As pet parents, we want to bring our dogs with us when we go out of town, but it’s not always possible—sometimes, there just aren’t pet-friendly hotels where we’re going. That means making an alternate plan for your pet while away. If you can’t find a friend to watch your dog for you, you might want to go the dog boarding route.
But how much does it cost to board a dog? Here’s a look at the latest average prices in the U.S. for dog boarding.
The Importance of Dog Boarding
Whether it’s a trip you’ve planned for or unexpected travel, there are times when our pets can’t come with us while we’re traveling. But we can’t just leave them on their own; that’s where dog boarding comes in (especially if you lack other options). There are plenty of excellent reasons to board your dog, though, other than peace of mind.
One such reason is that boarding your pup can help alleviate separation anxiety while you’re away. Separation anxiety isn’t uncommon in dogs and can lead to destructive behaviors, such as chewing up items in the home or digging holes in the backyard. Dog boarders will have the knowledge to help your dog through separation anxiety (plus, your pet may be distracted by playing with new doggy friends).
And speaking of playing with doggy friends, boarding your dog is an excellent way to help socialize them! Dogs are pack animals, so they love connecting with others. Being boarded enables your pup to learn how to get along with other dogs (and people) in an entirely safe environment.
Then there’s the fact that boarding your dog will help keep them active while you’re gone. Leaving your pet with a friend or having a dog sitter come by to check on them each day probably won’t guarantee that your pet is getting its daily amount of exercise. But with boarding, your dog will have the opportunity to run around outside and play with others, allowing it to get plenty of daily activity.
How Much Does Dog Boarding Cost?
There are a lot of variables that determine how much dog boarding costs, including the type of dog you have, your geographical location, where you’re boarding your pet, and for how long. Below you’ll find the average costs (without add-ons) of regular dog boarding facilities.
|Length of Boarding
|$18 – $31
|$18 – $60
|$100 – $135
|$500 – $720
Some facilities may offer multi-dog discounts, which is excellent if you need to board more than one dog.
However, regular boarding kennels aren’t your only options for dog boarding. There are dog hotels that include spa services, swimming pools, and more; these average $50–$100 a night.
You could also try doggy daycare if you only need to board your pup during the day while you’re at work. Doggy daycare can run anywhere from $18–$30 per day.
And then there’s in-home dog boarding, where you send your dog to a dog sitter’s house (if you go this route, check the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters for your area). Depending on where you live, this option will cost anywhere from $15 to $125 a day.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
Unfortunately, there will likely be additional costs when you board your dog. Some of these are entirely optional add-on services that will make boarding easier for your pup or more convenient on your end. For example, some boarding places might charge extra for extra playtime or walks for your pet. Other services might charge more for grooming or to let you monitor your dog via webcam during its stay. Still, other boarders might charge additional money to board certain breeds.
Then there are dogs with special needs, such as senior dogs or those that require medication—some boarding facilities will charge extra for these, while others will include care of dogs with special needs into their regular pricing.
These add-ons will vary in price from boarding facility to boarding facility, and they can add up if you aren’t careful. So, be sure to ask any boarder you’re considering whether they have add-on services and how much these cost before choosing.
How to Locate a Good Dog Boarding Facility
There’s typically no shortage of dog boarding facilities, whether you live in a metropolitan or rural area. However, the boarding industry isn’t regulated, for the most part, so you should always physically check out a place before leaving your dog there. If a facility won’t let you visit, it’s a big red flag, and it’s best you place your pet elsewhere. Other red flags include the facility being overly dirty or a lack of training for the staff (look for training certificates hung on the wall or ask if they belong to a professional association or are certified).
The best places to get recommendations for boarding facilities are from your vet, family, friends, and groomer. You can also check out the IBPSA member directory, as it contains facilities dedicated to high care standards. Once you’ve found a boarding facility that you think could work, it wouldn’t hurt to check out reviews online from other people who have boarded their dogs there. TrustPilot and the Better Business Bureau are excellent resources for this.
After you’ve located a boarding facility you think would be suitable for your pup, you’ll want to set an appointment to bring your pet by (before you leave it there while you’re away). Pay close attention to how your pup responds to the people and general atmosphere of the facility. If your dog seems to be wary, try to figure out if the reason was that the facility was unfamiliar or your dog just didn’t like it. If it’s because they disliked it, you’ll want to start your search anew.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Dog Boarding?
This is another area where it depends, but rarely. Many pet insurances don’t cover the cost of dog boarding; they’re focused on accident and illness coverage. However, there are a few insurance companies willing to cover costs associated with boarding your dog, but usually only in certain circumstances—such as Fetch, which will cover up to $1,000 in boarding costs if you’re hospitalized for four days or more. A handful might cover boarding costs in general, and some might have add-ons that include dog boarding coverage. Overall, though, you’ll likely find it a challenge to find pet insurance to cover dog boarding.
How to Help Your Dog While It’s Being Boarded
You’ll probably be a bit worried about your dog while you’re away, no matter what (pet parents get separation anxiety, too!). But you can help make your dog’s stay at a boarding facility more comfortable and keep them happier with the tips below, which should give you peace of mind as well.
Dog boarding can be pricey, depending on where you live, what kind of dog you have, how long you’re boarding for, and who you’re boarding with. But it’s well worth it knowing our pups are safe and sound while we’re away. Always be sure to physically check out any boarding facility before taking your pet there to ensure it looks clean and the staff has training. And if you’re worried about what your pet will do while you’re away, you can pack things from home to make the transition to the facility easier on them.
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Featured Image Credit: Jayme Burrows, Shutterstock