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pet boarding facilities for dogs

5 Tips on Finding the Best Pet Boarding Facility

A German Shepherd in a shed inside a pet resort

Choosing the right boarding services for your pet is an important part of your vacation planning. Deciding to go with boarding instead of a pet sitter can be a good choice if your dog or cat gets lonely when you’re away, or if your pet needs extra attention due to special health or dietary needs.

How do you find the best dog or cat boarding place with the right boarding services for your furry friend? Here are some tips to help you pick the right one:

A cat in a cat tower inside a pet hotel

Pet Boarding Tips

1. Take A Tour Of The Facility

Before you book your pet’s stay, make an in-person visit and take a tour of the cat or dog boarding place, including the particular type of room where your pet would be residing.

The owners should welcome a visit, show you what you’d like to see, and answer any questions. Take a close look at the pets that are there during your visit, and the general conditions of the facility. Pay attention to smells and sounds as well as how it looks.

Two four legged dogs inside a big kennel in a dog boarding facility pet resort

2. Learn How The Pet Care Facility Will Update You

Find out how the cat or dog boarding facilities will update you on your pet’s well-being while you are away. Do they have webcams, send daily update emails with pictures, or take your phone calls whenever you’d like to check in on your pet? If not - it may be helpful to look elsewhere.

Two dogs playing with a tennis ball in a daycare and boarding pet resort

3. Learn About Activities Your Pet Can Get

Ask about what types of play and exercise your dog or cat will get while boarding. For cats, are there cat trees and other things to climb on? Is there a window so your cat can look outside?

Do they have toys or can you bring your cat’s own toys? For dogs, check to see how many play/exercise times are included in the fee.

How will your dog interact with the other dogs there? Do they separate the dogs by size or personality? Will they walk your dog individually if you ask for that?

Two dogs being walked in a luxury pet facility as part of their dog boarding services

4. Ensure They Understand Your Pet's Special Care Requirements

Make sure that the kennel staff understands your pet’s special care requirements, such as following prescription diets and administering medications properly.

Ask them how they handle medical emergencies. Give them your vet’s contact information and make sure they have an established relationship with an emergency veterinary practice.

Go over the contract carefully so you know how they will notify you in case of an emergency.

A cat on a table being checked by a veterinarian in pet hotels


5. Research your state’s certification and inspection requirements for boarding kennels.

Ask to see the documentation if your state conducts inspections to make sure the facility is up to standards. Is the facility a member of the American Boarding Kennels Association? Member kennels pledge to abide by a code of ethics and participate in a voluntary accreditation program.

There you have it, five tips on finding the best boarding place for your dogs and cats!

If you have pets and planning to move to a new home soon, check out our 5 Tips to Make Moving with Pets Easier.

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What is dog boarding?

Dog boarding means a facility or place where dog owners can let their dog stay overnight while away from home.

What is dog daycare?

Dog daycare is boarding and daycare for a short-term daytime care for dogs.


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Michaela Hemsley - August 31, 2021

Thanks for these tips on how to choose a pet boarding facility. I’m going on vacation soon and want to board my dog while I’m gone. I’ll have to remember to tour the facilities I’m considering like you suggested.

Shammy Peterson - June 2, 2021

I like that you suggested making an in-person visit so you can tour the boarding facility before booking your pet’s stay. My husband and I are going out of the country for a week because we will be attending a wedding event of his sister. We want to make sure that our dog is not going to get catch diseases or any type of infections due to a boarding facility that does not prioritize sanitation. We will do all your tips.

Charlotte Fleet - April 2, 2021

My husband and I are going on a trip in two weeks and we need to find a kennel to board our dog while we are gone. I appreciate your tip to visit a facility in person and take a tour to get a better idea of its quality and conditions. We will be sure to keep this in mind to find a reliable kennel for our puppy.

Levi Armstrong - March 9, 2021

I like that you said I should ask a pet boarding facility what kind of play and exercise my pet will get well under their care. My husband and I are traveling abroad next month, so we’re looking for a pet boarding facility for two dogs. Our pets are big and need regular exercise, so this is an excellent fit for us. Thanks!

Zachary Tomlinson - December 6, 2020

My friend is leaving for Europe by next year for a company trip, and he’s looking for somewhere or someone that can take care of his furry friends. It totally makes sense when you mentioned that you should look for an animal boarding facility that can assist your dog with their medications or food choices. I should recommend that he look into an animal hospital with boarding facilities!

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