Guide to Selecting the Right Boarding Kennel or Dog Daycare

Guide to Selecting the Right Boarding Kennel or Dog Daycare

by Ginny Woody

This simple checklist should help you find the facility that’s right for your dog:

1. Making a personal visit to the facility: A personal visit is essential to determine whether the facility will be satisfactory. If you are fortunate enough to have several businesses in your area to choose from, visit all of them. You should be able to visit the facility without an appointment during operating hours. If you are required to visit by appointment only, one must question what the facilities are like when you are not there!

2. Does it smell? This could be an indicator of insufficient hygiene. The dog care facility should be free of dirt, fecal accumulation, odors and parasite infestation (flies, fleas, ticks). There should be a strict schedule of disinfecting with effective chemicals. Carpeting and upholstery harbor bacteria, fleas and ticks, and are not the best environment for the care of a transient canine population.

3. Is there ready access to a vet in case of emergency? Hopefully this will not be required, but it’s better to be safe than sorry! Ask about the procedure for obtaining veterinary service, if required. Some boarding facilities retain a veterinarian on the premises. Others prefer to use your pet’s veterinarian so that there will be a continuity of care. Remember that it is customary (and responsible) for you to be financially responsible for any veterinary care required for your pet while it is being boarded.

4. Are staff suitably qualified in pet care? It is important to inquire about staff experience and knowledge. All staff members should be knowledgeable and experienced in dog behavior. As the concept of daycare for dogs becomes more popular, consumers need to be leary of entrepreneurs with no expertise in the field. Supervision is the key to good dog boarding and daycare services. Dogs should have constant supervision and interaction with the facilities staff. An experienced and qualified staff will conduct a temperment evaluation to determine if the dog may appropriately participate in canine group activities. However, all play groups should be supervised not only to entertain the dogs, but to police the interaction and prevent altercations if at all possible.

5. Are the play areas and boarding rooms safe? Areas where your pet will stay should be free of sharp objects, harmful chemicals, objects your pet might swallow and electric lines. Primary enclosures (sleeping quarters) should provide solid dividers between your pet and the other boarders, both for reasons of safety and so that your pet will be able to relax and sleep without feeling challenged by his or her neighbors. Surfaces should offer good traction even when wet. Firefighting equipment should be readily available.

6. What are the hidden charges? For example, some facilities will charge extra fees for playtime, administration of medication or grooming services.

7. Are there suitable facilities for exercise and entertainment of animals?

8. Is the facility accredited by a recognized authority, such as the ABKA? This is not required, but such authorities set set minimum standards that member facilities must comply with. This includes enclosure size, meals, hygiene etc.


About the Author

Ginny Woody is the Owner/Webmaster of a popular dog breeder directory, Breeders Domain. Visit for dog breed profiles and dog breeder information.


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