What to Consider Before Boarding Your Dog

What Is Dog Boarding?

Dog boarding is the act of leaving your dog with professional animal supervisors that care for your pet in your absence. Some owners use dog daycare centers, which are a form of dog boarding, while others use a dog hotel, dog kennel, or dog resort. Typically, people do this when they’re unavailable to their dogs for long periods. However, these long periods can be due to long work days or a long trip away from home. There are tons of dog boarding options available since some dogs only need to be watched during the day, and then their owners will pick them up after work, and some dogs need full-time care for a week or more since their owners are on vacation and can’t take their pet with them.  

When it comes to topics like dog boarding, there are a lot of misconceptions hidden in this act. For example, many people wrongly think that dog boarding is uncomfortable for all animals and that dogs never leave their kennels. Sometimes people get the wrong idea and assume that dog boarding only provides a dog with basic needs like shelter and food, but this is untrue. Dog boarding options will always offer basic needs like shelter and food, but they also give your pet physical and mental health needs. In addition, all dog boarding facilities have staff trained to help your pet relieve themselves, to play with them, and even to teach them new tricks. dog with suitcase

So many misconceptions are spread about dog boarding because this term is incredibly broad and covers many different housing styles. Each of these housing methods offers dogs basic care, but many offer even more care and amenities for a higher price. Sometimes humans have to pay extra to get their pet’s playtime, training, or grooming, but some boarding facilities come with these additions. Still, pet owners can try to find their dogs an affordable dog boarding location that offers physical, mental, and basic needs and pampering amenities. Owners also have the option to find luxurious dog boarding locations that offer their pets nicer amenities and provide excessive amounts of affection or toys.

No matter your location, every place will take your dog to the bathroom, provide shelter, and provide a kennel—the quality of these businesses changes based on the atmosphere they provide. You can find extremely high-quality locations that offer your pet a fun staycation while you go on your vacation, but these places are usually costly. Each dog owner can find a location best fit for their pet’s needs as long as they stay informed and know what environments, amenities, add-ons, and policies they should search about before housing their pet in these facilities. 

A Few Things to Consider Before Boarding Your Dog 

When you leave town for a few days, it can be super hard for pet parents to let go of any worry or guilt for leaving their pet behind. Researching the right facility for your dog can help you rise above these feelings and feel reassured about your decision.

Dog owners can only really know how well-maintained a dog boarding facility is if they see them in person to examine the areas. However, because of the recent pandemic, you should call ahead to find out if the facility you are interested in requires an appointment or allows walk-ins. It’s essential to check up on this before you randomly show up at a facility, that way, you don’t waste your time. 

Once you can tour the inside of the dog boarding space, you should immediately ask to see the living spaces. Keep in mind the behavior the employees have too. You want to make sure the place you’re trusting with your pet has mature, fully trained employees that are kind and patient. You shouldn’t trust them with your dog if they’re uncaring to you. Many dog boarding places give their dogs kennels to sleep in like cages, although some over-the-top locations may provide entire rooms to dogs. Either way, try to explore the premises and keep an eye out for how clean the location stays. Next, you’ll want to check the kind of curriculum a place offers. Most dog boarding facilities will provide a schedule for meal times, play times, potty breaks, and your dog’s hours in the kennel. If you want your pet to get treated like it would at home, ask if the location offers training services or has an obstacle course your pet could play and practice with an employee. dog with employee

When picking the best place to leave your pet while you’re away from home, there are many considerations. First, it would be best if you remembered that many dog boarding facilities could be animal boarding facilities in that they may take cats, snakes, or birds in addition to dogs. While these places undoubtedly must have safety practices in mind to ensure no animals are in the way of harm, if your pet is very aggressive to small animals like birds and cats, you might want to avoid taking them to a place that houses animals like them. 

Another note that should cross your mind when considering what places to leave your pet is the cost. Dog boarding is expensive, and while you may be thinking, “why don’t I just hire a pet sitter?” remember that professional pet sitters are often more costly than dog boarding locations. This is because pet sitters will follow an organized plan created by you, the dog’s owner. Boarding facilities make general rules to follow so that all dogs in their environment maintain a healthy and manageable schedule created by the boarding facility and its employees. 

Cost is inevitably a large part of caring for your pet and choosing the right boarding option. But remember that leaving your dog at home may be worth it, and shucking out the extra dollars to hire a dog sitter can help your pet significantly more. If you have an extremely anxious dog, an old dog, a very aggressive dog, or a sickly pet, leaving them in the comfort of their own home can benefit them in many ways. Dog boarding facilities offer basic needs, including physical and mental ones, but they are made to house many dogs more efficiently and aren’t always the best-fit places for more high-maintenance pets. Also, dogs will always be more comfortable at home since they’re familiar with their surroundings. Paying a dog sitter’s extra cost might be worth it for some pet parents. 

However, if you still decide that your pet will be fine in a dog boarding location, then you are in luck. There are tons of dog boarding options all over the country. Many pet owners trust and are loyal to one dog boarding facility, and often veterinarians know great boarding options in their local vicinities. When looking for a dog boarding place, make sure you go through all your options to find which scenario is best for your dog. Also, don’t hesitate to contact local dog owner communities and your local vet’s office to ask for great recommendations or wary reviews of places to avoid. 

woman with dogs
Photo source: Amazon.com


Different Types of Dog Boarding

Dog Hotel

A dog hotel sounds like a building full of happy dogs strutting about, and it pretty much is. Dog hotels are standard dog boarding options more accommodating than the average dog kennel. Dog hotels can offer a wide range of upscale living facilities or different sleeping situations and amenities available to your pup. Dog owners should always research their local dog hotels. However, a few top-rated dog hotels have great recommendations from other pet owners and provide locations in a few different cities. For example, D Pet Hotels offers sites in the west of the US. Pooch Hotels offers some of the best dog hotel options available in multiple states like California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Texas. Depending on the hotel you choose, the services offered may vary.

