Boarding a dog can be a convenient and necessary option for pet owners who are traveling or unable to take care of their furry friend at home. However, one common concern that many dog owners encounter upon returning from boarding is that their dog is not eating. This can be a cause for worry as a decrease in appetite can be a sign of underlying health issues or anxiety.
In this article, we will explore the reasons why a dog may not be eating after boarding and what steps can be taken to address this issue.
My Dog Is Not Eating After Boarding: Why And What To Do
There are a few reasons why your dog may not be eating after boarding, including stress, changes in routine, and unfamiliar environment. Here’s what you can do to help encourage your dog to start eating again after boarding.
Reasons for Not Eating After Boarding
- Stress and Anxiety
Leaving their familiar environment and routine can be very stressful for dogs, especially when they are left in a new place with unfamiliar people and animals. This stress and anxiety can cause changes in their appetite and even lead to not eating at all.
- Changes in Routine
Boarding facilities have different schedules and routines compared to your home. Your dog may be used to eating at a certain time and in a certain place, and the change in routine may be causing them to not eat.
- Unfamiliar Environment
Dogs are very sensitive to changes in their environment. Being in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar smells and sounds can make them feel uncomfortable and lead to a loss of appetite.
- Motion Sickness
If your dog was transported to the boarding facility in a car or plane, they may experience motion sickness. This can cause nausea and loss of appetite for some time.
What to Do if Your Dog Is Not Eating After Boarding
- Give Your Dog Time to Adjust
It’s natural for your dog to take some time to adjust to their new surroundings. Give them a few days to settle in and get used to the new routine. As they become more comfortable, they may start to eat.
- Bring Familiar Items
If possible, bring some familiar items from home to help your dog feel more at ease. This can include their favorite toys, blanket, or even their regular food bowl.
- Stick to Their Regular Diet
It’s important to stick to your dog’s regular diet, especially when they are in a new environment. The change in food can also contribute to a loss of appetite. Bringing their food from home can help maintain their routine and make them more likely to eat.
- Ask for Special Accommodations
If your dog has a sensitive stomach or is a picky eater, it’s important to communicate this with the boarding facility. They may be able to make special accommodations such as feeding your dog at a certain time or providing their usual brand of food.
- Try Hand Feeding
Hand feeding can be an effective way to encourage your dog to eat. This allows you to give them small, bite-sized morsels and make mealtime more interactive and enjoyable for them.
- Offer High-Value Treats
Sometimes, offering high-value treats can entice your dog to eat. These can include small pieces of cooked chicken or cheese. Just make sure to not overdo it and disrupt their regular diet.
- Consider Supplements
If your dog is still having trouble eating after a few days, consult with your veterinarian about potentially adding supplements to their diet. Supplements such as probiotics or appetite stimulants may help encourage your dog to eat.
What Is Boarding In Dogs?
Boarding in dogs refers to the temporary housing and care of dogs by a professional boarding facility or individual, typically while their owners are away on vacation or unable to care for them due to other commitments. Boarding facilities provide a safe and comfortable environment for dogs to stay in, and typically offer services such as feeding, exercise, grooming, and sometimes even training. The length of boarding can vary from a few days to several weeks or even longer, depending on the needs and availability of the owners. Boarding is a popular option for dog owners who want to ensure their pets are well taken care of while they are away.
Dog Seems Depressed After Boarding
It is not uncommon for dogs to seem depressed after boarding. Boarding can be a stressful experience for a dog, and they may take a few days to adjust to being back home. Some common signs of depression in dogs include lethargy, lack of appetite, changes in sleep patterns, and changes in behavior. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it is important to give them some extra love and attention. Make sure they have a comfortable, familiar place to sleep, and spend some extra time playing and cuddling with them. It is also important to make sure they are getting enough exercise and fresh air.
