How to get and stay on top of animal care in your shelter with daily rounds

How do animal shelters get and stay on top of the needs of the animals in their care? One day at a time.

That’s not esoteric philosophy. It’s the very practical principle behind daily rounds, a simple-to-implement practice that ensures no animal’s general, medical, or behavior needs fall through the cracks.

Daily rounds are part of a population management plan intended to “enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of each and every animal that’s in the shelter, as well as to increase the lifesaving capacity of the shelter as a whole,” said Dr. Brian DiGangi at the 2011 Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Conference at the University of Florida. Daily rounds allow shelter staff to answer these critical questions:

  • Who are you? Is the animal correctly identified, and does the cage card match the pet in the cage or run?
  • How are you? How is the animal medically abd behaviorally? What symptoms is she or he showing?
  • Are you where you should be? Is the animal sick, yet housed in the general population? Is the animal a neonatal kitten or puppy at risk of disease from being housed with older animals?
  • Do you need something today? Does he or she need veterinary care, enrichment, a break in a foster home, different housing, behavior modification?

“We have a planned route through the shelter,” said Dr. Stephanie Jacks at the 2011 conference. “We start in our adoption facility and work our way to isolation, not just for control of disease spread through the shelter, but also so we know what animals we have in adoptions. So when we’re walking through and looking at the different pathways, we might change some animal’s pathway after seeing what is being held up in adoptions.”

Because it’s hard to take proper care of your animals if your building is in need of repair, daily rounds can also include your shelter facility.

“Facility rounds might be when people go around the shelter and make an assessment of the general building,” DiGangi said. “Are there doors that are broken or need to be fixed? Are the aisle-ways clear of clutter? Is it safe for people to walk through?”

View the two parts of Dr. DiGangi’s and Dr. Jacks’ presentations and read the complete transcripts at the links below:

More Than Medicine: The Veterinarian’s Role in Daily Rounds (Parts 1 and 2)

Transcript, Part 1

Transcript, Part 2

But wait… there’s more! We’ve pulled together documents and checklists to help your shelter perform daily rounds:

Daily Observation Sheet

Daily Rounds Action Liist

Daily Veterinary Checklist

Feel free to use the documents as-is, or adapt them to your needs: