What Should You Ask A Dog Boarder?

Leaving your dog in a boarding kennel can provoke some anxiety.

You can mitigate your concerns by having a list of questions ready to ask the facility.

Dog Boarder

This article has an exhaustive list with every single question you might need to ask a dog boarder. Depending on the answers, you will find the perfect fit for your pet.  

Insurance and Vaccinations

It’s important to ask if the kennel has insurance to cover incidents such as dog bites, theft, health problems, and, yes, even death.

Inquire whether all owners of dogs who board with the service have to provide evidence of vaccinations.

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This is important to know because you don’t want to leave your dog at a facility that doesn’t care if their charges have been properly vaccinated.

Ask this question if you decide to book a pet hotel too. There is no guarantee a hotel will cover these incidents.

How frequently do you clean the kennels?

The answer you should be looking for is “every day.” The best kennels do deep cleaning once a week to prevent disease and sickness from spreading.

Do you have AC and heating?

If your area tends to get extreme weather, this question is absolutely mandatory. In addition, dog kennels can get freezing or scorching. Modern services keep the premises warm or cool depending on the season.

What is the size of the kennels?

Dogs need enough space to walk around unrestrained, sit down, stand up, turn around, stretch out, and wag their tails.

How safe are the kennels?

Dogs should have no chance of escaping. The boarding facility should be protected from unauthorized access too.

How often are the dogs walked?

“A few times a day” is the perfect answer. If the staff can’t walk dogs that often, they should at least give them frequent access to exercise areas.

Do dogs have access to sleeping areas and toilets?

Dogs need to be able to sleep and go to the toilet whenever they want.

Do dogs ever get privacy?

Our furry friends need their privacy, just like us. They need occasional access to space where no other dogs or people are present. Lack of such access can lead to boarding kennel stress.

Do dogs have access to indoor and outdoor play areas?

Dogs need large spaces to play outside, as well as inside if the weather is bad.

How often is the dogs’ water changed?

The kennel should change dogs’ drinking water at least twice a day because sickness commonly spreads through drinking bowls.

How do you cope with boarding stress?

Either during or after their stay, dogs will tend to experience this. It’s easier for some and harder for others. The staff should be trained to deal with boarding stress after they identify it.

Are dogs supervised when playing together?

Ideally, the staff should supervise communal play areas. It’s not a good idea to leave dogs that just met alone together.

Do you separate big and small dogs?

Small dogs might fear big ones and develop boarding kennel stress. To avoid confrontation, they shouldn’t be left together. Special arrangements should be made.

Is the staff trained and certified?

The kennel staff should be experienced and well trained. This varies between kennels. Training and experience aren’t always possible to ensure across the board, especially if the kennel hires temps during vacation season. At any rate, at least one employee who’s qualified to care for dogs should be in charge.

What happens if there is a fire?

Ask about emergency plans. Every boarding kennel should have a plan to handle emergencies and disasters, which should include getting the dogs out of there and to safety.

Does the staff play with the dogs?

Your dog will be in unfamiliar surroundings and crave distraction, comfort, and human interaction. Having staff that plays with dogs helps a lot.

What are the minimum and maximum booking periods?

Booking your dog for a one-night stay will reduce the risk of kennel stress by letting them get used to the boarding facility. You also need to know how long you can leave them there in case you’re planning a longer trip.

How far in advance must people book?

The best kennels are booked months before the holiday season, so ask about availability unless you’re no longer considering their services based on their answers to your questions.  

Do you have access to a vet around the clock?

The final question is one of the most important. Because the dogs are so close in boarding kennels, sickness is quite common. A reputable kennel will have a local vet available 24/7.


Obviously, these are too many questions to ask and even to remember. Choose the ones that are most important to you. You’ll be glad you did – you need to make an informed decision for your loved one.  

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