If you have just got your dog back home after a kennel stay and he’s started having accidents around the house, you’re not alone. Dog diarrhea after boarding is extremely common. Despite the pooping, it’s not always something you need to panic about; depending on the diagnosis of course! The first thing is, don’t automatically jump to blame the kennel. Just because your dog has diarrhea after a kennel visit, it doesn’t mean he picked up a stomach bug during his stay.
At BaMar Farm Kennel we are very diligent about cleaning, and require all visiting dogs to be fully vaccinated before their stay.
Whilst no vaccination is 100% effective, the chances are your dog isn’t suffering with diarrhea due to a bug picked up in the kennel. It’s more likely a mix of excitement, stress, or dietary changes.
Why does my dog have diarrhea after boarding?
What does cause dog diarrhea after kennel stay then? Here are the most likely reasons for the problematic pooping (or peeing) – in no particular order.
1. Stress induced
Boarding can be a stressful experience even for a dog who has been in kennels multiple times in the past. After all, no animal likes to be separated from their owner regardless of how temporary the break might be. The different environment, different smells and noises, new people and new dogs associated with their doggy vacation may be unnerving at best, and it's not unusual foes dogs to become a little withdrawn and anxious until they settle in.
Unfortunately, much like us, a dog’s stress can manifest as an upset stomach and he might have diarrhea both during and immediately after his experience. Some dogs also develop mucus and even a little blood in their stools due to stress. This is referred to as "Stress Colitis"
In most instances, you can expect it to clear up after a few days with no serious complications to worry about. It's a very common theme with dogs and puppies coming home from a kennel stay.
2. Excitement induced
When you pick your dog up from the kennels it’s going to give him a huge increase in excitement. As owners we will often inflame that further by being over-excited to see him, ramping up the energy levels even more. Just like with stress, excitement can also bring on diarrhea.
Another factor is how dogs eat and drink when excited. They tend to gulp food and water down, and this can also lead to them having diarrhea after returning from boarding. More on this below in point 3…
3. Sudden intake of food and water
Many dogs will lose their appetite when staying in boarding kennels. You can put this down to a combination of stress and not being as comfortable as they would be at home.
This means that when they do return home, they are going to eat as much as they can and as quickly as they can to fill their stomach. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it does mean they gulp down lots of air.
When dogs have air in their digestive system it can lead to range of smelly results such as gas, bloating and diarrhea.
There’s also the consequence of guilty feeling owners giving their returning dog more treats and chews than normal, upsetting what could have been an empty stomach.
5. Underlying medical condition
Your dog’s diarrhea after a kennel visit could very well be health related. In fact, the stress I spoke about earlier could even weaken your dog’s immune system meaning he is more susceptible to becoming ill.
Research suggests that illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis can flare up when a dog is stressed.
6. Caught a bug
Whilst we work very hard to eliminate the risk of infection and cross-contamination, it’s not unrealistic to think this is why your dog has diarrhea. Another dog might have had an undetectable illness when entering the kennel.
Either way, not all dog vaccinations will work to a 100% success rate, so your dog can still get diarrhea no matter how many precautions you and the kennel takes.
7. Your dog’s breed
All of the reasons for your dog having diarrhea after boarding kennels can actually be made worse by their breed. Some dog breeds are more prone to diarrhea, with the smallest thing exacerbating their irritable bowels.
The Hills Pet website says:
“Some breeds, such as great Danes, German shepherds, golden retrievers and collies, are more prone to particular digestive problems. Commonly diagnosed conditions include acute gastroenteritis. colitis, constipation, pancreatitis, and diarrhea.”
*Make sure you call us! While it might not be the kennel’s fault your dog has diarrhea, you should still make us aware of the problem. If they are having more than one complaint on the same topic from other owners, they might be able to trace the cause better.
Things to do in advance-
Supply your own food: This will reduce the chance of them getting an upset stomach with a diet change. If your dog is staying for 7 days, give the kennel 10 days’ worth of food to leave nothing to chance.
Keep vaccinations up to date: The kennel should ask for documentation, as your dog should have all the necessary jabs to help them avoid catching bugs.
Book them in for a Get To Know You Stay or a trial night stay: This will help them get used to boarding and could reduce their stress during the stay. In addition, make sure you pack plenty of familiar smells and bedding for them.
Things to do when they return-
Stop feeding them for 12 to 24 hours: It sounds harsh, but by making them fast for a while, you can let their stomach get better and possibly let all the sickness come out in the diarrhea.
Feed bland food like rice and chicken: Once it’s time to get them start eating again, only give them bland tasting food for a couple of days. It is easier for your dog to digest and will be easier on their stomach. Some vets recommend feeding a sick dog chicken noodle soup
Consider pumpkin: 100% pumpkin is a known remedy for doggy diarrhea as it helps to solidify their stools and will often work it’s magic in just two days.
A bit of diarrhea in the first two days of your dog coming home from a boarding stay is almost to be expected. Having accidents around the house are certainly very common, and typically related to stress and excitement.
If the diarrhea was still happening after 48 hours, consider seeking an expert opinion.