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.

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

When looking for a kennel to board your dog, it’s important to ask whether they have insurance that covers incidents like dog bites, theft, health problems, and even death. You want to be sure that you and your pet are protected in case of any unfortunate incidents.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to inquire whether the kennel requires all dogs to provide evidence of vaccinations. This is important because you want to make sure that your dog is in a facility that prioritizes the health and safety of all animals in their care.

One of the most important things to check is whether the kennel requires vaccinations for the animals in their care.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when it comes to vaccinations and kennels:

  • Most kennels require vaccinations, but it’s always a good idea to ask. The kennel should be able to tell you which vaccines are required and why.
  • The canine vaccines that are typically required include canine distemper, infectious hepatitis, canine parvovirus, and rabies. For cats, the required vaccines usually include feline panleukopenia, feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus, and rabies.
  • If the kennel does not require vaccinations, you should ask about their quarantine procedures. The risk of disease transmission can be high in kennels, so it’s important to make sure that sick animals are kept separate from healthy ones.
  • Even if your pet is vaccinated, there is always a chance that they could be susceptible to disease. It’s important to make sure that the kennel takes steps to minimize the risk of infection, such as keeping the facility clean and enforcing strict hygiene protocols.
  • Keep in mind that the kennel industry is largely unregulated, so it’s up to you to do your due diligence and choose a facility that you feel confident will keep your pet safe and healthy.

If you decide to book a pet hotel instead of a kennel, it’s still a good idea to ask these questions. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that a hotel will have the necessary insurance or vaccination requirements, so it’s always best to ask before making a decision.

Where Are The Animals Housed?

When it comes to boarding your furry friend, the well-being and comfort of your pet is a top priority. One of the most important factors to consider is how the animals are housed during their stay. Here are some important things to keep in mind when choosing a boarding facility:

  • It’s not a good idea to keep dogs and cats where they can see or hear each other. This is because the presence of another animal can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety, which can lead to health problems.
  • Dogs should not be able to easily see each other either. While some kennels put up barriers inside the kennel space to prevent this, others may not take this into consideration when setting up their facility. It’s important to choose a facility that prioritizes the privacy and comfort of your pet.
  • Proper ventilation is crucial to ensure that your pet has access to fresh air and doesn’t become overheated. The facility should have a good airflow system to keep the air circulating and prevent any unpleasant odors from building up.
  • Your pet should have enough room to move around and stretch their legs. Make sure the facility provides ample space for your pet to move around and exercise. For dogs, it’s important to ensure that there is enough space for them to defecate or urinate if they need to.
  • Cats require a litter box in their space so that they have a designated area to do their business. This can help prevent accidents and keep their living area clean and hygienic.

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.

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.  

Richard Hayes

Hey there! Meet Richard Hayes, the big boss and marketing guru behind Pet Dog Planet. He's been a total doggo fanatic since forever and loves all kinds of pups, from tiny teacup Chihuahuas to big, burly Bulldogs. His absolute favorite pastime? Snuggling with adorable puppies—he can't get enough of those cute little faces! Plus, he's totally into iced coffee, chilling in hammocks, and, of course, more puppy cuddling!

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