Dog Separation Anxiety After Boarding
Separation anxiety is a common issue for dogs after boarding. It is not unusual for a dog to become anxious or stressed when they are away from their owners, and this can be exacerbated by the unfamiliar environment of a boarding facility. Some common signs of separation anxiety in dogs include excessive barking or whining, destructive behavior, pacing, or trying to escape. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it is important to take steps to help them feel more comfortable. You can try to provide them with some familiar items, like a favorite toy or blanket, and make sure they have plenty of exercise.
Dog Constipated After Boarding
If your dog is constipated after boarding, there are a few possible explanations. First, it is possible that the dog’s diet changed while they were away, which can cause digestive upset. Additionally, stress and anxiety can also cause constipation in dogs. If your dog is not passing stools normally, it is important to contact your veterinarian. In some cases, constipation can be a sign of a more serious health issue, so it is important to get your dog checked out. Your veterinarian may recommend a change in diet, supplements, or medication to help your dog get back on track.
Signs of Bad Dog Boarding
- Unhealthy or unclean living conditions: A sign of a bad dog boarding facility is dirty and unhygienic living conditions. This can include dirty or smelly kennels, overflowing or unclean litter boxes, and a lack of fresh water and food.
- Lack of supervision: Poor or inadequate supervision can result in unsafe or even dangerous situations for your dog. This can include inadequate staffing, long periods of confinement without any interaction or exercise, and a lack of proper security measures.
- Incorrect handling of dogs: If you notice staff being rough, impatient, or neglectful while handling dogs, it can be a sign of poor management and care. This can lead to behavioral and physical problems for your dog.
- Limited or no interaction with dogs: Dogs are social animals and require human interaction. If the facility does not provide adequate attention and socialization, your dog may develop behavioral issues such as anxiety, aggression, or loneliness.
- Lack of proper medical care: A reputable dog boarding facility should have the necessary medical supplies and trained staff to handle any medical emergencies. If you notice a lack of proper medical care or neglect of sick or injured dogs, it is a red flag for a bad boarding facility.
- Poor communication: A good dog boarding facility should have open communication with pet owners. If the staff is unresponsive or uncooperative with your requests for updates or concerns regarding your pet, it can be a sign of an unprofessional and bad boarding facility.
- Overcrowded facility: Overcrowding can lead to stress and discomfort for dogs, which can result in aggressive behavior or illness. If the facility has too many dogs and limited space, it may not be able to provide proper care for your pet.
- Lack of information or transparency: A good dog boarding facility should be transparent with their policies, prices, and care routines. If you notice a lack of information or hidden fees, it is a sign of a bad boarding facility.
- Negative reviews or word-of-mouth: Researching reviews and asking for recommendations from other pet owners can give you an idea about the quality of a boarding facility. If you consistently come across negative reviews or hear negative feedback, it is a red flag for a bad boarding facility.
- Your dog’s behavior changes after boarding: If you notice changes in your dog’s behavior, such as increased anxiety, aggression, or fear, after picking them up from a boarding facility, it may be a sign that they did not receive proper care and attention during their stay.
Dog Boarding Issues
Some common dog boarding issues include:
- Separation anxiety: Being separated from their owners and familiar surroundings can cause some dogs to experience separation anxiety. This can result in behaviors such as excessive barking, whining, or destructive behavior, making it difficult for the boarding facility to manage the dog.
- Health risks: When dogs are housed near each other, there is an increased risk of spreading diseases or infections. If proper hygiene and preventative measures are not followed, dogs can contract illnesses from other dogs in the boarding facility.
- Behavioral issues: Dogs may exhibit undesirable behaviors if they are not used to being in a boarding facility. This can include extreme shyness, aggression, or even depression.
- Lack of personalized attention: Unlike at home, where the dog receives individualized attention from the owner, boarding facilities often have a larger number of dogs to care for. This can result in a lack of personalized attention for each dog, leading to feelings of neglect.
- Compatibility issues: Not all dogs get along with each other, and when they are placed in a boarding facility, they may have to interact with other dogs that they are not familiar with. This can lead to fights or aggressive behavior.
