How To Start A Dog Boarding Business

How to Start a Dog Boarding Business

If you love dogs then starting your own dog boarding business can be a rewarding business venture. However, it also requires careful planning and consideration.

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“Life is ruff, but our boarding makes it paw-some!”

Here are some important general steps to get started:

Research the market and competition

Before starting a dog boarding business, you should research the market demand for such a business in your area. Also, look into other dog boarding businesses in the area and their pricing, services, and offerings. This can then be incorporated into your business plan. If you need finance you will be asked for a business plan.

Develop a business plan

A dog boarding business plan will help you define your goals, target market, services, and finances. You should also consider zoning laws, permits, and licenses required for your area.

Check out my dog boarding business plan on Etsy which will save you so much time. It also includes business plan financials:

Choose a location

Decide if you want to board from your home or dog boarding kennels.  Dog boarding kennels require a large property with plenty of space for outdoor activities, runs, and kennels. The location should also be easily accessible for customers.

Design and build the facility

A kennel facility should be designed with the comfort and safety of the animals in mind. It should include separate areas for different sized dogs, indoor and outdoor runs, and adequate ventilation and lighting. It’s important to adhere to all relevant health and safety regulations.

Hire staff for a dog boarding business

You will need to hire trained and experienced staff to help run the kennel. They should be knowledgeable about animal care, behaviour, and safety.

Develop marketing and advertising strategies

To attract customers, you need to promote your kennel or home boarding through various marketing channels, such as social media, local advertisements, and flyers. You can also offer promotions or discounts to attract new customers.

Establish policies and procedures

You will need to develop policies and procedures for your kennel, including check-in and check-out procedures, vaccination requirements, feeding schedules, exercise schedules, and emergency procedures.

Starting a boarding kennel requires a significant investment of time and resources, but with careful planning and execution, it can be a rewarding business venture.

What records do a dog boarding kennel need to keep?

A dog boarding kennel is typically required to maintain detailed records for each dog that is boarded at the boarding facility.

Below are some of the key types of records that a boarding kennel may need to keep:

Pet Health records

You should maintain detailed records of each dog’s health, including their vaccinations, medications, and any health issues or conditions. This information can help ensure that the dog receives appropriate care during their stay at the kennel. A dog boarding registration form will help you gather this information.

Dog Boarding Contracts

Each dog should have a boarding contract that outlines the terms of their stay, including what will happen in an emergency or if a dog becomes aggressive. Plus any special instructions or requests.

Dog Boarding Services Agreement for Dog Boarding at Home or Kennels

Identification records

You should keep detailed records of each dog’s identification, including their name, breed, color, and any distinguishing features. This can help ensure that the right dog is returned to the right owner at the end of their stay. A dog boarding registration form will gather all this information. Check out my form below.

Dog Boarding Registration Form for a Home Boarder, Dog Kennels, Cattery

Feeding and exercise schedules

You should maintain records of each dog’s feeding and exercise schedules to ensure that they receive appropriate care and are not overfed or under-exercised.

Boarding behaviour logs

You may need to keep a log of each dog’s behaviour during their stay, including any incidents of aggression, separation anxiety, or other issues. This information can help you identify potential issues and provide appropriate care and training.

Payment records

You should maintain records of each dog’s fees, including any deposits, payments, and refunds. This information can help you track your finances and ensure that you are paid appropriately for your services.

It’s important to keep these records up-to-date and accurate, as they can help ensure that the dogs receive appropriate care and that the kennel operates smoothly and efficiently.

Check out my simple accounts Excel spreadsheets for any dog business.

Pet Services Excel Accounts Income and Expenditure for Dog Services

What are the licensing requirements for starting a dog boarding business?

Licensing Requirements for Dog Boarding Kennels

The licensing requirements for a kennel can vary depending on the state or country in which you operate.

Generally, kennel licensing is required to ensure that the facility meets certain health and safety standards for the animals being housed.

Here are some common requirements for kennel licensing:

  1. Zoning: The kennel must be located in a zoning district that permits the operation of a kennel. You should check with your local zoning department for specific requirements.
  2. Permits and Licenses: You may need to obtain a business license or permit from your local government or state. This may require inspections from the local health department or animal control.
  3. Building and Equipment Standards: The kennel must meet specific building and equipment standards to ensure the safety and comfort of the animals. This can include appropriate ventilation, lighting, and sanitation.
  4. Animal Health and Care: The kennel must have policies and procedures in place for the proper care and treatment of the animals, including vaccination requirements, feeding schedules, exercise schedules, and emergency procedures.
  5. Staff Training and Qualifications: You may be required to have trained and qualified staff to manage the kennel. This can include knowledge of animal care, behaviour, and safety.  You will need to prove the staff are having ongoing training.

