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My Dog Is Not Eating After Boarding [Why & What To Do]

My Dog Is Not Eating After Boarding.

If you own a dog and need to board them while you’re out of town, there may come a time when your dog stops eating after being boarded. This can be very worrying! The good news is that it’s rarely something to worry about, and it can be easily fixed in most cases. The next time this happens to you, you’ll know exactly what to do!

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What Is Boarding In Dogs?

Dog boarding, also known as dog sitting, refers to overnight care for your furry friend. It’s like a hotel for dogs, offering a safe and comfortable place for them to stay while you’re away on vacation, business trips, or any other situation where you can’t take them with you.

There are different types of dog boarding facilities to choose from:

  • Traditional kennels: These offer individual runs or enclosures for each dog, with regular feeding, potty breaks, and exercise time.
  • Dog hotels and resorts: These provide more upscale accommodations, with spacious play areas, group social time, and even amenities like swimming pools and spa treatments.
  • In-home pet sitting: This involves a professional pet sitter staying at your home to care for your dog, offering a familiar and stress-free environment.
  • Private dog boarding: This means your dog stays with a dog lover in their own home, providing a more personalized and relaxed experience.

Why Is My Dog Not Eating After Boarding?

My Dog Is Not Eating After Boarding [Why & What To Do]

It’s understandable to worry if your dog isn’t eating after boarding. There are several possible reasons for this, and most are not immediately concerning. However, it’s important to consider the duration and severity of their lack of appetite, as well as any other symptoms, to determine the best course of action.

Here are some potential reasons your dog might not be eating after boarding, along with what to do:

Normal adjustment:

  • Stress: Boarding can be stressful for some dogs, leading to temporary loss of appetite. This usually resolves within 24-48 hours. Offer small, familiar meals and encourage them to eat. Ensure they have plenty of fresh water.
  • Change in routine: Boarding disrupts their usual feeding schedule and environment. Stick to their regular feeding schedule at home and offer their usual food.
  • Travel fatigue: If they travelled far for boarding, they might be tired. Give them time to rest and adjust.

Other possibilities:

  • Upset stomach: Boarding environments can sometimes expose dogs to new bacteria, leading to mild digestive upset. Offer bland food like boiled chicken and rice, and monitor their stool. If diarrhea persists, consult your vet.
  • Underlying health issue: Less likely, but possible. If your dog exhibits other symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea, consult your vet immediately.

If the dog continues to refuse food, talk with the veterinarian about what other options are available. If you notice that your pet starts losing weight while he/she’s away at board or if there’s a change in his/her personality when he/she returns home, it might be time for a veterinary visit.

Stressful Situations That May Cause Loss of Appetite in Dogs


Dogs can be sensitive to the emotions of their owners. If you are in a high stress situation, your dog may pick up on that and not want to eat as well.

The good news is that this will usually go away once the stress is gone. Dogs may also lose their appetite if they are sick or have an injury that prevents them from eating normally, such as a broken jaw or dislocated elbow.

You’ll need to take your dog to the vet for treatment before he starts feeling better. He’ll need time and attention too. Be sure you give him plenty of treats and pats on his head when he eats – it might help him regain his appetite more quickly!

How To Get Your Dog To Eat After Boarding


If your dog does not eat after boarding, here are some reasons for the behavior as well as a few things you can do to try and get your pup to eat again.

Your dog may not be feeling well. If your pet appears lethargic or is vomiting, take them to see a veterinarian ASAP.

The food may have upset their stomach. Feeding dogs different foods from what they are used to can sometimes lead to an upset stomach. Try feeding small amounts of bland foods like boiled chicken breast, rice, boiled potatoes and white bread until your dog’s appetite returns on its own.

They might be stressed from being in unfamiliar surroundings with new people and animals. Give it time before assuming that this is the cause of the lack of appetite because often dogs will adjust within a day or two.

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Try Different Foods


When your dog won’t eat, it’s important to try different foods until you find one that they like.

