Some dogs do not fare well in kennels. Boarding Kennels Stress is a term that is regularly used to describe negative mental or emotional tension that some dogs feel when they are boarded in kennels.
There are many reasons why this might be happening, and there are a few things that can be done about it. Although some dogs just do not cope well in kennels and boarding them should be avoided.
Table of Contents
- Why Are Kennels Stressful for Dogs?
- Are Kennels Bad For Dogs?
- Why is My Dog Acting Strangely After Staying in a Kennel?
- Can Dogs Become Traumatized After Boarding?
- Are Kennels Good For Dogs?
- How Can I Help My Dog With Kennel Anxiety?
- What Are the Signs of Anxiety in Dogs?
- Will My Dog Be Okay In Kennels?
- How Do I Choose the Right Kennel?
Why Are Kennels Stressful for Dogs?
The number one reason that dogs get stressed in kennels is that they are away from their ‘pack’.
Even if you live alone, your dog has grown to think of your household as a pack and dogs have evolved to stay close to the pack in order to survive. Their survival instincts kick in when you are absent for too long, or you leave them in an unfamiliar place. Most dogs experience at least a little stress when left at a new kennel for the first time.
Other potential stressors include:
Are Kennels Bad For Dogs?
If your dog is healthy, and the kennel is operating at a good standard then no, kennels are not bad for dogs.
The problem is that some kennels are not reputable. In order to make as much profit as possible, poor quality kennels undercut their expenses by hiring untrained staff, supplying bad or little dog food, and do not invest in the facilities that dogs need to keep them happy.
That’s why visiting a kennel before you let your dog stay there is crucial. Also, ask for recommendations from other dog owners who have boarded their dogs before.
Why is My Dog Acting Strangely After Staying in a Kennel?
If your dog is displaying strange behavior after boarding it may not necessarily mean you have sent them to a bad kennel. Dogs sometimes sulk and display behaviors when they are displeased with you, such as avoiding eye contact or acting distracted and distant.
Usually, this is short-lived and they forgive your absence and get back to normal. However, if your dog is displaying signs of nervousness and anxiety and it continues for more than a few days, you may want to take them to a vet and contact the kennel.
Can Dogs Become Traumatized After Boarding?
Yes, it has been known that some dogs can become traumatized after spending time in a kennel.
Dogs express trauma in different ways. They may be aggressive, or panting heavily, they may pin their ears back and cower, or they may begin barking continuously.
The trauma occurs either because they were mistreated at the kennel, got in a particularly vicious fight with another dog that was not handled well, or they can become traumatized by your absence and thought they had been abandoned.
Are Kennels Good For Dogs?
If you find a good kennel with great facilities and excellent staff, your dog can be very happy there.
In fact, a lot of dogs love being boarded in kennels. It is an excellent opportunity for them to socialize with other dogs and make new friends.
Good boarding kennels have a lot of different toys available and have doggy jungle-gyms so they can get plenty of exercise and have lots of fun too!
Good kennels are like a mini-break for your dog. Dogs that get to know a kennel and go there regularly are happy to stay and do not show any signs of stress on their return home.
How Can I Help My Dog With Kennel Anxiety?
If you have established that your dog is anxious after boarding only because they have missed you, then they are suffering from what is known as separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is when you leave your dog and they become stressed and display negative behaviors when you return.
To help them with this, follow these steps:
Give your dog lots of love and attention on their return home. Send them the message that they are welcome and you missed them too.
When your dog is behaving normally again, lock them in their crate (if they like their crate) and leave for a few minutes. Make sure to leave lots of toys and familiar objects around.
When you return, let them out and give them lots of attention again.
Repeat the process, extending your period of absence by a few minutes each time
This exercise will help your dog to learn that just because you have left, you have not gone forever.
If you practice this regularly, your dog should be able to better adjust to their time in kennels.
What Are the Signs of Anxiety in Dogs?
Dogs can display a variety of behaviors when they are anxious, therefore it is common that anxiety is mistaken for other issues.
Common anxiety behaviors in dogs are:
Restlessness and pacing
Will My Dog Be Okay In Kennels?
As a dog owner, it is up to you to some degree to prepare your dog for kennel boarding and assess its ability to adjust.
If your dog is sick, old, or has a history of nervousness or aggression then boarding kennels are not suitable for them, even for a short while. No matter how good the kennels are, any change in their environment plus your absence can have a harmful impact on them.
But if your dog is healthy, well socialized, and has had all its vaccinations then your dog should be okay. Just like being dropped off for your first day of school, your dog may be a little nervous and unsure at first but should adjust well within a short time
How Do I Choose the Right Kennel?
Your first point of call is to ask a respected source about boarding kennels in your area. Your vet, local animal shelter, a trusted neighbor or friend are great places to start looking for recommendations.
Secondly, be sure to visit the kennel yourself. Good kennels have nothing to hide and will welcome a visit anytime during opening hours. It’s great if you can bring your dog along to the visit too! That way the kennel will not be so unfamiliar when they stay there.
However, all good kennels will not allow entry to dogs that do not have their vaccination certificates on hand. If you wish to bring your dog along, call ahead and make sure you bring the right paperwork.