It’s important to check with your local government or state agencies for specific licensing requirements in your area.

What types of dog boarding businesses are there?

There are several types of dog boarding business options available. The type you choose to start will depend on your budget. Let’s examine some of them:

What is a boarding kennel?

Dog Boarding Funny Quote

A boarding kennel is a facility that provides temporary housing and care for dogs while their owners are away. Boarding kennels typically offer individual kennels or runs for each dog. Plus they offer playtime and exercise, feeding, and other services. Some kennels may also offer grooming or training services for dogs.

Boarding kennels can vary in size and level of care provided. Some may be small, family-run businesses with only a few kennels. However, others may be large commercial operations with hundreds of kennels. Many kennels are staffed 24/7 to ensure the safety and well-being of the dogs in their care.

This is the most common type of dog boarding, where dogs are housed in individual kennels or runs.

What is in-home boarding?

In-home boarding is when a dog stays with a pet sitter in their home, rather than a commercial kennel. This option can provide a more home-like environment for the dog, with more one-on-one attention and less stress. In-home boarding may be a good option for dogs that don’t do well in a traditional kennel setting.

If you are planning on doing in-home boarding you may need an indoor dog kennel. Having an indoor kennel for home boarding offers many benefits for both you and the pets. This dedicated space provides a secure and comfortable environment where dogs can feel at ease, reducing stress and anxiety associated with being in an unfamiliar setting. An indoor kennel serves as a retreat, allowing dogs to have their own personal space for rest and relaxation.

Looking for a wooden dog kennel for indoors then check out these fab wooden dog kennel furniture on Etsy.

Another consideration is incorporating a stair dog stopper into a home boarding setup. This simple yet effective tool acts as a protective barrier, preventing dogs from accessing areas with stairs and potential hazards. By installing a stair dog stopper, home boarding hosts can create a secure environment that minimises the risk of accidents and injuries.

What is luxury boarding?

Some kennels offer luxury boarding options, which may include private suites, plush bedding, television, and other amenities. Luxury boarding is typically more expensive than traditional boarding.

What is doggy daycare?

Doggy daycare is a type of boarding where dogs spend the day playing and socialising with other dogs. They may also receive training or grooming services. Doggy daycare is a good option for dogs that need socialisation and exercise during the day while their owners are at work.

What are pet hotels?

Pet hotels are similar to traditional kennel boarding. However, they offer more luxurious amenities, such as private rooms, indoor and outdoor play areas, swimming pools, and spa services.

What is pet sitting?

Pet sitting is an option where a pet sitter visits the owner’s home to care for the dog. This option can be a good choice for dogs that prefer to stay in their familiar environment.

It’s important to research and compare different dog boarding options you can offer to find the best fit for your budget.

What qualifications / skills do I need to run a dog boarding business?

Skills for Successfully Running a Dog Boarding Business

The qualifications required to run a boarding kennel will depend on the regulations in your area. In general, there are no specific educational or professional qualifications required to run a boarding kennel. But there are certain skills and experiences that can be helpful.

Here are some qualifications and skills that can be helpful for running a boarding kennel:

  1. Knowledge of dog behaviour and care: It’s important to have a good understanding of dog behaviour and care. This will ensure you provide a safe and comfortable environment for the dogs in your care. This can include knowledge of dog breeds, behaviour, health, nutrition, and training.
  2. Business management skills: Running a boarding kennel requires strong business management skills, such as budgeting, marketing, and customer service.
  3. Animal care and safety certifications: Some areas may require kennel owners to have certain animal care and safety certifications, such as first aid or CPR training. This will ensure the safety and well-being of the dogs in their care.
  4. Experience working with dogs: Previous experience working with dogs, such as volunteering at a shelter or working at a pet store, can be helpful in running a boarding kennel.
  5. Ensuring licenses, permits etc are up to date: Depending on the regulations in your area, you may need to obtain licenses and permits to operate a boarding kennel. This can include business licenses, animal care permits, and zoning permits.

It’s important to research the specific regulations in your area. This will ensure that you meet all the requirements before starting a boarding kennel business.

How much does it cost to start a dog boarding business?

Costs of setting up a dog boarding business.

The cost to start a kennel boarding business can vary widely depending on several factors such as the size of the facility, the location, the equipment needed, and any necessary permits or licenses.