There are a number of things that could be causing your dog not to eat including illness, stress, or boredom. Boredom is the most common reason and sometimes the only thing you need to do is provide more stimulation for them when they’re home alone.

If you notice that your dog is no longer eating but still drinking water, call your veterinarian immediately as this may be a sign of an underlying medical problem.

Also Read: 15 Reasons Why Dachshunds Are the Worst Breed

Add Some Flavor

My Dog Is Not Eating After Boarding [Why & What To Do]


If your dog is not eating after boarding, there are a few things that you should do to help get them back on track. First, be sure they are getting the right type of food.

Dogs can have preferences for wet or dry food, and some dogs may even prefer different flavors of the same type. Be sure to try different options until you find what your dog likes best.

Second, give it time. Some dogs need to adjust when coming home from a boarding facility due to being stressed or tired from being cooped up in one place.

Give your dog time and then reintroduce their favorite meal in small portions to see if they’ll eat it.

Warm Up the Food


If your dog is not eating, you should try warming up the food.

Dogs can be picky eaters and may not want to eat cold food. The best way to warm it up is to put it in a bowl and then microwave for 3 minutes.

Alternatively, you could also put some water into a pot and bring it to a boil on the stovetop before putting in the bowl of food. You will need to mix this around so that everything warms up evenly.

If your dog still doesn’t eat after trying these tips, make sure that you take him or her back to see their vet as soon as possible!

Serve Smaller Meals More Often


One trick is to divide the food into smaller meals, and feed your dog more frequently. The idea behind this is that your pet will eat a little bit at a time and not feel hungry for long periods of time.

Another option is to switch from dry kibble food to wet canned or raw meat based foods which can be rehydrated with water if necessary.

You can also mix the wet and dry kibble together or serve moistened soft foods like baby cereal mixed with a protein source (such as boiled eggs).

Take Your Dog on a Walk


After a long day at the boarding facility, your dog may not have the energy to go on a walk. Take them on a short walk before bedtime and make sure you have plenty of fresh water to drink.

When it’s time for dinner, try warming up their regular food with some canned soup. Make sure to cut back on dry food or treats in order to avoid stomach upset.

Don’t worry if they don’t eat right away, but be vigilant and keep an eye out for any signs of illness such as vomiting or diarrhea.

If they don’t eat within 24 hours after arriving home, it’s time to see the vet.

Signs Of Bad Dog Boarding

It’s crucial to choose safe and responsible dog boarding to ensure your furry friend’s well-being. Here are some red flags to watch out for that might indicate bad dog boarding:

Before your stay:

  • Lack of transparency: If they refuse to show you the facilities, answer your questions openly, or provide references, it’s best to look elsewhere.
  • Unpleasant smells: A strong odor of urine, feces, or disinfectant can indicate poor hygiene and sanitation practices.
  • Overcrowding and lack of supervision: Cramped kennels with few staff members raise concerns about individual attention and safety.
  • Vaccination policies: They should require proof of updated vaccinations to protect all animals.
  • Unprofessional staff: Look for knowledgeable, caring, and trained staff who can handle different dog personalities.

During your stay:

  • No updates or communication: Responsible facilities offer regular updates about your dog’s well-being.
  • Unanswered calls or messages: Difficulty reaching staff raises concerns about responsiveness and accountability.
  • Changes in your dog’s behavior: Excessive nervousness, lethargy, or withdrawal upon pickup could indicate stress or mistreatment.
  • Physical signs: Unexplained injuries, weight loss, or matted fur can signal neglect or improper care.
  • Illness shortly after pickup: Kennel cough or other contagious diseases suggest poor hygiene or inadequate protocols.
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Also Read: Do Dogs Heal Faster Than Humans?

