Do Dogs Think They Are Abandoned When Boarded?

Boarding a beloved pet, such as a dog, can be a tough decision for any pet owner. The prospect of leaving your furry friend in an unfamiliar environment can be emotionally challenging. 

A common concern among dog owners is whether their canine companions feel abandoned or distressed during boarding. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of canine emotions and explore whether dogs think they are abandoned when boarded. 

By understanding the psychological aspects of dogs, we can make the boarding experience less stressful for our four-legged friends.

Canine Emotions and Attachment

Dogs, like humans, experience a wide range of emotions, including joy, fear, anxiety, and even a sense of attachment. The emotional bond between a dog and its owner is called “attachment,” and it plays a crucial role in a dog’s behavior when separated from its owner. 

Dogs are pack animals, and through domestication, they have formed strong emotional connections with their human families, considering them as their pack members.

How Dogs Perceive Boarding

When a dog is boarded, it is taken away from its familiar environment and human family, which can be perceived as a disruption of their daily routine and sense of security. 

Some dogs may experience separation anxiety due to the sudden change in surroundings and the absence of their owners.

However, it’s essential to note that not all dogs react the same way to boarding. Canine temperament, past experiences, and socialization can play a significant role in how a dog responds to being boarded. 

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Some dogs might adapt quickly to new environments and enjoy the company of other dogs, while others may find boarding stressful and confusing.

Signs of Stress in Boarded Dogs

As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to recognize signs of stress in boarded dogs. Common indicators include:

  1. Excessive barking or whining 
  2. Restlessness and pacing
  3. Loss of appetite 
  4. Withdrawal and reluctance to engage with other dogs or people 
  5. Destructive behavior, such as chewing or digging
  6. Excessive drooling
  7. Avoidance of eye contact
  8. Changes in bathroom habits
  9. Aggression or fearfulness towards other dogs or staff members

Minimizing Stress During Boarding

To ensure a positive boarding experience for your dog, there are several strategies you can employ to minimize stress:

Choose a reputable and dog-friendly boarding facility: Research and select a boarding facility that prioritizes the well-being and happiness of their canine guests. Visit the facility in advance to assess the cleanliness, safety, and overall atmosphere.

Familiarize your dog with the boarding facility: If possible, introduce your dog to the boarding facility gradually. A few short visits before the actual boarding stay can help your dog become familiar with the place and the staff.

Bring familiar items: Pack your dog’s favorite toys, blanket, or bed from home. These familiar scents can provide comfort and security during their stay.

Maintain a consistent routine: Provide the boarding staff with a detailed schedule of your dog’s feeding, exercise, and sleeping habits. Maintaining consistency can help your dog feel more at ease.

Positive reinforcement: Shower your dog with love and praise before dropping them off at the boarding facility. Positive reinforcement can help create positive associations with the experience.

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Keep goodbyes brief: As hard as it may be, avoid prolonged and emotional goodbyes. Your dog can pick up on your emotions, and an overly emotional farewell may heighten their anxiety.

Post-boarding reassurance: When picking up your dog after boarding, offer plenty of affection and reassurance. This helps reinforce the bond between you and your pet and lets them know they were missed.


While dogs can experience feelings of anxiety and stress when boarded, they do not necessarily think they are abandoned. Understanding the emotional needs of our canine companions and taking steps to minimize their stress during boarding can lead to a more positive experience for both dog and owner.

By choosing the right boarding facility, maintaining consistency, and providing familiar items and positive reinforcement, we can ensure that our beloved dogs feel loved and cared for, even when temporarily separated from us. 

Remember that each dog is unique, and being attentive to their emotions will go a long way in fostering a happy and trusting relationship with our furry friends during their boarding experiences.