Here are some costs to consider when starting a kennel boarding business:

  1. Buying Kennels: The cost of buying kennels can be a significant expense when starting a kennel boarding business. Depending on the location and size of the facility, real estate costs can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.
  2. Kennel Construction: If you’re building a kennel from scratch, you’ll need to factor in the cost of construction. This can include materials, labor, and equipment needed to build the kennels and any other necessary structures such as fencing or outdoor play areas.
  3. Equipment and Supplies: Kennel boarding businesses require a variety of equipment and supplies. These include kennels, bedding, food and water bowls, cleaning supplies, and toys. These costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand depending on the size of the facility and the number of dogs you plan to house.
  4. Permits and Licenses: You may need to obtain permits and licenses to operate a kennel boarding business. This can include zoning permits, building permits, business licenses, and animal care permits. These costs can vary depending on the location and the specific requirements in your area.
  5. Insurance: It’s important to have insurance to protect your business in case of accidents or liability issues. The cost of insurance can vary depending on the size of your facility and the level of coverage you need.

Overall, starting a kennel boarding business can cost anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. It all depends on the size and location of the facility. It’s important to create a detailed business plan and budget. This will ensure you have the necessary funds to start and operate your business.

Are boarding kennels profitable?

Boarding kennels can be profitable businesses, but profitability will depend on several factors. These include the size of the facility, the number of dogs boarded, the location, and the level of competition in the area.

The profitability of a boarding kennel will largely depend on how well the kennel is managed. Thus leading to a good quality of care, and increasing the reputation of the business. Providing a high level of care and creating a positive customer experience can help to attract and retain clients. This leads to repeat business and positive reviews that can help to generate referrals.

It’s also important to manage expenses and control costs to maximize profitability. This can include managing labor costs, reducing waste, and negotiating lower prices with suppliers.

While it’s difficult to provide a specific figure for the profitability of a boarding kennel as it can vary widely depending on the factors mentioned above, many kennel owners report a healthy profit margin. This is especially true if they are able to operate at full capacity and manage their expenses effectively.

To increase your profitability you could offer other services such as training and grooming.

Dog boarding kennels with training

Start a dog boarding kennel with dog training.

Boarding kennels with training offer an all-in-one service for dog owners who want their dogs to receive both boarding and training while they are away. These kennels offer a range of training services, from basic obedience to advanced training and behaviour modification.

Boarding kennels with training can be beneficial for both the dog and the owner. The dogs receive the training they need to become well-behaved, obedient pets. Thus the owners receive peace of mind of knowing that their dogs are receiving quality care and training in their absence.

Training programs at boarding kennels can vary widely depending on the facility and the specific needs of the dog. Some kennels offer group training sessions, while others offer one-on-one training with a professional trainer. Training programs can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the level of training needed.

A boarding kennel that provides training should have certified trainers who have experience and knowledge in dog behaviour and training. It’s also important to ensure that the kennel provides a safe and comfortable environment for the dogs in their care, with proper supervision and socialization opportunities.

Offering training at boarding kennels can be a great option for busy dog owners who want to ensure their dogs receive quality care and training while they are away.

Boarding kennels with grooming

Dog Boarding Kennels with Grooming

Boarding kennels that offer grooming services are becoming increasingly popular. These kennels offer a range of grooming services, such as baths, haircuts, nail trimming, and ear cleaning.

A boarding kennel may have an on-site groomer or transport dogs to a groomer that has experience with the dog breed and coat type.

It’s also important to ensure that the kennel provides a safe and comfortable environment for your dog during on-site grooming. This can include proper restraint and supervision during grooming, as well as a clean and hygienic grooming area.

An on-site groomer may be a better option as a customer may want to meet them beforehand.

Looking for dog kennels for sale

If you are interested in purchasing a dog kennel, there are a number of ways to find kennels for sale.

Here are a few options:

  1. Online classifieds: Websites such as Craigslist, Kijiji, and Gumtree often have listings for kennels for sale in your local area.
  2. Business brokers: You can work with a business broker to find kennels for sale. These professionals specialize in connecting buyers with businesses that are for sale and can help you find kennels that meet your specific needs.
  3. Real estate agents: Some real estate agents specialize in selling commercial properties, including dog kennels. You can work with an agent to find properties that are for sale in your area.
  4. Industry associations: If you are looking to purchase a kennel in a specific geographic area, consider reaching out to industry associations, such as the American Kennel Club or the Canadian Kennel Club, to see if they have any leads on kennels that are for sale.

When considering a kennel for sale, be sure to thoroughly research the business and its financials, as well as the property itself. You may want to work with a business attorney or accountant to review financial records and contracts before making an offer. It’s also important to ensure that the property is in compliance with local regulations and that there are no outstanding liens or legal issues.

What do you need to start a dog boarding kennel business?

