Boarding For Dogs

While we wish we could stay with our pets constantly, this is not always an option and we may need to occasionally seek out alternate care for them while we go away. Our La Mesa vets discuss boarding for dogs and what you should look for when choosing a boarding facility.

Boarding For Your Dog

While you may have a grim vision in your head when you picture dog boarding facilities you can rest assured that these services have come a long way over the years. These days your dog can have fun socializing and playing while you're away, and your cat can have a relaxing vacation in a clean, fresh-smelling facility complete with plenty of love and attention.

The options for boarding pets range from spa-like facilities that pamper pets and doggie summer camps to medical boarding for animals that require extra attention. Of course prices for these different levels of care also range from affordable to extravagant.

If you are trying to decide which boarding facility to take your beloved pet to, be sure to check out a few different places in your area to find a facility that suits the needs of your pet and your pocketbook.

What Facility Features Should You Look For?

Price is often a good indicator of the level of service provided at a given boarding facility. Chances are good that if your dog or cat will be treated to luxurious hotel-like spaces with comfy sofas to lounge on and a tv to watch, you're going to pay more than you would to board your pet at a standard facility with roomy crates and fenced dog runs. 

If you want your kitty to be treated to some serious pampering while they are away, you can find specialized cat boarding facilities with features such as cat gyms filled with feline-friendly toys,  platforms to jump up onto, and posts to scratch.

Looking for some outdoor adventure for your pooch? Treat your canine companion to a fun camp experience while you're away. Dog camps across the country offer loads of time for your pooch to play outdoors, as well as added facilities for swimming and socializing with other dogs.

That said, it's important to remember that fancy facility features don't necessarily add up to better care for your pet.

The level of service you choose for your pet will also be reflected in the price. For most pets, a well-run standard facility is a good option.  If you are considering a standard facility here is what you can expect.

Common Boarding Facility Features:

  • A clean, roomy kennel for your pooch to sleep in
  • Exercise time outdoors before breakfast
  • Breakfast served in the kennel
  • Out of kennel playtime in the middle of the day to allow your buddy to burn some energy
  • Dinner served in the kennel
  • Evening bathroom break
  • Standard care for cats at most pet boarding facility includes:
  • A clean private crate with plenty of room to move and space for the litter box
  • Frequent visits by staff to ensure that the litter box is clean and that your cat has a good supply of food and water
  • Clean bedding so your feline friend can relax comfortably and watch the world go by

If you are looking for something a bit more special than a standard boarding facility, many facilities also offer the following services:

  • Specialized veterinary care
  • Training
  • Grooming
  • Shuttle services to and from the facility

What Are Some Pros & cons of Boarding For Dogs?


Pet boarding provides your pet with a standardized daily routine that includes meal times and exercise times on a regular schedule. Boarding also allows pets to socialize with other animals. If your dog or cat has a medical issue that requires medications or treatments, facilities with onsite vets and a team of veterinary professionals may be right for your pet while you're away.


Some pets do not do well with being in a new place. In some cases, dogs and cats can become nervous or anxious in new environments which could lead to altercations with other animals at playtime. Pets in boarding facilities also face an increased risk of contracting contagious illnesses such as kennel cough in dogs or Feline Upper Respiratory Infection (colds) in cats so immunizations are essential when boarding your pet.

What Should You Consider When Choosing a Boarding Facility?

When you begin to look at any boarding facility the first step will be to ask the important questions that will help you determine that the facility offers all of the services that you are hoping for. Start by researching the facility online and looking over their online reviews. Once you shortlist your options you will want to contact the facility to ask questions. Before you call, prepare a list of questions, both general and specific to your pet’s needs. 

Some general questions could include:

  • What pet care background, certifications, education and expertise does the facility or individual have? 
  • What is the ratio of the dog or cat per staff?
  • What is their screening process for identifying pets with behavioral issues?   
  • How many animals do they put in a playgroup?
  • How much playtime and exercise will they get?
  • How are animals grouped together? (by size, age, temperament, etc.) 
  • How often are the facilities cleaned?

If you have narrowed down your options for boarding your dog you could always request to have a tour of the facility in order to see their amenities in person.

If you are thinking about leaving your pet and have any questions about boarding options, please contact our La Mesa vets.