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As paw parents, we’d always want to be with our dogs. But there are vacation plans or work travels where our furry friend can’t tag along.
While you’re away, you want your pet to relax and be as comfortable as possible. Now, there’s a solution – dog boarding kennels and pet sitting services.
Here’s what you need to know about dog boarding and to find the best one near you.
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Dog Boarding VS Pet Sitting
The main difference between the two is the attention of care and length of stay.
One of the things you have to consider is if you want your dog to stay in the environment she’s used to. Would she be happier with paw pals around?
What does “in-home pet sitting” mean?
It’s like hiring a babysitter, but it’s someone who takes explicit care of pets.
This means a certified pet sitter will come to your home to watch over your dog. If you don’t want your fur baby staying in a kennel, then this is the right choice for you.
Understandably, there are pet moms and dads who would prefer to have their dog to stay in their own home. After all, some canines get stressed whenever they’re outside of the environment that they’re used to.
For those who want to book lodging for their canine, then the next one is for you.
Defining dog boarding
This is a dog care option where your pet would be staying in a lodging facility. It’s an excellent option for paw parents who don’t feel comfortable having other people in their house.
Depending on how long you’ll need someone to take care of your dog, you can opt for long- or short-term dog boarding. Not only that, there are different kinds of cage-free boarding for dogs so your pet wouldn’t experience any stress of being caged.
Most boarding facilities also offer additional services such as grooming, engaging activities, and a bit of behavioral training.
Types of dog boarding kennels
Before you check out boarding kennels, you have to think first about the environment that your dog is used to.
Questions such as – Is your dog a social butterfly and do well with other canines? Is your pooch a barker? Does she enjoy chewing on anything when bored? Or does she prefer to relax in solitude? – will help you pick the right lodging for your pet.
Kennel-style boarding for dogs
This type of boarding involves private enclosures that are custom-built for a dog or two. Your pet can enjoy the indoors with sheltered bed space, an open area for food, and an outdoor to play with other boarders.
For pets who don’t do well with other dogs will do best in kennels since they are separate from other canines.
The dogs will get their potty breaks once staff members let them out of their kennel, about four times a day. Kennel-style lodging for pets was the most common boarding, but there are other facilities that offer a more personalized and comfortable option.
In-home boarding kennels
Perfect for those pet parents who’d prefer to have their dog stay at an actual home – a dog sitter’s home.
Those who accept boarding dogs in their own house has a small number of pets, about a maximum of 5.
It will be less stressful for pets, especially for those who have a nervous temperament and don’t like the busy kennels. They’re also suitable for delicate dogs, as well as the young and old. This kind of boarding will reduce the risk of pets getting sick or picking up germs.
Other owners prefer the idea of having their dog enjoy all the comforts of home.
Free-Range Doggie Kennels
Most suitable for friendly dogs! This kind of boarding kennels has a large, open doggie daycare area for pets to socialize.
What operators do here is have the dogs separated based on their temperament, size, and age. So expect for these kinds of facilities to require owners to bring their pets in advance so they can be assessed.
Once their playtime is over, your dog will get to sleep with up to 5 new friends that she made in a large room.
Posh Hotel for Dogs
If you’ve seen the actual movie “Hotel for Dogs,” there really are fancy hotels for pets.
They can range from simple and functional to a 5-star luxury hotel that can wow all pet parents and their furry friends! To give you a headstart, a chain of D-Pet Hotels has locations in Hollywood, Austin, LA, Scottsdale, and Chelsea. They boast luxury suites, flatscreen TVs, and an ala carte menu.
You can also choose a service for your dog from amazing choices such as a Bentley, Rolls Royce, or Porsche, and more!
Another luxurious hotel is Grand Pet Resort and Spa in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s one of the best options as you can keep an eye on your dog via webcam (DogCams). They have a dog-friendly bakery, their signature bone-shaped pool, and private suites. They go the extra mile with flat-screen TVs, soothing music, treats, and even hugs.
If you’re health-conscious, try Henderson Pet Resort in Henderson, Nevada. They offer daycare and dog boarding services with air purification and hospital-grade disinfection. They also have commercial-grade laundry and dishwashing systems that both sanitize everything that your pooch uses.
