Boarding Kennel Stress in Dogs

 — Published 07-13-2018 by: Leonard Houser (Thunder Ridge Kennels)

Stress in dogs associated with being boarded in a kennel is fairly common. Although most dogs are perfectly fine, some will show varying degrees of stress which can be directly linked to the boarding experience. It can vary quite a bit from dog to dog in both intensity and duration. Some of the most common signs of boarding kennel stress include: excessive barking and whining, loss of appetite, pacing, depression, constant licking of the lips, diarreha, and vomiting.

Stress is most common in dogs which have not been boarded before. With first time boarding you can and should expect your dog to exhibit one or more of the symptoms listed above.

What causes Boarding Kennel Stress in Dogs?

There are a variety of factors which come into play here and, of course, just like people, different dogs react differently to new and unfamiliar places and things. One of the most common causes of stress in boarded dogs can best be described as seperation anxiety. Similar to taking a young child to a strange place and leaving them in the care of people he or she has never seen before, dropping your dog off at an unfamiliar place and then leaving can be expected to be stressful. Dogs get used to their surrounding and being somewhere new without the comfort of their people and/or other household pets combined with a new routine, strange smells, other unfamiliar dogs and different food will certainly cause some level of stress and anxiety.

Are All Dogs Affected?

No. Many dogs do just fine. Dogs that are accustomed to being boarded almost never show signs of stress and even some first timers do great as well. Dogs that are most susceptable to boarding stress include one which are: nervous, fearful, anxious, and even (beleive it or not) agressive dogs.

Minimizing Your Dog’s Stress While Boarding

OK, by now you are probably asking ‘Is there something I can do to minimize or eliminate my dog experiencing stress or anxiety while being boarded?’. The answer is, thankfully, yes. Although some dogs are more prone to stress than others and complete elimination of it is not always possible, it can most certainly be minimized if not eliminated.

Some of the best ways to minimize your dogs stress while being boarded include the following:

  • Take your dog along to visit the kennel, but take hime with when you leave.
  • Take your dog in for daycare a time or two before leaving him for an extended stay.
  • Visit with the kennel owner/operator before taking your dog in. Make sure your dog will be boarding with a knowledgeable and friendly kennel operator who understands dog behavior and is familiar with various breeds.
  • Take a familiar blanket or toy for your dog during his stay.
  • If possible, bring your own regular food. This is especially important in dogs that are finicky or have special dietary needs.

A good dog boarding facility will not only do their best to make your dog comfortable during his stay, but will have the knowledge and experience to identify signs of stress early and take steps to find and correct the cause whenever possible.

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