For example, the Pooch Hotel in Denver, CO, has a list of accommodations, including overnight boarding, doggy daycare, spa and grooming, massage therapy, training, and veterinary care. In addition, they offer a loyalty program under the name paw perks. These amenities are a few things that separate dog hotels from other, more low-key dog boarding facilities. 

If you’re considering putting your dog in a dog hotel, check the hotel’s reviews and ratings. When you visit, ensure the hotel is clean and the staff is welcoming and friendly. If they have a staff shortage, that could pose a problem to the promised care provided for your pet. If you live in a hot location, check the airflow and ask about the temperature control the building gets. Ask if you can check in on your pet via a camera in the room and if an employee can send you videos or pictures during organized playtimes or training times. You should also check to see if there is a vet or vet tech on staff. Ask the location about vaccines and if all animals have to be up to date on vaccines, including the other types of animals a boarding facility might house, such as cats, birds, and snakes. dog pool sign

Dog Resort

As with a dog hotel, a dog resort is similar to a regular canine boarding business but with an added flair. Dog resorts will have all basic needs met and can provide pets with many fun amenities for dogs to enjoy. Some dog resorts offer pets complete suites and even have outdoor patios available for specific suites. These resorts ensure dogs get repetitive yard visits and have plenty of playtime and care. Dog resorts will do their best to give your dog physical stimulation, mental stimulation, affection, fresh air, and plenty of comfort in addition to your pet’s basic needs. 

One of the best parts about dog resorts is that they often have tailored areas for dogs of certain ages or sizes. Dog resorts understand that while most bulk boarding facilities don’t have the money or space to build separate kenneling areas, it shouldn’t be something that’s overlooked. Dog resorts are often much more pricey than an average dog kennel, but that’s because your dog is offered much more personalization than other facilities.

Remember that you should still check out these resorts before booking your stay. With high-demand places like dog resorts, you’ll also want to make sure there are dates available for your stay. In addition, dog resorts often have more trained staff, so check to see if they have veterinarians, vet techs, or if their team is first-aid trained just in case. Many places provide these services, and you shouldn’t pay the extra fees that a dog resort has if it doesn’t offer resort-worthy amenities. dog in luxury bed

Dog Kennel

If you’re going away for more than a few days, you might want something more luxurious for your pup. However, if you’re going to be out of town for a day or two and can’t take your pet with you, something like a dog kennel could be the perfect solution. Dog kennels provide the bare minimum dogs need to stay healthy in their parent’s absences. They’re best-fit locations for animals that only need a few nights at a boarding facility and for very low-maintenance pets. According to the dog website Rover, “At a traditional kennel, you can expect your dog’s basic needs to be met—feeding, water, daily walks or outside time, and maybe some interaction with other dogs.” Kennel boarding isn’t very luxurious and doesn’t have tons of great amenities like a dog spa and grooming. However, dog kennel locations often provide extra amenities that owners can pay for with an additional fee. 

Many people are more familiar with dog kennel boarding than the other options because this is one of the most accessible, affordable, and popular options for dog boarding. However, it would be best to check these facilities before entrusting your dog to one. As you would with the other locations, you need to check the cleanliness and the shared dog areas and ensure proper airflow in the kennels. It would be best to ask the kennel what their schedule is when it comes to letting dogs relieve themselves, eat, and play outside their kennels. See if you can check in on your pup or if the business can send videos and pictures to you while you’re away from home. You should also ensure that a vet or vet tech is on staff and that all animals are vaccinated, so you know your pet will be safe no matter what. dog kennel

Dog Daycare

If you’re interested in dog boarding but only temporary dog boarding while you’re away at work, then doggy daycare is what you need. Dog daycare is available at most boarding facilities, usually providing similar services, except your dog will have to leave before the night is over to go home with you. 

Daycare options will provide everything your pet needs to stay happy and healthy on an average day. So these places will give your pet food, time outside, potty breaks, playtime, and any medications your pet may need while at the boarding center. The only difference between typical dog boarding and dog daycare is that your pet may not receive the same special offers as dogs staying overnight. The amenities available to your dog will change depending on the facility you choose to put your pup in.

It would be best if you still walked through daycare options even though your dog wouldn’t be staying overnight. You want to make sure you can trust the place that is housing your pet, and the best way to develop that sense of trust is by making sure the place you visit has a clean environment, friendly staff, and can answer all the questions you have about your dog’s time there. dog daycare


There is a lot of dog boarding information available to owners who want to know which place is best for their pets. There is also a lot of information pet owners need to keep in mind when choosing the best fit facility. Remember to think of your dog’s needs first and foremost. If your dog is too sick, old, aggressive, nervous, and anxious, you should try to get a pet sitter before committing to a dog boarding facility. However, if you want your dog to become more comfortable away from you, finding the right dog boarding facility can be a great way to do this. 

Know that when you book dog boarding locations, you’ll need to take your pet’s food, medications, and potentially other things like toys or treats based on the specific facility. Always look into the products you need to provide, so your pup has everything they need while you’re away. Also, make reservations for these places early. Dog boarding facilities can fill up quickly, especially around the holidays. Be careful and ensure you have a spot secured before lowering your standards to pick a less-than-ideal boarding replacement. Once you find the right boarding place for your dog, you’ll feel safer knowing you prepared the best care available for your furry friend.  

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