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10 Essential Tips for Choosing the Right Dog Boarding Facility

When it comes to finding the right dog boarding facility, it’s essential to select one that ensures the well-being and happiness of your furry friend. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to make the best choice. However, by considering these 10 essential tips, you can confidently select a boarding facility that meets your dog’s needs and provides them with a safe and comfortable environment.

Five dogs of different breeds are lined up, each showing various expressions. From left to right: a chocolate Labrador, a Jack Russell Terrier, a Bulldog, a Pug, and a Beagle.
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Consider the Facility's Reputation and Experience

Start by researching the facility’s reputation and experience. Look for a boarding facility with a positive track record and established experience in caring for dogs. Check online reviews and testimonials from other dog owners to get a sense of their experiences. Additionally, inquire if the facility has any certifications or accreditations that demonstrate their commitment to quality care.

Check Online Reviews and Testimonials from Other Dog Owners

Online reviews and testimonials from other dog owners can provide valuable insights into the experiences of those who have used the facility. Read reviews on reputable platforms and pay attention to recurring themes. Positive reviews and high ratings are indications of satisfied customers, while consistent negative feedback should be taken into consideration.

Inquire About the Facility's Certifications and Accreditations

Inquire about the facility’s certifications and accreditations, as they demonstrate their commitment to maintaining high standards of care. Look for certifications such as those from professional associations or industry-specific organizations. These certifications indicate that the facility meets specific criteria and adheres to established guidelines for the well-being of the dogs in their care.

Evaluate the Facility's Amenities and Safety Measures

Assess the cleanliness and hygiene of the facility. Clean and well-maintained surroundings are indicative of a facility that prioritizes the health and well-being of its guests. Consider the size and layout of the kennels or boarding areas to ensure your dog will have enough space to move around comfortably. Inquire about the safety measures in place, such as secure fencing and supervision, to ensure your dog’s safety during their stay.

Check the Size and Layout of the Kennels or Boarding Areas

Evaluate the size and layout of the kennels or boarding areas to ensure they provide adequate space for your dog to move, stretch, and rest comfortably. Dogs should have enough room to stand up, turn around, and lie down without feeling cramped. Additionally, assess the ventilation and lighting in the kennels to ensure a comfortable and well-lit environment for your dog.

Inquire About the Safety Measures in Place, such as Secure Fencing and Supervision

Safety should be a top priority in a dog boarding facility. Inquire about the safety measures implemented, such as secure fencing to prevent dogs from escaping and adequate supervision to ensure their well-being. Ask about the staff-to-dog ratio and how frequently they conduct checks on the dogs. A facility with appropriate safety measures in place helps minimize risks and provides a secure environment for your dog’s stay.

Several dogs of various breeds playing joyfully in a sunny backyard with a wooden fence and a yellow house in the background.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Examine the Staff Qualifications and Training

The qualifications and training of the staff members play a crucial role in providing quality care for your dog. Inquire about their qualifications, certifications, and any specialized training they have received. Staff members with a background in animal care, veterinary assistance, or relevant certifications indicate a higher level of expertise and knowledge.

Ask if the Staff is Trained in Pet First Aid and CPR

Emergencies can happen, so it’s important to ensure that the staff is trained in pet first aid and CPR. Inquire if they have undergone any specific training programs related to handling emergency situations. Staff members who are knowledgeable in pet first aid and CPR can provide immediate assistance and potentially save a dog’s life in critical situations.

Assess the Staff-to-Dog Ratio to Ensure Proper Attention and Care

The staff-to-dog ratio is a critical factor in assessing the level of attention and care your dog will receive. A lower staff-to-dog ratio allows for more individualized attention and ensures that each dog’s needs are met. Inquire about the facility’s ratio and assess if it aligns with your expectations for the level of care your dog deserves.

Understand the Daily Routine and Exercise Opportunities

Understanding the facility’s daily routine is important to ensure that it aligns with your dog’s needs and preferences. Inquire about the feeding schedule, exercise routines, and playtime activities. A consistent and structured daily routine helps provide a sense of familiarity and comfort for your dog during their stay.

Check if the Facility Provides Adequate Exercise Opportunities, such as Outdoor Areas or Playgroups

Exercise is crucial for a dog’s physical and mental well-being. Check if the facility provides ample exercise opportunities, such as access to outdoor areas or organized playgroups. Dogs should have the opportunity to engage in regular exercise and have access to stimulating activities to keep them mentally and physically active during their stay.

Ensure the Facility Can Accommodate Your Dog's Specific Exercise Needs

Each dog has unique exercise requirements. If your dog has specific exercise needs, such as higher energy levels or specialized activities, ensure that the facility can accommodate them. Inquire about their ability to meet your dog’s specific exercise needs and discuss any concerns or requirements with the facility staff.

Consider Special Needs and Medical Care

If your dog has special needs, it’s important to ensure that the facility can accommodate them. Inquire about their experience in handling dogs with special requirements, such as mobility issues, dietary restrictions, or behavioral concerns. Discuss your dog’s specific needs with the facility staff to ensure that they can provide the necessary care and accommodations.

Ask about Their Procedures for Administering Medications or Handling Medical Emergencies

If your dog requires medications or has a medical condition, inquire about the facility’s procedures for administering medications and handling medical emergencies. Ensure that they have clear protocols in place to handle any medical needs that may arise during your dog’s stay. Understanding their approach to medical care provides peace of mind and reassurance.

Check if There is a Veterinarian On-Call or Nearby in Case of Emergencies

Inquire if there is a veterinarian on-call or nearby in case of emergencies. Having immediate access to veterinary care is crucial if any health issues or emergencies occur during your dog’s stay. Knowing that professional veterinary care is readily available can alleviate concerns and ensure that your dog receives prompt medical attention if needed.

a dog is being examined by a veterinarian.

