Kennel Stress Symptoms | Xen Pets

Tory Johnson

When we go on vacations, or extended trips, we tend to take our dogs to a boarding kennel. During their stay at boarding kennels, many dogs experience what we call kennel stress symptoms.

Kennel stress is a generic term to describe the emotional strain most dogs encounter at a boarding kennel.

Unfortunately, both your dog and other dogs may carry this kennel stress into their home life.

In this post, we'll describe a few signs of kennel stress in dogs that pet owners should be able to recognize.

Kennel Stress Symptoms

Factors That Contribute to Boarding Kennel Stress

Within the kennel environment, there are a number of new and unfamiliar surroundings.

Let's discuss a few factors that contribute to kennel stress.

4 Factors that Contribute to Kennel Stress

  1. Lack of exercise

Not all dogs and not all kennels are the same! Most dogs need A LOT of exercise and may not get what they need at the kennel.

If your dog isn't burning off enough calories, it can raise your dog's stress levels and bring about mental or emotional strain.

Opt for a kennel that walks your dog multiple times a day and has an open area that is safe and free of dog fights and potentially dangerous situations.

  1. Change in diet

Changes in your dog's diet, or if your dog requires a special diet, may affect their stress levels at the kennel.

Nutrition is such an important factor. Try to leave your dog with adequate food, and enough food to get through their stay!

  1. Unfamiliar place and people

One of THE MAIN reasons for boarding kennel stress related emotional strain is the fact most dogs are around new and unfamiliar surroundings. This includes the people or pet sitter they are left with.

When you first drop off your dog, make them feel comfortable and show your dog the new environment is both safe and fun. This will help to relax their fear and hopefully help with the change.

  1. routine changes

Boarding stress and routine changes go together like peanut butter and jelly (unfortunately). A change in routine is something you may not be able to help with.

If your dog has to stay at a kennel or with a pet sitter, there isn't much we can do to help with the routine change.

Do your best to show that the other dogs will be friendly, pack familiar food, and familiar toys. This should help with any routine changes your dog will encounter.

critical signs of stress in a dog

Signs of Kennel Stress Symptoms

After a stay at the boarding kennel, your dog may be acting weird and just not normal.

Let's take a look at the signs of kennel stress.

Critical Signs of Stress In a Dog

  1. Pacing or shaking

  2. Barking or whining

  3. Changes in body language

  4. Panting

  5. Throw up from stress related emotion

  6. Shedding

  7. Changes in poop

  8. Escaping or hiding

Wrap Up

So, how can we avoid kennel stress? Unfortunately, its not possible, since we don't know until after our dog comes home from the boarding kennel.

We can do out best to make sure our beloved dog is taken to the best kennel around, they have familiar food, and familiar toys to play with. Hopefully this will alleviate some of your dog's stress.

Luckily, kennel stress related emotional strain and stress may only last about a day or two at most. So, if your dog comes home with boarding kennel stress, just give them time to relax and make them comfortable in the coming days. I hope this helps! Check out our FAQ section below for more!

Husky dog during a kennel stay


How do you relieve kennel stress?

The best way to relieve kennel stress is to provide additional exercise, give your dog familiar food and familiar toys. And avoid potentially dangerous situations between dogs.

What are critical signs of stress in dogs?

  • Pacing or shaking

  • Changes in body language

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Muscle tension

  • Fatigue

  • Changes in diet

  • Whining or barking

  • Yawning, drooling, or licking

  • Panting

  • Increased heart rate

  • Changes in body posture

  • Changes in eyes and ears

Are kennels stressful for dogs?

Yes, kennels can be very stressful for dogs and can cause mental or emotional strain. It's important to find the right kennel for your dog and help them adjust to the new and unfamiliar surroundings.

Do dogs get sad at kennels?

Yes, dogs can get sad at kennels. This is especially true if you have nervous dogs or dogs that are unfamiliar with a boarding kennel.

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