Expect your pet in safe hands since there’s an on-site staff 24/7 and webcam access so you can also check in on your dog.
Before we move on, here’s a quick tour of Petsmart’s PetHotel by Bailey, the Golden Retriever.
How to pick a good boarding kennel for your dog
Once you find that perfect doggie daycare or pet boarding for your fur baby, you’ll probably want to stick with them and their services.
It might sound easy, but here are the significant factors that you have to look out for when choosing a boarding kennel for your pet.
Cleanliness of the facilities
It’s best if you visit the kennel, so you know the kind of place your dog will be spending her time in while you’re away. As tempting as it is to show up unannounced to catch everything in the act, it’s best to call ahead and arrange a schedule.
Think about what’s convenient for the operator of the kennel. With so many tasks to accomplish, it wouldn’t be courteous to disrupt the schedule or routine of everyone, especially the dogs that are currently in their care.
Once you’re there, use your senses to observe. Does everything smell and look clean? Are there areas that are air-conditioned or heated?
If possible, visit more than once to verify the consistency of how things are.
Availability of drinking water for dogs
Boarding facilities have a lot of activities for their guests, so it makes sense that these pets should have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Especially if a dog is experiencing stress for being in a new environment.
Some kennel operators withhold water at certain times to minimize the potty breaks the dogs need.
But did you know that certain breeds are more prone to bloat? Those are dogs who are large and over seven years old, as well as deep-chested canines.
The only time that they can limit a dog’s water intake is if they’re following protocols to avoid bloating. So if this is the case for your pet, let the boarding operator know the reason behind the request.
Private access to outdoor runs
This would depend on how the facility is designed. Some boarding kennels have a doggie door for each enclosure that will lead the pets to an outdoor field. If the weather permits it, they’re left open throughout the day.
If during your visit and you notice there isn’t a doggie door, ask how many times the dogs are taken out of their enclosures in a day and how long. Once they’re out, is it just to pee? Are they allowed to roam and go for a walk for a few more minutes?
Ideally, pets should be taken out of their enclosure twice a day, for at least 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
Which means staffing is also necessary. If there are too many dogs and fewer people to handle them, that could be a problem. There isn’t too much time left for meal preparation, cleaning, and the staff member’s breaks.
Security of the area
How safe is the boarding kennel?
Just in case your pet slips out of her enclosure, is the building door or gate closed to make sure dogs won’t be able to go far? Is there a fence that would stop boarders from running into a road?
Separation in the enclosures
Consider this factor as some pets have issues and aren’t at ease when another dog is present, like someone bigger than them.
It’s best if there’s a visual barrier to reduce stress and keep the peace between the pet guests.
Also, canines shouldn’t be able to make physical contact when in their private enclosures, such as spaces above or beneath walls.
Health emergency protocols
No matter what medical emergency might happen during your dog’s stay in a boarding kennel, you’d want to make sure that everyone working there knows what to do.
All the staff should be certified in pet first aid. It’s also a great facility if they have transportation available all the time. If in case they need to get a dog to a vet, then they’d be easily able to do so.
It’s advisable to put into writing a list of medical decisions that the kennel operator can make on your behalf, as well as the ones you’re supposed to be making.
Your pet’s socialization can raise a lot of questions. Some boarding kennels promote dog-to-dog interactions while some may prevent it from happening. It can be tricky as there are dogs who do well in the company of other paw pals.
Teaching dogs to play along well with fellow canines can be healthy, especially if it’s well supervised and managed.
But some have to be kept apart from each other due to being aggressive or fearful. Some pets can’t socialize due to injuries, or they’re still recovering from an illness or surgery. While elderly dogs can’t engage physically the way they did when they were younger.
For those pooches who are allowed to interact, the play area should be spacious. It shouldn’t consist of more than a group of 10 to 15 dogs. And again, at least one person should be supervising a group.
It would help put your mind at ease to know how your pet’s playmates are selected.
Is it based on size or their temperament? Are the staff qualified in reading dog body language so they can recognize if any of them is under discomfort, stress, or volatile situations? How would they handle the dogs in such circumstances?
