As much as I would love to have Sami with me all the time, I know that there may come a time when I need to have him stay in a dog kennel while we travel.
Sami is very comfortable traveling; he has been around the world with us on many different types of transportation.
Leaving him behind when we travel is never going to be our first option, but we know that there are some cases where this might be necessary.
To be prepared for such an instance, I’ve been doing a lot of research about kennels, how much do dog kennels cost, and whether or not I need to do anything special to prepare Sami for this type of experience.
I would never want to put him into a scary situation without preparation, so I’m prepping now even though I don’t currently have plans to board him.
Let’s talk about dog kennels, boarding tips, and other important information that you should know about this setup.
How Much Do Dog Kennels Cost?
The cost of a dog kennel is going to depend on the type of kennel you choose, the services that you want to add to your dog’s stay, and the area that you are located in.
The average cost to board a dog is $40 per night, but the rates can range from as low as $25 to as high as $100 per night depending on your dog’s needs.
If you want to board for day time only, care is usually available for less than $25 a day.
Many dog kennels offer package deals whenever you need to board your dog for a prolonged amount of time or when you want to include specific add-on services to your dog’s stay.
Some even offer discounts when you board more than one dog at a time, so you can make sure that your whole furry family gets to stay together at a reasonable price!
The specific deals available at any one kennel are going to be unique to that kennel.
Hence, you will need to do some local research to see what options you have available to you.
If you don’t see any advertised package deals, make sure that you call and ask if any such offers are available before you book the kennel.
What Is Included At Dog Kennels?
Before you board your dog at a kennel, you will likely want to find out what types of services are included.
Most dog kennels include the following services at their base cost:
- Feeding your pet
- Taking your dog to exercise in the dog run once or twice a day
- Cleaning your dog’s kennel regularly
Dog kennels also offer additional services to include for your dog’s stay, which may or may not cost extra:
- Extra walks
- Scheduled playtimes
- Grooming specials
- Extra training
- Medicine administration
- Extra attention
- Larger kennel space
- Specialty toys
Again, every kennel is going to be a bit different, so you will want to do some research to find out what services all kennels you consider booking with are currently offering.
Different Types of Dog Kennels
It’s important to note that there are different types of dog kennels that you can choose from when boarding your pet.
There are some major differences between them, too.
Standard dog kennels offer your dog a place to sleep and play on their own.
Dogs will usually get a few visits from the staff throughout the day, as well as fed at appropriate times.
However, there isn’t always going to be a high amount of personalized attention.
Recently, luxury overnight dog hotels have become more popular.
These hotels are more expensive, often coming in over $75 per night, but they also offer additional services for your dog.
Typically, these services include more personalized attention for your dog so that they will feel more comfortable.
These may include:
- Spa services
- Webcam footage so that you can check in on your pup
- Sofas for the pets to lay on
- TV for background noise
- Larger rooms
It’s up to you to decide what type of dog boarding will be right for your pet.
Remember that you can always add additional services, even at more basic kennels, without needing to spend a fortune to keep your dog happy.
Will My Dog Be Comfortable At A Kennel?
One question that pet owners often have about dog kennels is whether or not it is really fair to their pets to leave them with strangers.
I know that this is something I’ve always worried about with Sami.
I’ve been lucky enough to usually be able to find friends to keep an eye on him when he can’t come along.
Still, an owner’s fears about dog kennels being scary for their pets are not always based in truth.
In fact, some dogs love going to the kennel.
It gives them a chance to explore a new area and meet new friends before you come back to pick them up.
Whether or not your dog will be comfortable at the kennel is going to depend on your dog’s personality, the kennel’s setup, and how you prepare them.
Preparing Your Dog for a Kennel Stay
If you are planning to board your dog in the future, it is a good idea to prepare for a kennel stay early.
Preparing ahead of time helps to ensure that your pet will be more comfortable when they are there during their stay.
Try following these techniques to get your dog ready for their first real boarding stay:
1. Do Some Trial Stays
Ask your local kennel if they do one-night trial stays.
This type of short-stay can help your dog to start getting accustomed to spending some time away from you.
2. Separate When Sleeping
Dogs that sleep with their owners every night have a harder time in dog kennels.
Try to train your dog to sleep on their own without crying so that they can withstand being alone at night in the kennel.
3. Daycare Sessions
Does your preferred kennel offer daycare sessions?
If so, try sending your dog to daycare there a few times so that they can get to know the people who work there.
