What is Kennel Stress? It's a term used when dog's encounter mental or emotional tension during or after a stay in a kennel. It can manifest in a number of ways including fear, separation anxiety, tremors, aggression, barking, whining or other noticeable changes to their behaviour.
Just one night in a kennel can trigger stress and anxiety in a dog, particularly if your dog is prone to being nervous and anxious, but it can happen to any dog.
Your dog will need to contend with new sights, sounds, smells, changes to routine, diet, home comforts, new dogs and being handled by strangers. This is enough to tip anyone over the edge, but as a dog, there's no concept of understanding as to why they're there.
Sudden changes to senses (sight, sound, smell, touch), without any familiarity can cause immense stress, also known as "sensory overload", which can cause your dog to "shut down" and become withdrawn.
Dogs are creatures of habit, so a sudden change to their routine can flip them upside down. Unfortunately, routine change is unavoidable in a kennel. This can lead to your dog not wanting to eat, because it's 3pm and they usually eat at 5pm. They also wonder why they haven't been for their usual morning sniff about to the newsagent, and so again, begin to withdraw.
Veering off their usual exercise routine can have a huge impact as they're not burning off enough energy which can trigger many issues including behavioural and digestive. Not wanting to go out due to fear, or because it's off the routine, can increase stress levels.
Unfamiliar people can cause anxiety, especially within new environments, teamed with all of the other changes a dog is facing undoubtedly increases anxiety.
A change in diet has a huge impact on your dog from inducing sickness, refusing to eat, allergies, lack of appetite, digestive issues causing your dog to uncharacteristically toilet indoors. Good nutrition is important for your dog's well being and overall health and just a few days of no or little nutrition can cause other issues, like skin irritability, digestive issues, nasal discharge, joint and muscle fatigue.
Whilst not all dogs will suffer with Kennel Stress, over the years, I have heard more and more cases from clients where their dog has returned in such an awful state, and they blame the kennels (often it is) but in most cases it's due to Kennel Stress.
I believe that dog's strive in familiar environments and you should be confident that a) You should be able to enjoy a holiday without worrying about your dog, b) your dog is in the best hands, receiving the best care and the same level of love, attention and usual routines as if you were still at home.
By providing a live-in dog sitting service means your dog stays at home, where they are familiar, have their own bed, own toys, their familiar sights, sounds and smells - knows where the treat tub is and their favourite pee spot in the garden without thinking twice about it.
We cuddle up on the sofa (or their bed, if they're not allowed on the furniture) when ever they like and have endless cuddles, belly rubs and ear scratches in their own home, one a one-to-one basis, with all their home comforts. Not a cold cement floor or bars in sight.