If you, as an owner, would prefer not to have your pet playing with other boarders, would the operator and staff respect your wishes? You’d know what’s best for your dog. The decisions and requests you make should be honored.
Another essential thing to know is how they handle misbehavior, like excessive barking or growling. What exactly will they do to the pet-boarders?
Ask for specific answers as any type of discipline and handling tools are UNACCEPTABLE.
No matter what, all dogs should be treated with patience and kindness. That’s why you entrusted your fur baby to them. If they’re certified and qualified with this kind of business, they should know how to manage dogs under their care.
Be prepared to provide your dog’s health records as most boarding kennels will ensure that your dog’s vaccines are up-to-date.
Even if you have personal feelings towards their protocols regarding immunization, if you want their service, you’ve got to meet their requirements.
Depending on the age, size, and medical background, dogs would have different dietary needs.
Would staff members assigned to watch over your dog be able to maintain the kind of diet specified for her? Would they follow your instructions about feeding her?
It’s a tedious task, especially for those dogs who are used to the raw food diet. Does the boarding kennel have the necessary refrigerators and freezers to store the ingredients and food? Do they also have the time to prepare and mix dehydrated meals?
For treats, if you packed stuffed Kong’s for a whole week with special treats, will they be able to give it to your dog as she requested?
Expertise and staffing
By entrusting your chosen kennel with your dog, you want to make sure that there’s always someone available within earshot. Especially if you’re leaving your pet overnight or for a few days, ask if there are staff members 24/7.
How about if the boarding kennel is a newly built facility?
Whether they’re popular or just starting with this kind of business, everyone should be trained. They should have plenty of experience dealing with different breeds.
And since the laws are different from one state to another, the legal documents are also different. Ensure that they have the required certifications to operate in your specific location.
Dog Boarding Prices – Daily, weekly, & monthly rates
Remember that the cost of boarding your dog would depend on the type of lodging, services, and length of stay. Location and the time of year can also affect the pricing.
We’ve prepared the average rates depending on how long your dog will stay in the kennels and the type of boarding. It’s still important to do in-depth research on all options available near you before booking your trip.
Dog boarding rates per day
If you’re going to board your dog for a day, the average cost is about $15 to $29.
Aside from boarding, you’d also be paying for activities such as lunch, quiet time, and mostly play with dogs with the same size as your dog. Then you’d have to pick her up after work or your daily errands.
Let’s say you won’t be able to pick up your fur baby at the time discussed, so it’s reasonable to pay an additional fee for the exceeding time.
There are boarding kennels that have a lock-up time. If that’s the case, then you can pick up your pet the next day and expect to pay overnight fees.
Overnight dog boarding rates
Having your dog stay in the kennel over the night would cost about $29 to $80. Since your pet would be sleeping in the facility, the price depends on the size and type of room you choose.
If you pick out a room that has a raised doggy bed, a TV and a DVD player, with a theme-based decor, some kennels that charge for $55 to $84.
Cost of boarding a dog for a week
The average weekly boarding rates can range within $140 to $175 – and that’s for a typical kennel.
If you opt for a luxury dog hotel for your pet, expect the price to be about $525 to $665.
The price for boarding a dog for a week can still go up as there’s a lot of choices when it comes to the size of the room. Not to mention the amenities and services you’re going to add.
Monthly boarding rates for dogs
With its duration, the cost can range between $458 to $610 in a usual kennel. For luxurious hotels for pets, it can go up to $2,600. It usually includes additional amenities and services you pick out for your dog to enjoy.
For daycare, most of them offer long term packages for up to 6 months, where costs can range from $2,000 to $3,000.
If you’re boarding more than one dog, some kennels offer discounted rates of about 10% to 50% off for each additional dog.
Discounts are more common for smaller breeds as they can share a crate, a bed, or a room.
Cost of dog boarding by type
Another significant factor that would affect the price is the kind of boarding kennel you choose and the services they offer.
The price range that we have below would help give an idea of what’s most suitable for your budget while making sure your dog has a great time during their stay.
Dog Kennel Rates
A traditional boarding kennel can cost an average of $25 to $55 per night.
These kinds of typical facilities would include playtime, walks, water, and meals, as well as a personal crate with doggy bedding for a good night’s sleep.
