It’s exciting looking forward to going on holiday, but the downside is that you can’t always take your dog with you. This of course leaves you with a decision regarding dog boarding options.
Until the relatively recent introduction of alternative dog boarding choices, such as Barking Mad’s home dog boarding service, the only real option was boarding kennels. Despite this having been the common solution for many years, it is fraught with pitfalls. Not least is the stress it can cause to your dog during boarding.
Dogs feel anxiety in much the same way as humans. Imagine if you were taken to a strange place, full of people you didn’t know, your home comforts were taken away from you, your routine was turned upside down and you didn’t know how long you would be there for. You’d almost certainly find this a distressing and upsetting situation. Dogs can - and often do - feel the same about this method of boarding.
The owner might not realise quite how stressful their dog has found its boarding experience, as the sheer relief at being collected manifests itself in much tail wagging, bouncing around, enthusiastic greetings and general excitement. The owner can therefore mistake this for the dog being happy, having had an enjoyable boarding experience.
Sadly, the reality can be quite different.
When being boarded alongside many other dogs, some of which might be barking, whining or showing other signs of being stressed, this can immediately unsettle your dog upon arrival. When you add to this the new surroundings, strange smells, restricted pen size, lack of home comforts and being separated from you, it’s easy to understand how your dog might feel.
The stress of dog boarding at kennels can manifest itself in many ways, both physical and psychological:
• A loss of appetite may occur due to a change in diet, altered feeding times, or stress alone.
• Many dogs experience an upset stomach due to the above changes.
• Dogs who are not used to being in confined spaces can become depressed, or pace around in circles. Even worse, some will try to find a way out by banging themselves against the walls and doors.
• Sometimes dogs from the same household, who are used to being together, will be separated into individual pens due to a large enough pen being unavailable. This can cause additional separation anxiety in addition to already missing their owner.
• When in the care of people they are unfamiliar with, dogs can sometimes become aggressive, due to fear and feelings of self-defence.
• Negative behaviours such as chewing and excessive barking can materialise, as a result of distress or boredom.
• Some kennels exercise dogs in groups, which can lead to dog fights and injury. The risk of this is heightened when compared with usual situations, as the dogs are likely to be feeling stressed or under pressure.
• There is often not enough human interaction, fun or enrichment to prevent your dog from just lying around missing you, which can lead to separation anxiety and depression.
• Dogs may never become used to the kennel environment. Despite repeat visits, the reality is that there will always be different dogs, different smells and different things going on during each visit, so the whole experience will not feel familiar.
Whilst nobody intends to cause the dog any harm or unnecessary upset, and despite the best will of the employees, the boarding environment in kennels, just by its very nature, can be extremely stressful.
Luckily these days there is more choice in terms of dog boarding, including home boarding with professional carers. This solution provides dogs with a home-from-home environment where all their individual routines and needs can much more easily be met. Remaining in a comfortable home environment, albeit not their own, significantly reduces the anxiety of boarding.
At Barking Mad we take the time to get to know your dog and fully understand its personality and requirements. We will help you select the best home boarding option for your dog from our carefully selected team of carers across the UK. Every dog is treated as an individual and we will attentively ensure your dog is coupled with the most appropriate home for his or her needs.
Our mission is to be admired for delivering a premium dog sitting solution as an alternative to traditional dog boarding kennels. Our tailor made service provides complete peace of mind to owners, knowing that their companion is in the safe hands of one of our dog-loving carers who will attend to their every need.
If you’ve not done so already, we would urge you to try this less stressful boarding option.
Your dog will thank you for it.