Why Dogs Get Diarrhea When Boarding-

If your dog developed diarrhea while boarding, you may be upset and wonder what happened. It's easy to blame the kennel for the mishap, but there may be other causes, and it might not be entirely the kennel's fault.  As tempting as it may be to just let the diarrhea run its course and forget about the mishap, it is best to figure out what happened to prevent it from happening next time. You may never know exactly what happened, but your vet may give some clues and so may the kennel. Also, the duration and severity of the diarrhea can be clues as well. Get ready to put on your investigative hat and ask several questions.  In the meantime it’s a good idea to treat the pet at home with small meals of bland food (rice and boiled chicken is fine) and anti-diarrhea medication.

Your dog got stressed. Many dogs get stressed at the kennel. There are two types of stress: the stress from being in the kennel in the first place, and the stress of going home.  

Being kenneled is sometimes not easy on the dog. He is in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by barking dogs and unfamiliar smells and noises. Some dogs may appear to care less about these changes, but several inevitably get visibly stressed and get the doggy version of nervous diarrhea.

Some dogs have solid stools at the kennel and then develop diarrhea the moment they are sent home. All the excitement of seeing mom and dad after their absence and being home again may have an effect on the dog's gastric system.  Try withholding food and water for the first couple of hours, as excited dogs will gulp these down and get a bout of doggie upset stomach.

Your dog underwent dietary changes. Did you provide your own food? If not, this may be the culprit. If your dog was boarded for just a few days, his stomach may not be agreeing with the new food.  In some cases, dogs with sensitive tummies may get stomach upset just from changing water.

Your dog has an underlying condition. A health issue that becomes evident only when your dog is stressed and his immune system is at its most vulnerable state may be to blame. It may seem like a coincidence that you just boarded your dog and your dog gets a bout of diarrhea. All those emotions and changes may awaken some conditions which could have otherwise remained silent for a bit.  In some cases, the emotional stress of being boarded weakens the dog's immune system.   (Examples of underlying conditions include some types of parasites like coccidia, or conditions such as pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, skin conditions, and diabetes.)  

Checking With Your Kennel-

Should your dog get sick after being kenneled it's a good idea to call the kennel and ask questions.

Did the dog have diarrhea during his stay?  Dogs or cats may be so excited to see their owner at the end of an extended stay that diarrhea is produced shortly after returning home, or even in the parking lot of the facility. Check with the facility operator to see if any diarrhea was observed while boarding or at daycare.

Was his food changed?

Any chances he could have gotten a hold of something?

Are there any other owners facing the same problem?


Also, if you see the vet and you got a diagnosis, make the kennel aware of it, should the vet find a transmittable disease and believes there may be chances the dog got it at the kennel. This will help the kennel control the spread of the condition.

The Kennel's Role-

Your pet care facility operator will often attempt to control and treat minor diarrhea cases in the facility. Often products such as Pepto Bismol, Immodium AD or Kaopectate are all that are needed. Adding fiber or starch to the diet sometimes helps absorb the excess liquid in the digestive tract; bland diets also provide nutrients without excess salt, fat or food additives. If your pet has a delicate digestive tract at home, discuss this with the kennel.

The Owner’s Role-

If your pet is having any problems at home, please make the facility aware prior to your departure. If your pet takes any medication on a regular basis for intestinal upsets or chronic diarrhea or needs a nutritional supplement for a disease, be sure to leave it at the pet care facility when your pet is dropped off.