The Psychological and Behavioral Effects of Too Much Kennel Time for Your Dog

The Psychological and Behavioral Effects of Too Much Kennel Time for Your Dog

It’s great when you can take a vacation and your dog can come with you, but sometimes you may have to make trips without your pooch.

In this case, many dog owners board their pets at a reputable kennel, but what you may not know, is that too much kennel time can have negative psychological and behavioral effects on your loyal friend.

How Kennels Can Stress Your Dog

Every dog is different and some just don’t feel comfortable in a kennel environment.

If they feel stressed or restless, they may not eat much and they may display anxious behavior such as panting or pacing, cowering, and barking or howling. If their anxiety reaches a very high level, they may even self-harm by licking themselves excessively or chewing.

While some kennels run highly professional operations, others do not, and this can be a major contributory stress factor. For example, some kennels are old and have not been updated for years, they may not provide comfortable accommodation for your pet. If Fido is kenneled for long periods of time without any human interaction, he may become anxious or depressed.

Your pet’s psychological and behavioral issues may be further exacerbated if the kennel staff are not well educated in dog behavior. If this is the case, they may be unable to recognize the signs of stress and anxiety.

When you board your dog with other animals there is also the risk of exposure to illness. One of the most common is the respiratory infection known as kennel cough. It’s a good idea to get your dog vaccinated against kennel cough before you board them.

What the Research Tells About the Effects of Kennel Time

There is a significant body of research that highlights the negative effects of kennel time even on highly trained dogs.

A study from the University of Bristol’s Anthrozoology Institute examined 30 German Shepherds. Each of the dogs had been police trained and were involved in active duty. The researchers found that when the dogs spent time in their kennels after their working day was done, they quickly became stressed and exhibited signs of mental illness such as repeatedly bouncing from the wall, pacing, spinning, and continued walking around their kennel.

The results indicate that for some dogs, separation from humans can cause severe psychological and behavioral reactions, affecting mental and physical health.

How to Choose a Boarding Kennel for Your Dog

If the situation arises where you have to travel and you cannot find a pet sitter for your dog, here are some tips for finding the best boarding kennel and prepare your dog.

  • Get a referral: If you don’t have any friends or family members who can recommend a good kennel, ask your vet for a referral.
  • Take a tour: Visit the kennel before you commit and make sure to look at where your pet will be sleeping, what play facilities are offered, and look out for any safety hazard.
  • Ask relevant questions: There are certain questions that you need to know the answers too so that you can be sure this is the right kennel for your dog. For example:
  • What happens if my dog gets sick while he’s in your care?
  • Are your members f staff trained in dog CPR?
  • How will your staff react if my pet misbehaves?
  • Can I bring my dog’s toys and blanket?
    Will you feed my dog his regular food?
  • Prepare your dog: Once you’ve chosen the kennel, take your dog for a visit before you board him. That way he will be able to sniff around an if won’t seem totally unfamiliar when you leave him there.

When you are boarding your dog, it’s important to remember that they are entering an unfamiliar environment and their normal daily routine is going to be disrupted. It’s only natural for this to cause your pet a certain level of stress. The extent to which it affects your dog will depend on the type of dog, his or her personality, age, and the quality of kennel care. But bear in mind that your pet will only be in the kennel for a short time before you bring them back home.

 

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