Dogs are pack animals and creatures of habit, and they tend to do best when they have a consistent daily routine. Just like us, they all have their individual personalities, and some are much more adaptable and laid back than others, so they respond better to changes in their daily lives. Boarding your dogs can be stressful for them, just because it represents a different environment and schedule. Many will adjust beautifully after just a few hours or days, while others may experience stress-related difficulties. Following are some normal reactions that may occur with your pets while boarding, along with some tips to make it easier on them.
Stress in dogs can manifest in a number of ways. For one thing, they tend to pant more, which can make them more thirsty. Don’t be surprised if your canine companion drinks a lot of water right after they return from a boarding stay Bauschlussreinigung Moringen. You should not take it as an indication that the boarding facility did not provide water; simply understand that they need to replenish the fluids that they lost through panting (which is a dog’s way of sweating).
Another common manifestation of stress is vomiting and diarrhea. Diarrhea, in particular, is frequently seen in boarding pets. It can be caused by several factors, including a change in food from what they are used to eating at home to the brand that is offered at that particular boarding facility. Many pet resorts and kennels will permit you to bring your pet(s)’ own food from home, and may recommend it just to minimize the risk of diarrhea due to food change. If your furry child has any kind of food sensitivities, be sure to mention this to the staff when booking a reservation or checking them in, and ask if you can either bring your pet’s own food or if the facility offers any kind of bland diet for sensitive stomachs. Another main cause of diarrhea is related to the pet’s stress reaction from being away from home, and there is little that can be done to prevent this other than to work with the staff to try to make Fido’s stay as relaxing as possible.
Another common stress-related issue in boarding pets may be poor appetite. It is fairly common for dogs not to eat well for the first twenty-four or forty-eight hours after arrival. Particularly if you already have a picky eater, your pet may eat even less than they normally do at home. Good pet care facilities will try a variety of tricks to try to encourage eating, and should contact you for any tips on getting Fido to eat if he hasn’t done so within the first day or two.
Your pet may return home from a boarding stay and sleep more than he or she normally does for several days. As much as good pet boarding facilities try to minimize commotion, any doggie hotel stay will be more disruptive to a pet’s sleep cycle than his or her normal routine. It is busier, different pets may get excited and vocal at different times, and cleaning and potty schedules may not coincide with what he or she is used to at home. If your pet is not back to his or her normal self within a couple of days, a veterinary visit may be in order just to make sure there is not something else going on.
Much like in humans, stress in dogs can also cause weakened immune systems and make them more susceptible to a variety of illnesses. Canine cough, in particular, is a fairly common respiratory ailment that may result from a boarding stay. Although good quality facilities will require a vaccination called bordetella to minimize the risk of contracting canine cough, it is an airborne illness much like the human cold or flu and is contagious before pets exhibit any actual symptoms. The vaccination may not prevent all strains of the disease, though it should help to minimize the severity. But, different strains, coupled with lowered immunity due to stress, may result in your pet’s exhibiting signs of coughing and nasal discharge within a week to ten days of their return from a boarding stay. All a good boarding facility can do is to maintain rigid cleaning and disinfecting protocols, immediately isolate and seek veterinary care for any pets showing symptoms while boarding and refuse boarding to any pets who show up with signs of contagious illness. Staff cannot detect illness in asymptomatic dogs, nor can it isolate the airborne germs (which may come from blocks or miles away!). Just like children in school or daycare, any time you have a number of dogs in close proximity, the risk of infection increases.
So, what steps can you take to minimize stress for your dog when he or she goes for a visit to the local pet hotel? First, make sure that you are comfortable with the facility and the staff, and that they seem competent and caring. If possible (and particularly if your dog does not board often), you might arrange for a trial day or two before leaving your fur-kid for an extended stay. Many facilities offer dayboarding services, where you can drop your pet(s) off in the morning and pick them up in the evening. This helps them adjust to the staff and the accommodations, and the short stays help them understand that you will be coming back for them. Ask if you can bring favorite toys, blankets or bedding from home to make them more comfortable. If your pet enjoys the company of other dogs and is social, you might explore any doggie daycare opportunities at your particular facility. Dogs who participate in play at pet hotels on a regular basis seem to associate the facilities with fun and happy times, and adapt much more easily to boarding stays. Additionally, scheduling activities (whether doggie daycare, one-on-one playtime with staff, or any other offerings at that particular facility) helps keep them busy and less prone to stress-related ailments. Discuss different boarding options (standard kennel enclosures, crates, luxury suite private rooms) with the facility staff to help you choose the accommodations that will best suit your pet’s temperament.