While you may be pleased to pick up your dog and take it home after its first stay in boarding kennels, this may not be a smooth ride, especially if this is the first time you've boarded your pet. Not all dogs react the same way when you take them home after boarding; some will display behavioural changes that may surprise or worry you. What kinds of behaviour can you expect from your pet?
While some dogs come home from boarding and settle down as if they've never been away, others may take some time to settle. You may find that your dog's behaviour changes when you get it home. For example, it may get really clingy and follow you around everywhere. Alternatively, it may ignore you and be slightly aloof. Some dogs act up a little and behave badly when they first come home even though they are usually well-behaved.
Typically, you'll find that your dog will get back to normal once it is used to being back at home. Once your dog realises that it is back in its normal routine and is with you once again, it should start to behave normally. It's a good idea to give your pet a lot of love and attention when you get it home; however, you should also make sure to re-establish your usual routine and rules to get your dog back in line as quickly as possible.
Changes in Appetite
Your dog may eat a lot more than usual when it first comes home from boarding. This doesn't mean that it wasn't fed during its stay. Some dogs are simply happy to get back to their regular variety of food if they ate different foods in kennels; others may not have eaten as well as usual in boarding, especially if they were a little stressed. It's also not unusual for dogs to be very thirsty when they get home. Again, they may not have drunk as much water as usual in their boarding stay.
In some cases, dogs may come home from boarding with an upset stomach. The food your dog ate in the kennels may not have agreed with it. Vomiting and a runny tummy can also be caused by stress. In some dogs, this stress may be caused by its anxiety about being in kennels; other dogs may get an upset stomach when they get overexcited about coming home.
Tip: If your dog has a sensitive stomach or is fussy about its food, it may be worth asking the boarding facility if you can supply your own food to avoid the risk of stomach problems.
Changes in Sleeping Habits
Don't be surprised if your dog sleeps a lot when it first gets home from boarding. Some dogs find it hard to get a good night's sleep in kennels. They may find a new environment unsettling or just plain noisy. If the boarding kennel allowed your dog to run around a lot either indoors or outdoors, it may also have had a good workout during its stay and may simply need a rest.
Typically, changes in your dog's behaviour after dog boarding are not anything to worry about. Your pet will usually settle down once it gets back into its routine. However, if your dog is showing signs of a more serious illness or injury or doesn't settle down at home after a few days, it's a good idea to have it checked over by your vet.