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Injury Policy

Injury and illness do not occur often at Charming Paws, but risks like these exist any time dogs are together in groups, like daycare. It is similar to taking your dog to the dog park, the beach, or any other place your dog may congregate with others. However, due to our controlled environment, extensive knowledge of dogs and their behaviors, as well as our vaccine requirements, we believe the risk is much lower at Charming Paws, as we always keep safety as our top priority. 

If a dog sustains an injury or illness in daycare, some customers' first response would be to say "You weren't watching my dog" or "You got my dog sick", followed up with "You owe me for a vet visit". 

Instead of rushing to judgment and jumping to conclusions, we ask that all customers please step back and consider the following:


The number of injuries here is extremely low, and any injuries are normally fairly minor and easily treatable. However, when injuries do happen, we take them very seriously. We try to learn and improve from every situation.

If An Injury Has Occurred:

  • First, take a deep breath, and know that we are not the business that your emotions may be suggesting. The most important factor is communication, and we hope that we can keep it all as positive as possible.

  • Most of our employees have dogs, and we all care for the pups that visit us deeply. We understand that your pup is your baby, as all staff members feel the same way about our own dogs. Please do not assume that we do not care about your pup.

  • In times that an injury occurs, we will contact you via phone. If you have multiple phone numbers listed on your account, we will try a cell/work, or your representative and leave voicemails in case we cannot speak to you directly. 

  • We always strive to get to the bottom of situations, however, there are times where we may not have all of the answers. This does not mean we are being defensive, dishonest, not taking responsibility, or that our staff is not paying attention. It is a fact of life when working with animals that things happen quickly, and not everything always has an easy explanation.

  • If there is a bite injury, and it is challenging to understand the exact cause because there was no incident, this does not necessarily mean that there is an undercover aggressive dog who will do it again. Our staff normally know very quickly if a dog shouldn't be in play, and there could likely be other explanations.

  • Some customers want their small dog to play with big dogs, and vice-versa. We are the sole judge of which play group is most appropriate for each dog. If you see a big dog with small dogs, you should not assume that it is aggressive or doesn't belong. It could be old, very sedentary, or otherwise very gentle. We would not put small dogs at undue risk with a big dog who does not belong in that group. This is one reason for our required behavioral assessments pre-enrollment. 

How We Help Minimize the Risk of Bite Injuries:

  • We separate our daycare attendees into four separate play groups to ensure equal-sized play groups.

  • Our goal is 15-20 dogs per play group at the most monitored at all times. 

  • We do not leave dogs alone in play.

  • Dogs here for long boarding stays get extra breaks to prevent over-tiredness.

  • Our staff must patrol their designated play groups and watch for issues. They are not allowed to be on their mobile phones, other than snapping photos of the pups at play, or otherwise not pay attention. 

  • We do not allow dogs in play who show patterns of unacceptable aggression, as it is our goal that no injuries occur. This sometimes can be challenging, as a dog could snap unpredictably due to being tired or overwhelmed, and most cases are shades of gray instead of pure black and white. If a dog shows a pattern of snappy behavior, growling, etc., they would be pulled from play. We are the sole judge of whether a dog can come back into play in the future.

  • We no longer allow toys in play (unless directly supervised), as they can lead to aggression.

  • Dogs cannot be in play if they become aggressive towards specific breeds, sizes, colors, and so forth. It is impossible for Charming Paws to guarantee that your dog would never come in contact with another based on such specific criteria.

  • We separate dogs in play groups based on their size, temperament, play style, age, etc. We do not have one huge group for them all to play in.

  • We train our staff on behavior that is common for dogs, and even for specific breeds. This helps them watch for warning signs and de-escalate play when possible.

  • Some dogs require a break from the stimulation, and we watch carefully for this, giving extra nap time when it seems appropriate and necessary.

How Can a Bite or Scratch Happen?

  • It is not common that one dog is simply the aggressor and one is the innocent victim. One dog could snap at another, then the other retaliates, then another may jump in the mix, all in under three seconds. They are dogs, and this can be a part of pack behavior.

