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How Much Does It Cost To Board A Dog?

on 08/23/2023 | Reading time: 12 minutes
Board a dog
Kd rome, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dog boarding provides dogs with a safe and nurturing environment when their owners are away. Understanding the associated costs ensures owners can budget accordingly and make informed decisions about their dog's care.

Factors Influencing the Cost

1. Size of the Dog

Pricing can vary based on a dog's size, with larger dogs costing more due to the need for larger accommodations and more food.

2. Duration of the Stay

Costs can accumulate daily. Some facilities offer discounts for extended stays.

3. Type of Boarding Facility

The amenities, staff-to-dog ratio, and overall environment affect the cost.

4. Geographical Location

Due to higher operating costs, urban locations often have pricier boarding services than rural areas.

5. Additional Services

Extra amenities like grooming or one-on-one playtime can add to the bill.

6. Peak Season vs. Off-Season

Like hotels, some boarding facilities increase prices during the holiday or peak travel times.

Average Cost Estimates

Here's a general cost estimate. Actual prices can vary based on location and specific facilities.

Type of Facility Small Dog Medium Dog Large Dog
Traditional kennels $25-$40/day $30-$45/day $35-$50/day
Luxury pet resorts $50-$80/day $60-$90/day $70-$100/day
In-home boarding $20-$35/day $25-$40/day $30-$45/day

Additional Costs to Consider

  1. Vaccination Requirements: Most facilities require dogs to be up-to-date with vaccinations, which can be an added vet cost if your pet is overdue.
  2. Special Diet or Medication Fees: Some boarding facilities charge extra (around $1-$5/day) for administering special diets or medications.
  3. Emergency Vet Care: It can be an added cost if your pet falls ill and requires medical attention.
  4. Late Pick-Up Fees: Depending on the facility, there can be charges (around $5-$20) for late pick-ups.

Ways to Save on Boarding Costs

  1. Early Bookings: Some facilities offer up to 10% discounts for early reservations.
  2. Loyalty or Membership Discounts: Regular customers might enjoy discounts, or some places offer membership programs that can save costs over time.
  3. Group Discounts: If boarding more than one dog, there might be a discount of around 5-10% for each additional dog.
  4. Off-Season Bookings: Booking during non-peak times can save up to 15% in some facilities.

Alternatives to Traditional Boarding

  1. Pet Sitting: A pet sitter might charge $30-$60 per day to care for your dog in your own home, offering a familiar environment for your pet.
  2. Dog Swap with Friends or Neighbors: A cost-free option where you take turns caring for each other's pets during vacations.
  3. Technology Solutions: Platforms like Rover or Wag connect pet owners with verified sitters, often at competitive prices.

How to Calculate the Cost to Board a Dog

Basic Calculation:

  1. Daily Rate Calculation
    Determine the daily boarding rate based on the dog's size and the type of facility chosen.

    Daily Rate = Base Rate (based on dog size and facility type)

  2. Duration Calculation
    Multiply the daily rate by the number of boarding days for the dog.

    Total Basic Cost = Daily Rate x Number of Days

  3. Additional Services:
    Special Services Calculation Add costs for other services like grooming, playtime, or training sessions.

    Total Services Cost = Sum of all Additional Service Costs

  4. Medication or Special Diet Fees:
    Add the associated fees if the dog requires medication or a special diet.

    Medication or Diet Cost = Daily Medication or Diet Fee x Number of Days

  5. Discount Calculation:
    If you qualify for any discounts (e.g., early booking, loyalty discounts, etc.), subtract these from the total.

    Discount Amount = (Total Basic Cost + Total Services Cost) x Discount Percentage

  6. Late Fee Calculation (if applicable):
    If you expect to pick up the dog late, add the associated fees.

    Late Fees = Late Fee Rate x Number of Days Late

  7. Final Total Calculation:
    Calculate the Overall Total, Add up all the costs and subtract any discounts.

    Overall Total = (Total Basic Cost + Total Services Cost + Medication or Diet Cost + Late Fees) - Discount Amount

By following these formulas, you can determine the total cost of boarding your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Dog Boarding Costs

1. Why do boarding costs vary based on the dog's size?

The cost varies mainly due to the different amounts of space, food, and care needed for different sizes of dogs. Larger dogs typically require more space and food, which can increase the cost of care.

2. Are there any hidden fees I should know when boarding my dog?

It's essential to ask the facility about all potential costs. Some might charge extra for administering medication, special dietary needs, grooming services, or late pick-ups.

3. Do all facilities require my dog to be vaccinated before boarding?

Most facilities require dogs to be up-to-date on certain vaccinations to protect the health of all animals in their care. It's always good to check the specific requirements with the facility in advance.