- Injuries: In a boarding facility, dogs may be prone to injuries if they are not carefully supervised. This can be especially true if there are large dogs or aggressive dogs in the facility.
- Cost: Boarding facilities can be expensive, making it difficult for pet owners on a budget to afford them. Some facilities may also have hidden costs, such as additional fees for extra services or medication administration.
- Limited exercise and playtime: Boarding facilities may not have enough space or resources to provide dogs with enough exercise and playtime. This can result in boredom and restlessness for the dogs, leading to behavioral issues.
- Lack of familiarity: Dogs are creatures of habit, and being in a new environment without their usual routine and comforting smells can be stressful for them.
What Are The Side Effects Of Long-Term Boarding Dogs?
- Depression: Dogs are social animals and thrive on human companionship. Being separated from their owners for an extended period can lead to depression and loneliness in dogs.
- Anxiety: Long-term boarding can also cause anxiety in dogs, especially if they are not used to being in a new environment or are surrounded by unfamiliar dogs.
- Behavioral Changes: The stress of being in a new environment and away from their owners can cause dogs to exhibit new or unwanted behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing, and aggression.
- Lack of Exercise: Long-term boarding facilities may not provide dogs with the same level of exercise and stimulation that they are used to at home. This can lead to weight gain, boredom, and lethargy.
- Increased Risk of Illness: With multiple dogs in a confined space, long-term boarding facilities can be breeding grounds for illnesses and infections. This is especially true for older dogs or those with weaker immune systems.
- Loss of Training: Dogs may forget their training and obedience skills if they are not reinforced consistently. This can be frustrating for both the dog and the owner when they are reunited.
- Cost: Long-term boarding can be expensive, and the costs can add up quickly, especially for multiple dogs. This can be a financial burden for pet owners and may affect their decision to board their dogs for an extended period.
- Bonding Issues: Dogs can form strong bonds with their owners and being separated for a long time can disrupt this bond and make it harder for them to readjust when they come back home.
- Increased Risk of Injury: With multiple dogs in a boarding facility, there is always the risk of fights and injuries. This can be a concern for pet owners, especially if their dog is older or has health issues.
- Trust Issues: When dogs are constantly moved from one boarding facility to another, it can affect their ability to trust strangers and may make them warier in new environments and people.
Q. Is it common for dogs to get sick after boarding?
A. It is not uncommon for dogs to get sick after boarding. It is estimated that up to 30% of dogs will experience some type of illness after being in a boarding facility.
Q. What medication is good for dogs who won’t eat?
A. Several different medications can be prescribed to help dogs who are not eating. Some common medications include mirtazapine, cyproheptadine, and metoclopramide. Mirtazapine is an antidepressant that is sometimes used to stimulate appetite in dogs. Cyproheptadine is an antihistamine that can also stimulate appetite, and metoclopramide is a medication that helps to improve gastrointestinal motility.
Q. How long does it take for a dog to adjust after boarding?
A. The length of time it takes for a dog to adjust after boarding can vary depending on the individual dog and their temperament. However, most dogs will start to settle in within a few days to a week. Some dogs may experience more anxiety and stress than others and may take a bit longer to adjust.
Q. Is it normal for my dog to be exhausted after boarding?
A. Yes, it is completely normal for your dog to be exhausted after being boarded. Boarding can be a very stressful experience for dogs, as they are taken out of their normal environment and routine, and are exposed to new people, animals, and smells.
In conclusion, it is common for dogs to experience a change in their eating habits after boarding. This can be due to stress, different food being offered, or a change in their routine. Pet owners need to monitor their dog’s behavior and consult with the boarding facility and veterinarian if the lack of appetite persists for more than a few days. Proper steps like sticking to their normal diet, offering familiar and appetizing foods, and providing a stress-free environment can help encourage the dog to eat again. Ultimately, it is important to be patient and understanding with your dog as they adjust to the new changes.