A dog receiving advice about kenneling options

Boarding your dog: top tips for choosing the right kennels for your dog

Deciding to board your dog when you take a family holiday or travel with work is a tough decision for any dog lover, but there are many reasons why you may not be able to travel with your pet.

If the time has come – and you’ve ruled out other options, such as getting friends, family or a trusted professional to dog sit – here are our top tips to help you choose dog boarding kennels that are right for you and your dog.

Choosing the right dog boarding kennels

The best way to find a good boarding kennels is to ask for recommendations. Fellow dog-owning friends and family will be keen to offer advice, and your local vet is a trusted source of information and tips for boarding your dog. A quick Google or Yell search can back up these recommendations with customer reviews, which will help you narrow down your choice.

“The best way to find a good kennels is to ask your vet, friends and family for recommendations.”

It won’t be easy to leave your dog, so you’ll want to be sure he or she has a comfortable, safe place to stay while you’re gone. Once you’ve gathered a few recommendations for local dog kennels, start by calling round and asking a few important questions:

Questions to ask before choosing boarding kennels

  • What will my dog’s living space be like? 
  • How often will my dog be exercised or walked?
  • What will my dog eat?
  • Can I provide my dog’s favourite food?
  • How many staff will my dog interact with?
  • What happens if my dog becomes ill and how will any treatment be paid for?
  • What vaccinations do you require?
  • Will my dog get to interact with other dogs?

Making the right choice of boarding kennels for your dog

Once you’ve narrowed your choice down to two or three dog boarding kennels, arrange to visit each one to check out the facilities for yourself before making your final decision. It’s worth spending the time doing this right, so you can be reassured that your dog’s stay away from home will be as pleasant as possible.

When taking a tour, check that the boarding facility is clean, well maintained, and well ventilated. Diseases such as kennel cough spread fast in boarding kennels, so staff hygiene and cleanliness are vital – all reputable kennels will want up-to-date vaccination certificates to prove that your dog is protected against a number of conditions.  Even if kennel cough vaccination is not mandatory for your choice of kennels, you should get it done to protect your dog.

What is the cost of dog boarding?

Another important consideration is the cost of the stay. Some boarding kennels charge different rates according to the size and breed of dog you have. Others make additional charges for providing a special diet, or taking your dog for extra walks. 

It’s a good idea to get an estimate in writing before booking your dog’s stay. Like most things in life, it’s often better to pay a little more for high-quality kennels – after all, your dog’s wellbeing is at stake. 

Remember, just like a good hotel, popular boarding kennels can get booked up – particularly during peak holiday season – so always book plenty of time in advance.

Before your trip

  • Make sure the boarding kennels have your up-to-date mobile number, your vet’s details and other emergency contact information in case of a problem.
  • Bring any special food if necessary.
  • Consider providing a favourite toy or comforter, so your dog has a reminder of home while you’re away. 
  • Relax and enjoy your holiday, knowing your dog is in safe hands.

Want more dog boarding advice?

For expert advice on choosing the right boarding kennels, and things to consider before travelling without your dog, get in touch with your local vet. To find your nearest recommended vet or pet clinic, use our Find a Vet page.