If you choose a boarding kennel that offers training, the rates are between $500 to $1,000 a week. They’d be taught basic training and obedience tasks.
Luxury Dog Hotel Prices
For a luxurious stay, dog boarding hotels have rates from $75 to $95 a night.
Although it’s more pricey, your pet can enjoy large dog suites, spa services, gourmet food, large outdoor play areas, and a swimming pool. You can also keep an eye on your pooch from time to time with the online webcam.
Some boarding kennels can offer some or most of these upgrades, but for an additional $15 to $20 per night.
Let’s use Sparta Pet Palazzo as an example. They offer the amenities mentioned above on a per night basis:
- For $75, you can get your dog a 10×7 room with a TV and leather loveseat
- For $85, a 16×13 room will give your dog a private bed, TV, and webcam
- For $95, a more spacious room with a size of 20×20 has a leather sofa, TV, and webcam
Dog sitting and In-home boarding cost
If it’s okay with you that your dog stays in a sitter’s home, the price range will depend on the qualifications and experience of the sitter. Those who are background checked, their rates are between $15 to $50 a day or night.
Rather than letting your dog stay in a locked kennel alone, you’d be comfortable knowing that your pet is with someone who loves dogs and has a pleasant stay.
If you prefer to have your pooch stay in your own house and it’s okay to have a sitter come over, professionals can charge for $70 a night, and $5 additional if you have another dog.
You can have someone stay indoors or check on your dog every 4 hours or so.
Vet & animal hospital boarding costs
There are a lot of veterinarians, infirmaries, and pet hospitals that offer boarding services, too.
The average cost is about $35 to $45 a night for dogs with no medical issues. For those with medical or behavioral problems, it can go up to $39 to $55 as they need to be isolated.
A lot of dog owners are willing to pay the price as they feel more confident in leaving their pet under the care and supervision of trained and experienced staff.
Preparing your dog for boarding
It’s ideal to have your dog spend three days of doggy daycare prior to her stay at your chosen boarding kennel. It will allow her to get comfortable and used to the staff and facility. Not only that, it will give the staff members a chance to learn your pet’s preferences and personality.
Bring your fur baby’s meals, especially if she’s on a specific diet and prevent digestive problems. You might want to bring extra as your dog is going to be busy and burning more calories.
If your dog has a favorite bedding or blanket, bring it as well so she’ll feel more “at home.”
Don’t worry about toys. Your dog will surely be busy with all the activities and other pets around her. Besides, it might cause problems as she can get possessive of her own toy.
Here’s a short video on how to prepare your pet for her stay in a boarding kennel.
What to expect after boarding your dog
Since your pet has been more active during her stay in the boarding kennel, expect her to be more thirsty upon arriving home. Don’t fuss! This is a normal reaction when canines are overwhelmed with excitement.
Let your pooch calm down and withhold water for the first 30 minutes from the time they got home.
Once she’s all settled, try giving her a small bowl of water. Continue doing so while monitoring her for the next few hours. Dogs that drink too much too quickly can lead to problems such as vomiting and bloating.
With regards to feeding, wait for at least 3 hours after arriving home before letting your fur baby eat. Just as with drinking water too fast, this will also cause illnesses.
Then make sure your pet gets lots of sleep. She’d need to recover from being very tired from all the activities and excitement she had from her stay with the boarding kennel. Avoid over-exhaustion by canceling trips to the dog park or play dates for at least a few days.
Conduct further research about boarding kennels near you
In the end, a big part that would tell you about how boarding kennels operate is their reputation.
They may have well-designed websites and advertising, but you might want to get references from actual people who have used and continue to use their services.
You can even ask vet clinics around their area on their opinion about a specific boarding kennel.
Just bear in mind that some responsibility would fall on you as an owner. Be sure to provide instructions clearly and even put them in writing. If you want, provide a schedule of what your dog’s routine is like.
It’s understandable that all dogs have their individual needs when it comes to their temperament, dietary requirements, and medication.
What’s your top priority when choosing a pet sitter or a dog boarding kennel? Help other pet parents by sharing your tips and ideas by typing it all in the comment box below.