Nearly 17% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety. Anxious dogs exhibit destructive behaviors when separated from family members — meaning they try to escape and harm themselves or fellow pets.
This, in turn, may lead to lifelong damage to your dog’s emotional, mental, and physical health. If your dog has never been apart from you, there’s a high chance your dog could be a part of this 17 percent too.
On that note, this post aims to help you prepare an anxious for boarding.
We’ll guide you step-by-step on how to manage anxiety and board anxious dogs.
Let’s get started!
Assess your dog’s anxiety levels
Before you even think about boarding your dog, estimate and analyze the general anxiety levels of your dog. On an everyday basis, how often do you see your dog anxious?
Or what are those specific triggers that make your dog instantly anxious?
If you haven’t ever noticed anxiety in your dog, you might not be paying enough attention. Every dog experiences anxiety at one point or another (in different forms). Some dogs experience it intensely and some don’t.
So, start observing your dog closely. Your dog will exhibit at least one of these signs when experiencing anxiety:
- Excessive barking: An anxious dog may bark excessively, especially in unfamiliar or stressful situations.
- Trembling: Shivering or trembling, even in mild weather, can be a sign of heightened anxiety.
- Panting: Rapid, excessive panting that is not related to physical exertion can indicate anxiety.
- Pacing: Restlessness and frequent pacing are common manifestations of anxiety.
- Destructive behavior: Anxious dogs might chew furniture, shoes, or other objects when left alone or in stressful environments.
- Hiding: Some dogs may seek hiding spots when they’re anxious, attempting to escape what they perceive as a threat.
With that said, the most common triggers for anxious dogs are:
- Loud noises: Thunderstorms, fireworks, or even construction noises can trigger anxiety in dogs.
- Separation anxiety: Many dogs experience anxiety when separated from their owners. This can intensify when they’re placed in a new environment, like a boarding facility.
- New environments: Unfamiliar places can be unsettling for dogs, especially those who are more prone to anxiety.
- Previous trauma: Dogs with past traumatic experiences may exhibit heightened anxiety, often tied to specific events or situations.
By closely observing your dog’s behavior and understanding their triggers, you can tailor your approach to alleviate their anxiety.
Prepare anxious dogs for boarding
Once you know what makes your dog generally anxious, their triggers, and the extent of anxiety levels, you need to make some preparations for boarding them in a place that can tackle their anxiety well.
We recommend implementing these:
Research and choose the right boarding facility
There’s a variety of options for dog home boarding. You can consider formal boarding facilities in your local area, ask friends and family if they’re willing to board your dog or get in touch with an experienced dog parent in your vicinity via WoofConnect.
Just make sure whichever boarding facility you choose offers a home-like feel. You can browse your options online, read reviews, and visit facility websites to ensure they cater to anxious dogs.
Visit the facility
Once you’ve chosen a facility, schedule a visit to the boarding facility in advance to assess cleanliness, safety, and overall suitability.
We also recommend observing how caregiver(s) interact with dogs and inquire about their experience with anxious pets.
Communicate with the caregiver
Communicate your dog’s anxiety issues and triggers with the caregiver in deep detail. You can provide them with details in writing or discuss over the phone.
But make sure they record the information somewhere or have easy access to you. In case they forget, they can inquire directly. Also, communicate any special requirements, medication, or dietary restrictions your dog may have.
If you’ve found a way to soothe your dog’s anxiety, convey this to the caregiver too. Or if you expect them to tackle the situation by themselves, let them know.
Packing for your dog
A good way to soothe your dog’s separation anxiety is to make it the new environment comfortable and more home-like. To do this, you’ll need their comfort toys, comfort food, favorite blankets, and even favorite petting techniques.
Here are some other items that you should pack:
- Food and feeding instructions.
- Medications with clear labels and dosage instructions.
- Vaccination records and emergency contact information.
This is the last step before the final boarding day. It’ll make the transition smoother and minimize the chances of your dog reacting violently.
Begin with taking your dog for pre-boarding visits to familiarize them with the environment. Allow it to explore and get comfortable in a controlled manner.
Use positive reinforcement to make things easier. Use treats and praise to create positive associations with the facility. And reward your dog when they exhibit calm behavior during visits.
Day of boarding
On the day of boarding, maintain a calm demeanor. Dogs can sense your emotions, so stay calm and composed when dropping them off. Also, avoid displaying anxiety or sadness, as this can transfer to your pet.
Keep your farewell brief and confident, assuring your dog that you’ll return.
Final thoughts on boarding anxious dogs
Lastly, don’t forget to leave emergency contact information with the caregiver. Ensure someone is available to pick up your dog in case of an emergency.
You can call in once every five days to get an update. Do not call too frequently, as it can make it difficult for your dog to adjust.
Shawn Mack is a content writer who offers ghostwriting, copywriting, and blogging services. His educational background in the business and technical fields has given him a broad base to approach many topics. He also likes writing engaging articles on technology & digital marketing-related issues.