Evaluate the Socialization and Interaction Opportunities

Socialization is important for a dog’s well-being. Inquire about the facility’s socialization practices and opportunities for dogs to interact with others. Ask if they have designated play areas or supervised playgroups where dogs can engage in positive social interactions. Dogs that have the opportunity to socialize with other dogs can have a more enriching and enjoyable boarding experience.

Assess if the Facility Separates Dogs Based on Size, Temperament, or Play Styles

Assess whether the facility separates dogs based on factors such as size, temperament, or play styles. Separating dogs appropriately ensures a safe and harmonious environment for all guests. Dogs of similar size, energy levels, or play styles are more likely to have compatible interactions, reducing the risk of conflicts or injuries.

Consider if the Facility Offers Additional Services, Such as Group Training or Enrichment Activities

Consider if the facility offers additional services that can enhance your dog’s boarding experience. Some facilities may provide group training sessions, enrichment activities, or specialized programs to stimulate and engage the dogs. These services can contribute to your dog’s mental and physical well-being during their stay.

Visit the Facility in Person

To get a firsthand experience of the facility, schedule a visit to observe the environment and interactions. Pay attention to cleanliness, organization, and overall atmosphere. Observe the condition of the facilities, such as the cleanliness of the kennels, play areas, and common spaces. A well-maintained and organized facility indicates a commitment to providing a comfortable and safe environment for dogs.

Assess the Cleanliness, Organization, and Overall Atmosphere

Evaluate the cleanliness, organization, and overall atmosphere of the facility. Clean and well-maintained surroundings not only provide a hygienic environment but also indicate the level of care and attention given to the dogs. Observe if there is appropriate waste management, regular cleaning routines, and proper ventilation to ensure a healthy and comfortable space for your dog.

Observe How Staff Members Interact with the Dogs and Address Any Concerns or Questions

Observe how staff members interact with the dogs during your visit. Are they attentive, gentle, and knowledgeable? Do they address the dogs’ needs and respond to their behaviors appropriately? Take note of their approach and communication style. Don’t hesitate to address any concerns or ask questions you may have about the facility’s operations or practices.

Seek Recommendations and References

Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family members, or your veterinarian. Their personal experiences and insights can provide valuable information about reputable and reliable boarding facilities in your area. They can offer first-hand accounts of their experiences and help guide your decision-making process.

Request References from the Facility and Contact Them to Inquire about Their Experiences

Request references from the facility itself and reach out to them to inquire about their experiences. References can provide insights into the facility’s strengths, areas for improvement, and overall customer satisfaction. Inquire about their satisfaction with the care provided, the staff’s professionalism, and any concerns they may have had during their dogs’ stays.

Consider Word-of-Mouth Referrals from Other Dog Owners in Your Community

Consider word-of-mouth referrals from other dog owners in your community. Talk to fellow dog owners about their experiences with different boarding facilities. Their recommendations and personal experiences can give you valuable insights and help you make an informed decision based on trusted opinions.

Two huskies on leashes sitting on a city street, flanked by two people partially visible, with parked motorcycles in the background.

Trust Your Instincts and Gut Feeling

When making a decision about a dog boarding facility, pay attention to your intuition and how comfortable you feel with the facility. Trust your initial impressions during your visit and interactions with the staff. If something feels off or raises concerns, it’s important to listen to your gut feeling. Your intuition can often guide you towards the right choice for your dog’s well-being.

Trust Your Instincts Regarding the Facility's Suitability for Your Dog's Needs

Each dog has unique needs and preferences, and as their owner, you know them best. Trust your instincts when evaluating whether a facility is suitable for your dog. Consider how well the facility can meet your dog’s individual requirements, such as exercise, socialization, and special care needs. If you have reservations or doubts, it may be an indication that the facility is not the best fit for your furry friend.

Choose a Facility That Aligns with Your Values and Priorities for Your Dog's Care

Your values and priorities for your dog’s care are important considerations when choosing a boarding facility. Consider factors such as their approach to care, their treatment of dogs, and their overall philosophy. Choose a facility that aligns with your values and provides the level of care and attention that you deem necessary for your dog. This ensures that you can feel confident and comfortable entrusting your dog to their care.

Consider the Location and Accessibility

Consider the proximity of the facility to your home or place of work. A conveniently located facility can make it easier for you to drop off and pick up your dog, especially if you have a busy schedule. Assess the accessibility of the facility, including parking options and ease of access to the entrance. A location that is easily accessible and convenient for you will make the boarding experience more convenient and less stressful for both you and your dog.

Evaluate The Surroundings And Nearby Amenities

Take into account the surroundings of the facility. Is it located in a noisy or congested area that may cause additional stress for your dog? Consider the presence of green spaces or walking trails nearby, as they can provide opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities during your dog’s stay. Additionally, assess the proximity of veterinary clinics or emergency services in case of any unforeseen medical needs. Considering the location and its surroundings will contribute to a more comfortable and enjoyable experience for your dog.

Choosing a dog boarding facility that is conveniently located and in a suitable environment can make drop-off and pick-up easier, minimize stress for both you and your dog, and provide additional amenities and resources that enhance your dog’s stay.


Selecting the right dog boarding facility requires thorough research and consideration. By considering these 10 essential tips, you can make an informed decision that ensures your dog’s well-being and happiness during their stay. Remember, your dog deserves a safe and comfortable environment, and choosing the right boarding facility will provide you with peace of mind while you’re away. With careful selection, you can find a facility that meets your dog’s needs and provides quality care.

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute veterinary advice. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented, it should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary guidance. Always consult a qualified veterinarian for specific advice tailored to your pet’s individual needs and health condition.

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