Did You Know Dog Boarding Can Affect Your Dog's Nutrition?
Here's What You Need to Know About Nutrition and Your Dog While You Are Away
As pet parents, we all dread boarding our babies for travel, illness, or a major remodeling project.
No matter what we do to prepare them for the experience, it’s likely they’ll get stressed while you are away.
Dogs are creatures of habit.
Any disruption in their daily routine may naturally cause some anxiety. For many dogs the most noticeable effects are on their appetite and nutrition.
Since founding Embarkly.com, a search engine for finding dog boarding. I’ve learned a lot about creating positive outcomes for boarding dogs.
Here are a few things that I hope will help you create a positive experience for your best friend.
1.Your dog may lose weight even though he’s eating well.
Some dogs LOVE doggy camp.
If your dog loves the dog park, or is a regular at dog daycare, he may lose weight if he is fed his normal amount of food.
Dogs that are high energy, but are not usually active for 4 or more hours a day may require a little extra food while they are boarded.
They’re probably burning many more calories than normal as they romp around all day long with other dogs. If this is your dog, it may help to up his daily calories by 5% a little to make sure he’s getting enough while he’s having a blast.
2. Your dog may not eat enough.
No matter what you do, some dogs lose their appetite when their routine changes.
My dog is one of these dogs.
The first time we went on vacation and boarded our dog we suspected it would be a bad experience for him. We’d adopted him a year before, and he suffered from terrible separation anxiety.
But he loved the dog park.
So we researched all the area pet hotels with doggy daycare and picked the one we thought was best. Sure enough, the staff reported that he did not have much of an appetite.
By the time we came to get him, he’d lost 5% of his weight. We shrugged our shoulders and committed to taking him with us from then on.
The next time we traveled, we did just that. To our surprise, he wouldn’t eat at all for the first two days, only eating half of his normal portion for the balance of the trip.
Turns out it wasn’t the doggy hotel or separation anxiety at all. He was stressed out because his normal routine was different. And sure enough, as soon as we came back, his appetite returned.
The same thing happened when we left him at home in the care of a pet sitter. No food for two days, then half until we returned and things got back to normal.
3. Feed him normally before you leave.
Many of us feel guilty before we leave our dogs behind.
A friend of mine had a little doggy afternoon with her baby the day before dropping him off at boarding. She went for a long walk and gave him treats followed by an extra-large and special dinner.
First thing in the morning, she dropped him off at boarding. That evening when she called the pet hotel to check on her dog, she learned that he had gotten sick and threw up.
Stress induced by a change in routine can make a dog’s stomach extra sensitive.
Combine that with a super-rich meal the night before, and well, you’ve got a recipe for yuck! It’s always a good idea to feed your buddy a normal meal prior to dropping him off. Give him lots of hugs and extra playtime instead.
4. Feed the same food while you are away.
We’ve all heard the warnings from dog food labels and our veterinarians about switching your dog’s food too quickly. Most pet hotels will feed your dog any food that you bring in for him. Just make sure you bring in plenty of food with instructions about how much and how often.
So there you are! 4 tips on dog nutrition and dog boarding.
Nicole is the founder and CEO of Embarkly.com, the largest marketplace for pet care online. Embarkly lets pet parents search and compare boarding and daycare facilities by location, price, photos and reviews. After you’ve found the right place, Embarkly lets you reserve online for free. Nicole is proudly owned by a Finnish Spitz mix and two cats.