Dog Separation Anxiety After Boarding

It’s quite common for dogs to experience some level of separation anxiety after boarding. Being away from their familiar environment and routine, coupled with the stress of boarding itself, can trigger anxious behaviors. Here’s what you can expect:

Signs of Separation Anxiety After Boarding:

  • Increased clinginess: Your dog might follow you everywhere, demand constant attention, and become distressed when you leave their sight.
  • Whining, barking, or destructive behaviors: They might vocalize excessively when left alone or resort to chewing, digging, or pacing out of frustration.
  • Loss of appetite or sleep: Anxiety can affect their eating and sleeping patterns, leading to reduced appetite or difficulty settling down.
  • Elimination issues: Accidents in the house, even if they were house-trained before boarding, can be a sign of anxiety.

Why Does It Happen?

  • Disrupted routine: Boarding disrupts their usual schedule and environment, making it harder to cope with being alone again.
  • Stress and fear: The new sights, sounds, and smells of boarding can be overwhelming, leading to anxiety and fear of being separated from you again.
  • Negative associations: If their boarding experience was unpleasant, they might associate being left alone with those negative feelings.

What You Can Do:

  • Be patient and understanding: It’s important to remember that this is temporary and caused by their anxiety, not disobedience.
  • Gradual reintroduction to routine: Slowly reintroduce their usual feeding, walking, and playtime schedule to provide stability.
  • Create a safe space: Designate a quiet, comfortable area with familiar items like their bed and toys to help them feel secure.
  • Desensitization exercises: Gradually practice leaving them alone for short periods, rewarding calm behavior.
  • Seek professional help: If the anxiety is severe or persists for more than a few weeks, consult a certified dog trainer or behaviorist for personalized guidance.

How Do I Make My Dog Feel Better After Boarding?

Helping your dog feel better after boarding involves addressing their physical and emotional needs. Here are some steps you can take:

Physical Comfort:

  • Rest and rehydration: Allow your dog plenty of rest and access to fresh water after the journey home. They might be tired or dehydrated from travel and boarding.
  • Familiar food: Offer their usual food in smaller portions at first, as their appetite might be affected. Gradually increase portions as they adjust.
  • Gentle exercise: Start with short walks and leash-free playtime in familiar areas. Don’t overdo it, as they might be tired.
  • Monitor health: Keep an eye for any signs of illness like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or coughing. Consult your vet if you notice anything concerning.

Emotional Support:

  • Reassurance and patience: Be patient and understanding as they adjust back to home. Shower them with affection, but avoid smothering them.
  • Familiar routine: Gradually reintroduce their usual routine for feeding, walks, and playtime to provide stability and comfort.
  • Safe space: Create a quiet, comfortable area with familiar items like their bed and toys where they can retreat and feel secure.
  • Minimize stress: Avoid introducing new people, places, or loud noises while they adjust.
  • Quality time: Spend quality time playing, cuddling, and engaging in activities they enjoy.
  • Desensitization: If they show separation anxiety, practice leaving them alone for short periods, gradually increasing the duration and rewarding calm behavior. Consider professional help from a dog trainer or behaviorist if needed.

What Are The Side Effects Of Long Term Boarding Dogs?

While long-term boarding can be a convenient option for some dog owners, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects, both physical and emotional, that can impact your furry friend. Here’s a breakdown of some key points:

Physical Side Effects:

  • Stress-induced illness: Boarding can be stressful for dogs, potentially leading to digestive issues like diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
  • Lack of exercise: While some facilities offer playtime, it might not be as consistent or personalized as regular walks and exercise at home, leading to potential weight gain or muscle loss.
  • Increased risk of contagious diseases: Sharing space with other dogs raises the risk of exposure to kennel cough, canine influenza, or other illnesses.
  • Injuries: Though uncommon, accidents or rough play with other dogs can occur, leading to minor injuries.

