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Planning a vacation is awesome, right up until the minute you realize you have to find someone to watch your pup. Having a good boarding facility—where you know your dog is safe and happy—makes all the difference in feeling good about going away on a trip.
How Much Does Dog Boarding Cost?
The cost to board a dog ranges, depending for the most part on where you are in the country and what services are included. Many boarding facilities offer group playtime during the day as well as other options you can add on like training, grooming, treats, and walks. You can expect to pay somewhere between $22 to upwards of $60 a night to board your dog, says Carmen Rustenbeck, CEO of International Boarding and Pet Services Association (IBPSA).
What's Included in the Dog Boarding Fee?
Staff should at a minimum provide basic care that includes keeping enclosures clean, dog bowls filled with fresh water, and letting dogs outside several times a day to go potty. If your pup is on medication, the staff should give that to your dog as well. You can also expect the boarding facility to monitor your pet's eating, peeing, and pooping. They should give you a report card of what occurred while you were away too.
If a concern comes up—say your pooch is feeling blue and refusing to eat—the staff should contact you. If they can't reach you, they should attempt to get in touch with a secondary emergency contact or the dog's veterinarian, Rustenbeck says.
Average Cost to Board a Dog Overnight
According to Rustenbeck, the average dog boarding fee is $35 a night and typically includes playtime with other pups during the day and a person onsite to watch over them at night.
Besides more services, other factors that can drive the price up include how big of a space your dog needs, how many dogs you have, and the type of boarding facility you choose. Options range from no-frills kennels to luxurious hotel-like rooms with elevated beds and TVs, to in-home boarding, where pets have free run of the sitter's house.
How to Find a Good Dog Boarding Facility
To find the best boarding facility for you and your pet, ask for recommendations from your friends, family, veterinarian, or groomer. You can also peruse the IBPSA member directory to find organizations committed to high standards of care. But consider that a starting point and make your own decision after doing a site visit.
"This is an unregulated industry, which means it's essential that you check out facilities before you book a stay with them," Rustenbeck cautions. Red flags include a facility unwilling to accommodate a site visit, a shabby exterior, or a dirty interior. Also, make sure that the boarding facility staff have training. Certificates of training hung on the walls is a good sign. But if you don't see those, don't be afraid to ask if they're certified or belong to a professional association, says the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Once you've found a place you're comfortable with, schedule another time to bring your dog by. See how your dog responds to the environment and people. "You'll notice if your pup is acting weird," Rustenback notes.
Do your best to decipher whether the wary behavior is because your dog dislikes the boarding facility or simply because it's an unfamiliar place. If it's the latter, taking your pooch to a few days of doggy daycare at the facility—if they offer it—may help him get used to the new environment, Rustenbeck says.
Ideally, you want to find a boarding facility that's within your budget and is a safe and happy place for your pup to stay.