  • A bite or scratch can happen in a split second while playing, with no fight or scuffle, and the dogs could keep playing afterwards. They play with their teeth and nails and often do not intend to cause an injury to each other.

  • A puppy can have sharp nails or teeth, and some dogs have long nails. We try to catch this, and we try to communicate to puppy owners to keep puppy nails clipped, but some puppies can still come with sharp nails. There is not much that can be done about sharp teeth, except that dogs do not react well to them and can help a puppy learn to keep it gentle simply through pack behavior.

  • Some breeds, such as Boxers, Great Danes, and Bulldogs have very thin fur, which means they have little protection against scratches and play-bites. New owners of these breeds often find this out the hard way, but we do believe you will find scratches on your dog throughout its life, whether attending daycare or not.

  • Our staff is watching over a group of pups, and it is impossible for them to be everywhere at once. Otherwise, we would have one staff member for every pup here. However, this is not possible.

  • Ears and certain areas on the body such as the lower leg can have very thin skin and can be very sensitive to play-bites or scratches.

  • Dogs communicate by showing their teeth, sometimes by biting at the air when they want another dog to go away or back off.

  • Sometimes another pup does not understand the signals or social cues from other pups and retaliates, especially a younger dog or one who has not had a lot of experience at dog parks.

  • It is possible that when biting at the air, the dog actually connects with the other dog. It can be made worse if the other dogs pulls backwards, which could cause a tear instead of a minor puncture. Some injuries can be made worse due to this than they otherwise would have been.

  • Some dogs could simply be overwhelmed by being in play, especially because this is a larger group than they are used to at home, and they may not go to dog parks often.

  • Some dogs can get snappy when tired. If we know this is the case, we will give a break to those pups, but it may not be apparent that the dog is overly tired.

  • Humping is not allowed, as some dogs react very negatively towards it. Even though we repeatedly attempt to keep a dog from humping, it could still try. We would likely remove the dog from play, but it is a judgment call about whether the dog can come back into play.

  • We move dogs in groups to go to different rooms throughout each day. For example, we may take a group outside. A bite or other injury could occur when dogs are moving together like this, even if one jumps on another in excitement. It can be difficult to notice, and could happen with no warning, no scuffle, no yelp, and no prior aggression.

  • A dog can suddenly become territorial over something, such as a door, a staff member, and so forth, without showing prior warning signs. We try to help manage this, but cannot stop every dog in every instance, and this leads to difficult decisions about whether certain dogs can be in play.

  • Some dogs were recently rescued and the owners are trying give them a chance at socialization. We try to help with this effort, and we err on the side of caution when it's iffy. However, we do not want to immediately say a dog cannot be in play. On the other hand, we cannot have a dog in play who obviously can't handle it. It is a judgment call.

  • Some dogs are completely fine until a new dog enters the pack. It can be challenging to predict this, especially for new dogs. If a dog shows a pattern of aggressive behavior in these instances, we must make a decision about whether it can be in play, as it depends on the specific behavior.

  • We have unique features in our facility such as playground equipment, and boarding suites for overnight stays or break times, and a pup could injure itself from one of these features. For example, a dog could sustain an ACL injury while in play or jumping off a piece of playground equipment. Please understand the risks associated with these features.

Other types of injuries:

  • Limping

  • "Happy tail" - a situation that occurs when a dog wags its tail happily and forcefully, and smacks it against the wall or something similar

  • "Kennel nose" - a situation where a dog in a boarding suite rubs its nose raw, typically due to anxiety

  • Internal injury, which could happen for example if a bite caused something to rupture below your dog's skin

  • Aggravation of pre-existing injury. A bite or other injury could aggravate a pre-existing health condition.

  • We are not liable for these or similar situations.


How is it Possible that We Haven't Notified You of an Injury?

  • We would never hope that you do not notice an injury. Obviously, everyone would notice an injury sooner or later, and this would be foolish on our behalf. We will always inform you of injuries that we are aware of.

  • Sometimes a scratch or minor bite can be under a dog's fur and very difficult to notice, especially if a dog does not show signs of pain.

  • Please know that our staff does check each dog for injuries each day before sending them home at pick-up each night.

** Inspired by Tucker's Pet Resort

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