This will help them be more comfortable when staying at the kennel long term in the future.
4. Socialize Dog Before Boarding
If your dog is not used to being around other dogs, it is a good idea to do some socialization training before you try to board them.
Dogs that are not used to being around other dogs can become easily stressed by the kennel environment.
This is a way to ensure that they are comfortable.
5. Toys and Familiar Scents
Make sure to pack a few of your pet’s favorite toys that they go to for comfort, as well as a blanket or shirt that smells like you.
These items will help to ensure that they have something familiar in their surroundings while at the kennel.
Of course, you cannot alleviate all stress that your dog might feel when they are away from you.
However, you can help to ensure that they will be as comfortable as possible during their kennel stay.
Other Necessary Preparations
In addition to making sure that your dog is prepared to stay in a kennel, there are also several things that you need to prepare so that the kennel will accept your stay:
- Ensure all vaccines are up to date and given more than seven days before their stay
- Write down all feeding times, instructions, and medical needs
- Provide the kennel with vet information as well as your emergency contact information
- Bag your pet’s food up into serving sizes
- Pack up your dog’s collar and leashes
- Label everything that you pack up with your dog’s name
- Try to bring your dog earlier in the day rather than later so that they can get comfortable
- Give your dog toys as well as something that smells like you
Alternatives to Dog Kennels
Should you decide that dog kennels just aren’t the right choice for your pet, that’s okay!
There are other options that you can explore when you have to travel, and many of these options may be suitable for your family.
1. House Sitters
Consider hiring a friend, family member, or professional to house sit your house while they also dog sit your pet.
By having a trusted person making sure that your house is in good shape while you are gone, you will also ensure that someone is there to play with your pup.
The comfort of being at home, even while you are not there, can be enough for some pets to be perfectly fine.
This can be an excellent option for those who want to reduce the stress on their pet.
On the flip side, this tends to be one of the most expensive options, so you will need to decide what your budget is before considering it.
2. Stop-By Visitation
When we are just going out of town for a day or two and can’t bring Sami, we usually ask a friend of ours to stop by two or three times a day.
In this way, we can make sure that he is getting some attention, appropriately fed, and played with.
This cannot work if you are traveling for long periods or if you have a dog that needs a lot of attention throughout the day.
If, however, you have a relatively mellow dog, asking someone to stop by a few times a day for one or two days is no big deal.
3. Ask a Friend to Help
Do you have a friend who loves your dog and is always excited to see them?
If so, consider asking them if they would be willing to take your dog in to watch while you are away!
Not all friends will be able to do this, but some will enjoy having another pet around for a few days while you are away.
Plus, your pet will have attention from someone that they have met before, so they will likely be more comfortable there than they would be in a kennel.
Traveling With Your Dog
Still not sure about finding a dog kennel or any of the mentioned alternatives to kennels?
That’s okay; you can always decide to make traveling with your dog a priority.
As I said, I always prefer to travel with Sami, and I avoid leaving him at home whenever possible because I know how much he loves to be with us on our adventures.
Many people are hesitant to travel with their dogs because they feel that it will be stressful, but that doesn’t need to be the case.
Just as you have to plan for a trip, prepare, and pack, the same can be said for your pets.
Traveling with pets can go smoothly so long as you are prepared for the trip.
I recommend starting to explore whether or not traveling with your pet makes sense by going on some long day trips together in the car.
Once your dog is comfortable with this, try going on a road trip together with stays in dog-friendly hotels.
Eventually, you can fly together to make your way to any location in the world.
Traveling with dogs isn’t impossible; in fact, we find it to be such fun!
I wouldn’t change anything about how I get to spend so much time traveling with Sami; consider giving travel with your pet a try.
To Kennel or Not to Kennel
It can be stressful to try to figure out whether or not you want to board your dog.
Besides, how much do dog kennels cost these days, anyway?
While kennels may seem a bit pricey at first glance, remember that they are providing comfort, safety, and stability to your dog while you are away.
What cost is your pet’s happiness worth?
Look around at different kennel options in your area and find out what is in your budget.
Then, consider the quality of services offered at each kennel before you make your final choice.
Putting energy into carefully selecting the right kennel for your dog is the best way to ensure that they will have a safe, comfortable stay.
When you know they’re in good hands, you’ll have a better trip, too!
Dog kennels may have a bad reputation in some circles.
Still, they can be a beneficial way to ensure your pet gets care and attention while you are unable to be with them.