even with all precautions we still see dogs that have symptoms of infection and when that happens we tend to see two different responses.  Some people get very upset and don’t quite understand how this happens and others understand that dogs are like kids that go to school and come back with the flu or other bugs they were exposed to in that social area.


We want to provide you and your dog an environment that best serves their health and overall wellness.  We hope that you can see the value in exposing your dog to our facility where they will have the opportunity to play, socialize, exercise and to bolster a healthy immune system.  If you have concerns about the health and wellness of your dog please contact us. If you have strong worries or concerns about your dog being in an “Open Play” environment with other dogs and potential for exposure to virus or bacteria, we recommend that you discontinue using our facility.


As always we appreciate both positive and negative feedback from you.  This is the only way we can create the best facility for you, your dog and our staff.

Please do not hesitate to contact us,  or 307.733.DOGS (3647)


Thomas Mikkelsen
General Manager