If your dog tends to vomit, have diarrhea, or encounter some other type of problem after being boarded, you’re no doubt upset. How could this happen? Did something happen with their food?

The first thing you might think of doing is blaming the kennel, but are they really to blame? Let’s look at some of the reasons why your pooch may be sick after boarding. You might be surprised.

Common Reasons

One of the more common illnesses that strike dogs when they’re boarded is diarrhea. Your vet can give you some idea of why it might have happened to your pooch, and maybe someone at the kennel could shed some light on the problem. But you might not ever get to the bottom of the issue unless you do a little digging on your own. These are just a few of the typical culprits when it comes to a dog coming down with diarrhea after boarding.


Dogs often experience a great deal of anxiety when going to a kennel. It’s an unfamiliar situation, for one. And then there’s the matter of being surrounded by strangers – both human and canine. Not only are the sights new, but the smells as well. The constant barking of some dogs doesn’t help. While many dogs remain unfazed by this new situation, many others get stressed and develop diarrhea as a result.1

Changes in food

Dog Sick After Boarding | Dr MartyMost pet parents will carefully ration their dog’s food and make sure they bring it to the kennel when boarding their pet. But many people either don’t have the time to do this, or it just slips their mind. As a result, their dog will be given food provided by the kennel. Even if the stay was just a few days, a change in food can do a number on a dog’s digestive tract, leading to diarrhea, or making your pup vomit.

The next time you need to board your pet, talk to kennel personnel. Find out what kind of food they serve when pet owners don’t bring their own. And if you’re concerned, remember to pack your dog’s food and bring it with you when you drop them off.2

They caught something

The vast majority of kennels are safe, healthy, and loving places for dogs. All pets being boarded are checked for proper vaccinations, and the facilities are thoroughly cleaned many times each day. Unfortunately, illnesses can still be spread from one pet to another, despite precautions being taken.3 Talk to your vet to see if your dog might have picked something up during their most recent stay.

Choosing a Kennel

The next time you board your pet, don’t be afraid to check out the kennel beforehand. Make sure you’re happy with the quality of care your dog will receive. Talk to your vet, or speak with friends and relatives who have boarded their dogs, to see which ones they recommend.

Other things you can do before boarding your dog to give you peace of mind that your pup will be well-cared for include:

  • Dog Sick After Boarding | Dr MartyChecking to make sure the kennel facilities are clean and well organized.
  • Making sure the boarding facility uses thorough disinfection procedures.
  • Checking the outside of the facility, to make sure it’s secure, with gates and fences.

You want to be certain the boarding facility is secure, so your pet won’t escape.

If your dog likes to climb or dig, let the operator of the kennel know, so they can take extra precautions.

All sleeping quarters should be clear of any potential hazards. These include chemicals, sharp objects, and any loose items that your dog could swallow. They also need to be separated by secure dividers, so that your dog can sleep peacefully without worrying about rowdy neighbors.

You will also need to make sure the kennels you consider provide constant supervision by qualified personnel. The operators need to be professionals who know how to spot an illness or signs of stress, and who knows when to call a vet if the problem worsens.4

Wrapping it Up

By taking a few precautions you can help ensure that your pet will be completely fine the next time they’re boarded. Decide whether you will bring their food to the kennel. Check out the kennel thoroughly. Ask for references from your vet or friends, too, to find the right place to board your pup.

Learn More:
How Stress Might Be Causing Your Canine’s Colitis
6 Tips for Summertime Dog Safety (paws included!)
Dog Irritable Bowel Syndrome – 5 Signs Your Pet Has It