With the holiday season now upon us, many pet parents will soon bid their beloved dogs farewell for a much-deserved break. For many, this will include placing your dog in a dog kennel.
Boarding dog kennels naturally provide a safe environment for your furry friend, where they will undoubtedly be looked after. However, both dogs and cats can find being away from their owners in a new environment stressful.
What are the signs of dog kennel stress?
Kennel stress in dogs can affect them in various ways and show different signs and symptoms. How dogs react to this stress will vary based on their own unique personalities, some may react with aggression, some may bark or whine, and some will hide and retreat, often eating less and being less responsive. Some dogs can even display repetitive behaviours such as circling, spinning, or pacing.
Supporting your dog’s resilience and reducing their stress with some pre-planning and support can help to build their skills and flexibility when encountering new and unusual situations.
The unfamiliar aspects of a kennel environment often cause kennel stress. It’s a noisy place with other dogs around, and they are away from the usual routine and smells of home.
Top tips for reducing stress for kennelled dogs
- Do your research and get recommendations.
- Ensure you pick a reputable boarding kennel. They should be licensed by the local authority.
- If your dog has never been to a kennel before, speaking to the kennels in advance is beneficial.
- Consider booking trial visits for a few hours at the kennels for your pet. This allows them time to get used to their new surroundings so when they are staying for longer it’s not new and unknown.
- Ideally, if you have a puppy or a young dog, you want to book those visits and trial stays in early in their socialisation and development to again build on those learned experiences.
- Your dog might find comfort in familiar smells from home with their own bed or a toy or personal item. Check requirements with your kennel.
- Abrupt changes in diet can cause stomach upsets and additional stress so arrange for the kennels to feed their normal food.
- Talk to your vet about a health check. Make sure they are up to date on vaccinations and otherwise well.
- If you are concerned about anxiety, then discuss the use of pheromones or calming supplements with your vet.
- Speak to your kennel about what tools they use and how they enrich your dog’s stay to make it a happier and less stressful time.
Kennelling can be a stressful and uncertain place for your dog, but taking the time to prepare them and considering their needs can go a long way to mitigating the serious adverse effects of kennel stress, providing you with peace of mind while you enjoy a hard-earned holiday.