What to Look for in a Quality Dog Boarding Facility

What to Look for in a Quality Dog Boarding Facility

Leave your dog in good hands by knowing what to look for in a quality dog boarding facility.

You’re going away on vacation, but you won’t be able to relax if you’re constantly worrying about your pet. For many pet owners, one of the hardest things about going away is that you have to leave your dog behind. You have to find him an appropriate place to stay. The problem is that not all boarding kennels are created equal. Not to worry! We’ve put together a checklist of items that will help you weed out the less reputable establishments and pick a quality boarding kennel that’ll be like a vacation for your pooch.

Bonding, Insurance and Certifications

There are circumstances that are out of our control, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. A quality boarding facility knows this and will be bonded and insured. If your dog should be injured, if he injures another dog or person or damages property while at a bonded and insured boarding facility, you’ll be covered for costs. If you go somewhere that’s not (perhaps to save a couple of bucks), you’re on the hook for the bill. As for certifications and licenses, every state and province has different regulations in place. Know what they are in your neck of the woods and be sure that the facility holds the appropriate certifications. Don’t be afraid to ask to see official documents when you visit the kennel.


Get on Google, ask your friends and family and even talk to your vet; who do they go to in your area when they have to board their dog? Your veterinarian’s office may have the lowdown on the best local facilities or you can ask for their recommendations. When you narrow down your list, look online to find out what others are saying about them.

Staff Training

The amount of training that the staff has can vary to drastic degrees. At some, all staff must have animal care qualification, while at others, they hire students from the local high school. It may not always be possible for every member of the staff to be highly qualified, but a quality boarding kennel should always have at least one member of staff on duty who has some sort of officially recognized pet care qualification. And no matter what their position is at the kennel, all staff should also be trained in doggy first aid.


With the mounting cases of dog flu in the news, it’s never been more important to be picky when it comes to the close quarters your dog will be sharing. The kennel that you go with needs to have a rule in place that all dogs staying with them are up to date with all their vaccinations. Make sure that the boarding facility you’re interested in requires its guests to be vaccinated and carries out proper checks to ensure that everything’s in order.

Keeping it Clean

To make sure that a kennel promises the highest quality standards, you need to visit it before you send your dog to board there. During your visit, make sure you can look around all areas of the facility to check that it’s all up to code. Inspect the kennels visually to make sure they’re safe and secure and don’t have any sharp edges that your dog could hurt himself on. Check that they’re of an adequate size for the dogs they’re holding. You’re also looking to see that they’re clean and well ventilated, and don’t have strong, bad odors.

Get Some Exercise

A quality dog boarding facility needs to let the dogs blow off some steam. Some facilities have a small outdoor run attached to each kennel, giving your dog free rein of his running around time. If not, your pup needs to be taken to a large enclosed area for a proper run, and taken out for daily walks. Whatever the arrangement is with the kennel, make sure that your dog will have an exercise plan that is tailored to his needs.

Comfy Cosy

Concrete floors are easy to clean, but not so comfortable to sleep on. A boarding facility needs to have warm beds or raised areas where your dog can get off the cold concrete floor. Ask if you can provide your own bedding from home, so that your dog has something familiar with him.

Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.
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