4. Is using a pet sitter cheaper than a boarding facility cheaper?

It can depend on the region, the sitter's experience, and your pet's specific needs. While pet sitters offer the advantage of more personalized service, often in the dog's familiar environment, their rates can vary widely. It's essential to compare both options based on your budget and your dog's needs.

5. How can I ensure my dog receives proper care while I'm away?

It's a good idea to visit the facility in advance, read reviews, ask for references, and ensure they have certifications. Ask questions about staff training, staff-to-dog ratios, emergency protocols, and daily routines.

6. Do boarding facilities offer discounts for multiple dogs?

Many boarding facilities offer discounts if you're boarding more than one dog from the same family. It's always a good idea to ask in advance.  

7. What if my dog has special needs or requires medication?

Inform the boarding facility about any special requirements or medications your dog needs. Some facilities may add a fee to administer medication, while others can care for pets with special needs without additional charges.

8. How early should I book a spot for my dog, especially during peak seasons?

It's advisable to book as early as possible, especially during peak seasons like holidays or summer vacations. Some facilities fill up months in advance during these times.

9. Can I bring my dog's food or toys when boarding?

Many facilities allow owners to bring their dog's food to maintain a consistent diet. Toys or comfort items are also commonly permitted. However, always check with the facility beforehand.

10. What happens if there's a medical emergency with my dog while I'm away?

Reputable boarding facilities will have protocols in place for medical emergencies. They should reach out to you right away and could bring your dog to a veterinarian or an emergency care center. It's crucial to leave updated contact information and any relevant health information about your dog when you drop them off.

By keeping these FAQs in mind, you'll be better prepared to make informed decisions about boarding your dog

Questions to Ask When Evaluating Dog Boarding Companies

1. General Questions

  • What are your operating hours?
  • How long have you been in the dog boarding business?
  • Are there any breed or size restrictions?

2. Facility and Environment

  • Can I take a tour of your facility before deciding?
  • What accommodation do you provide (e.g., individual kennels, communal areas)?
  • How is the facility cleaned, and how often?

3. Staff and Care

  • What is the staff-to-dog ratio?
  • What training do your staff members undergo?
  • Is there someone on-site 24/7?
  • How are dogs introduced to one another to ensure compatibility?

4. Safety and Health

  • What vaccinations do you require for boarding?
  • How do you handle medical emergencies? Is there a vet on-call or nearby?
  • How do you manage dogs with special needs or medical conditions?
  • What measures are in place to prevent fights or aggression between dogs?

5. Services and Activities

  • What is a typical day like for a dog here?
  • Are there any outdoor play areas? How often do dogs get outdoor time?
  • Do you offer additional services like grooming, training sessions, or one-on-one playtime?
  • How are meals handled? Can I bring my dog food?

6. Costs and Policies

  • What is the daily boarding rate? Are there discounts for extended stays or multiple dogs?
  • What additional charges might apply (e.g., for medication administration)?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • Do you have liability insurance in case of injuries or damage caused by/to my dog?

7. Feedback and Reputation

  • Do you have references or testimonials I can check?
  • How do you address customer complaints or negative reviews?
  • Are there any certifications or affiliations you hold (e.g., with professional pet care associations)?

8. Pick-up and Drop-off

  • What are the drop-off and pick-up times?
  • Is there flexibility during these times, and are there early or late pick-ups fees?

9. Communication

  • How can I check in on my dog while I'm away? Do you offer any webcam services?
  • How will you update me on any concerns or issues with my dog?

10. Emergency Protocols

  • What is your contingency plan for unexpected events or natural disasters?
  • How do you ensure the security of the dogs against potential threats, like theft?

By asking these questions, you'll understand the dog boarding company's operations comprehensively, ensuring your pet's safety, comfort, and well-being during their stay.


Planning for your dog's care in your absence is essential. By understanding the associated costs and factors influencing them, you can ensure your pet receives the best care that aligns with your budget.

The opinions articulated in this piece are the guest author's and may not necessarily align with those of Crackerjack. Find more about staff authors of Crackerjack

About the author
Fancy House LLC
Fancy House LLC is a seasoned contractor and a prolific writer in the field of home improvement. With their extensive experience and expertise, they have earned a reputation for delivering exceptional results in construction projects of all scales. As a writer, they share their knowledge through well-researched articles that offer practical tips, advice, and inspiration to homeowners and DIY enthusiasts. With a friendly demeanor and a commitment to quality, Fancy House LLC is a trusted contractor who consistently delivers outstanding home improvement services and informative content.

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