Yes it can be stressful depending on the circumstances and individual dog. While we'd love the answer to be no, dog boarding can be stressful on your dog especially if:
It is their first time in a new/foreign space
You are boarding dogs with people they don't know or have never met
Your dog is boarding with other dogs they've never met./may not get along with
Your dog has known separation anxiety
Your dog is not well socialized
Your dog is a velcro dog who is used to being with you at all times
Do Dogs Like Boarding?
Dog boarding is best for well socialized, well trained dogs who love human attention from strangers and other dogs. So, Unless you've invested a lot of time and energy into your dog's social behaviors, dog boarding may not be a great fit for your dog. In home dog sitting is recommended as the better option. This is why it is so important that you do everything you can to ensure your dog's comfort before your departure. It is important for both the owner and the dog boarding facility to be honest about whether a dog is a good candidate for dog boarding or a dog hotel stay.
Do Dogs Feel Abandoned When You Go On Vacation?
Yes, they feel your absence and miss you just as you miss them. Some ways you can lessen the impact of abandonment/of stress and anxiety on your dog boarding or dog hotel experience include the following:
Acclimation Visits At Dog Hotel or Dog Boarding Facility
Let your dog visit their upcoming dog hotel or dog boarding space near you as many times as you can prior to your departure. We recommend booking a few daycare visits to get them acclimated to the space. At Sit Social, we require what we call an "interview" which is a paid 1/d day of daycare to do an assessment of the dog's social skills and comfort level. Especially if it is a dog's first time with us, they need room and space and a slow introduction to feel comfortable. If your boarding facility does not require at least one behavioral evaluation visit prior to approving your dog hotel stay, that should be a major red flag. This could mean that the facility only cares about your money and does not have the interest of your dog's comfort at heart.
Extra Activities, Treats, & Services At Dog Hotel or Dog Boarding Facility
Book additional luxury add on activities - 1-1 dog walks, extra play time, special treats, and other simulation can help ease anxiety. Imagine what you do when you're feeling homesick or during your first sleepovers as a child - fun activities, exhausting energy, and special treats can help ease the separation anxiety. A tired dog is a happy dog. At our dog hotel we offer things like pupcakes, room service with fresh dog meals, 1-1 playtime and more.
Choose An In Home Dog Sitter (For Extremely Anxious Dogs)
If utilizing a dog sitter, be sure to introduce/meet the sitter before hand. The best option is to have someone dog sit at your home so your dog(s) are being boarded in the place they know best - home.