Emotional Side Effects:

  • Separation anxiety: Being away from their familiar environment and routine for an extended period can trigger separation anxiety, leading to excessive barking, whining, or destructive behaviors when reunited.
  • Depression: Some dogs may become withdrawn, lethargic, or lose interest in activities they used to enjoy due to the unfamiliar environment and lack of individual attention.
  • Fear and anxiety: New sights, sounds, and smells can be overwhelming, leading to fear and anxiety, manifesting as trembling, pacing, or hiding.
  • Changes in behavior: Long-term boarding can disrupt training progress and lead to regression in learned behaviors or development of new unwanted behaviors.
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Minimizing the Risks:

  • Choose a reputable facility: Research thoroughly, ask questions, and visit the facility to assess cleanliness, staff training, and dog care practices.
  • Short trial stay: Start with a short boarding stay to assess your dog’s adaptability before committing to a long-term stay.
  • Frequent communication: Request regular updates on your dog’s well-being and behavior during their stay.
  • Pack familiar items: Bring your dog’s bed, toys, or a blanket with your scent to provide comfort and security.
  • Maintain a consistent routine: As much as possible, stick to your dog’s regular feeding and walking schedule even while they’re boarded.
  • Gradual reintegration: Upon return, gradually reintroduce them to their home environment and routine to avoid overwhelming them.

Alternatives to Long-Term Boarding:

  • Pet sitter: Consider hiring a pet sitter to care for your dog in your own home, providing a familiar and less stressful environment.
  • Dog walker: Arrange for regular dog walking visits to ensure your dog gets exercise and socialization while you’re away.
  • Housesitting: Ask a trusted friend or family member to stay at your home and care for your dog while you’re gone.
  • Daycare: For dogs who enjoy social interaction, consider doggy daycare for shorter periods instead of long-term boarding.

Why Does My Dog Have An Upset Stomach After Boarding?

Several factors can contribute to your dog’s upset stomach after boarding, ranging from stress and dietary changes to more concerning medical issues. Here’s a breakdown of the possibilities:

Common Causes:

  • Stress: Boarding can be stressful for dogs, even if they seem to enjoy it at the moment. This stress can manifest as digestive upset, leading to diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
  • Dietary changes: Facilities might feed a different food than your dog is used to, which can disrupt their digestive system and cause an upset stomach.
  • Change in routine: Boarding disrupts your dog’s regular feeding and elimination schedule, potentially leading to digestive imbalances.
  • Mild illness: Exposure to new bacteria or viruses at the boarding facility could cause temporary digestive upset.

Less Common Causes:

  • Underlying medical conditions: Stress from boarding can sometimes trigger pre-existing conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis, causing digestive issues.
  • Parasites: While uncommon, your dog might have picked up parasites at the boarding facility, leading to abdominal discomfort and stool changes.
  • Allergies: Certain food ingredients or environmental allergens encountered at the boarding facility could trigger an allergic reaction and digestive upset.

What to Do:

  • Monitor your dog: Observe their stool consistency, frequency, and presence of blood or mucus. Monitor their appetite, vomiting, and overall activity level.
  • Contact the boarding facility: Ask about their observations of your dog’s eating habits and any concerning behavior during their stay.
  • Offer bland food: If symptoms are mild, offer small amounts of bland food like boiled chicken and rice to settle their stomach.
  • Hydration: Ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water to prevent dehydration.
  • Seek veterinary advice: If symptoms persist for more than 24-48 hours, experience worsens, or you notice other concerning signs, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Conclusion


It is important to monitor your dog’s eating habits after they have been boarded.

If they are not eating, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Make sure to ask about specific signs of illness if you notice your dog is not eating. These include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and excessive panting. The symptoms will vary depending on what is wrong with your pet.

Once you’ve identified that something could be wrong with your dog, bring them in for a visit with their veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment!

FAQs

How long does it take for a dog to adjust after boarding?

1-3 days: Most dogs start to settle in and show signs of improvement within this timeframe.
Up to 1 week: If your dog still seems stressed or withdrawn after a week, consult your veterinarian or a certified dog trainer to rule out any underlying issues or address potential anxiety problems.

Is it common for dogs to get sick after boarding?

It’s not uncommon for dogs to experience some minor health issues after boarding, but the frequency and severity can vary depending on several factors.

Is it normal for my dog to be exhausted after boarding?

Yes, it’s perfectly normal for your dog to be exhausted after boarding.

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