Starting a boarding kennel can be a complex process, and there are a number of factors to consider. Here are some of the key things you’ll need to start a boarding kennel:

  1. Business plan: A business plan will help you outline your goals and strategies for your kennel. It should include information about your target market, services, pricing, and financial projections. A dog boarding business plan is generally required if you want to apply for funding.
  2. Location: You’ll need to find a suitable location for your kennel. This may involve purchasing or leasing property that is zoned for commercial use.
  3. Licenses and permits: Depending on where you live, you may need to obtain licenses and permits to operate a boarding kennel. This can include zoning permits, health permits, and animal care permits.
  4. Facilities and equipment: You’ll need to have adequate facilities and equipment to provide boarding services for dogs. This may include kennels, runs, outdoor exercise areas, feeding and watering equipment, and cleaning supplies.
  5. Staffing: You’ll need to hire staff to care for the dogs that are boarding at your kennel. This may include kennel attendants, trainers, and groomers.
  6. Marketing and advertising: You’ll need to promote your kennel to attract clients. This may involve creating a website, advertising in local newspapers and online directories, and participating in community events.

Starting a boarding kennel can be a significant investment of time and money, but with careful planning and execution, it can be a rewarding and profitable business.

Now you’ve got your processes in place let’s look at an extremely important aspect of your business.

What do you need for a kennel license?

The specific requirements for obtaining a kennel license can vary depending on the location and jurisdiction where you plan to operate your kennel. However, here are some general items that may be required:

  1. Business registration: You may need to register your kennel as a business with your local government and obtain a tax identification number.
  2. Facility inspection: Your kennel facility will need to be inspected by a government agency or animal control officer to ensure that it meets local regulations and standards for animal care and safety.
  3. Insurance: You may need to obtain liability insurance to protect your business in case of accidents or injuries involving dogs at your kennel.
  4. Staff training: You may need to provide training for your staff on animal care, handling, and safety, as well as on first aid and emergency procedures.
  5. Record-keeping: You may be required to maintain records of each dog that is boarded at your kennel, including their medical history, vaccinations, and behaviour.
  6. Fees: You will likely need to pay a fee to obtain your kennel license, which can vary depending on your location and the size of your kennel.

It’s important to research the specific requirements for obtaining a kennel license in your area, as they can vary significantly. Contact your local government or animal control agency for more information on how to obtain a kennel license in your area.

Marketing and Advertising

If you’re looking for more marketing tips check out these 17 powerful marketing tips for businesses.

Okay so you’ve set up your business now let’s look at marketing your dog boarding business.

How to set up a dog boarding business website

Dog Boarding WordPress Website

Some people believe that having a website costs a lot of money but it doesn’t have to. 

Let’s take you through setting up a WordPress dog boarding website. 

If you’ve never heard of WordPress then check out this post that explains it all simply.

1. Select a name for your business

Now if you followed the step by step process for setting up a business then you will have already done this during the business plan step.  But if not, then we will go over that again.  If you’re struggling to come up with a name try asking Google or family and friends.  By inputting the term “name generator” into Google it will come up with software that will generate a name from inputted words. 

Once you have selected a name check it is available on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  I can hear you say now but I will never use Twitter but you never know.  Instagram is a great visual tool and would be great for putting up photos of dog walks.

Next check the domain is available for your website.

When you know they are all available set them all up.  If you’re no good with tech then find a techy Virtual Assistant!

2. Select your hosting provider

Hosting is where your website files will be located.  I am currently using siteground (aff link) for this site and have never had any problems.

Look how easy it is to set up a WordPress website in the screenshots below:

3. Install WordPress

Siteground makes it so easy to set up your website. Check out the screenshots below to see how it will take you less than 5 minutes (depending on your typing speed!) to set up.

To install WordPress using the Website Setup Wizard access your Client Area and go to Websites > New Website button.

Siteground Dog Boarding Business Website

A new section would appear where you will be prompted to select the domain name that you want to use with your new WordPress installation.

Click the Continue button once you have the chosen the desired option to proceed to the next step.

On this next step you should select to Start a New Website or to Migrate an existing one. Click on Select under Start New Website.

Siteground installation

Choose WordPress and enter the preferred login details for your new WordPress application. Once you are ready, click on Continue.

Next, choose what enhancements you wish to add to your website – if you want to add any. When you are ready with this step – click on Finish.

That’s it! You can now go to the front page of your site or access the WordPress admin to start adding content to your website.

4. Choose a WordPress template for your dog boarding business

There are some great WordPress templates that you can use for your dog boarding service business.  Check them out below:


Dog Boarding Business Theme

Crazy Pets

Dog Boarding Business Theme


Dog Boarding Business Theme

“My dog is not spoiled, I’m just well-trained.”

Farewell Thoughts:  There are many things to consider when starting a dog boarding business such as do you want a website or just a Facebook business page.  To look professional you will need to have processes in place such as professional forms and a way to track your income and expenditure. If you are looking for a customised form then please feel free to contact me.  Good luck with starting your dog boarding business and drop me a line with how your business is doing.

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