What Is The Difference Between Boarding Kennels And Dog Hotels?

Although no one ever likes the idea of having to leave their beloved dog behind, there are many times when your furry companion needs alternative accommodation. If you’re newly trying to navigate the best option for your dog, trying to understand similar-sounding services can be confusing. Although a boarding kennel and dog hotel may sound similar on the surface, there are a few key differences to understand.

What’s a Boarding Kennel?

A boarding kennel is a licensed and regulated facility that offers to house, feed, and exercise your pup while you’re on vacation. Typically speaking, a boarding kennel is a mass space of fenced-off areas for individual dogs. On average, the walls are manufactured with fencing or gates, as opposed to physical barriers. However, these fences do not go to the ceiling, enabling dogs to climb over the top of the structures. In addition, as these facilities are typically large areas, natural lighting may come from windows placed along with the ceiling, limiting natural light.

When booking such boarding kennels, many locations will base their fees on a set cost per size of the dog (in turn, establishing the rate by the size of the area needed to keep your dog). 

In addition, many boarding facilities may have limited amenities like trails, water play, or outdoor play spaces. Therefore, it’s always important to ask any boarding kennel about these activities before booking to determine if the run attached to the kennel is the only outdoor activity they will have during their stay.

As kennels will typically have limited amenities or options for pet owners, the cost associated will often remain a flat rate, with strict routines and schedules for all boarded dogs. This environment is ideal for dogs that are not easily stimulated and enjoy predictable routines.

What’s a Dog Hotel?

A dog hotel is also a licensed and regulated facility that provides care for your dog while you’re away. Unlike the large, fenced-in kennel, dog hotels will typically offer small rooms (with doors) for all dogs. These rooms are built to mimic household environments, complete with drywall, windows, and flooring. Additionally, pet hotels may have small household items, like a bed, chair, or similar items, within the room. These rooms are ideal for dogs who become easily stimulated (which can be common with kenneled dogs), giving them a private, quiet area to relax. As a result, dogs can settle more readily. Dog hotels are also more likely to provide controlled climate environments, heating, and air conditioning to each room. 

Dog hotels will often cater to a wide array of needs, from well-loved trails to agility equipment when it comes to amenities. Many will offer water features or outdoor play areas built for communal time with the boarded dogs. Dogs are naturally social pack animals and will often enjoy the time with other canines. With different features often comes a different price point for many owners. There’s always room for customization from extra playtime to additional walks on the property, hand-made treats, and high-end meals.

How to Choose Which Option is Best?

Whether you want to find a dog hotel to spoil your dog while you’re gone, or you’re looking for the most cost-efficient method of boarding, starting with a referral is the easiest. Online websites will provide a list of many different services in your area to choose from, regardless of your budget. Always make sure that you contact the business prior to booking to confirm the services required and the final costs. Inquire about their housing style, heating or cooling systems, and whether the kennels (or rooms) are built out of solid material.

If your dog is easily distracted by other dogs, people, or noises, it may struggle in a standard dog kennel environment. For those needing a bit less stimulation, a dog hotel may be the better option. Dogs with dietary issues (like allergies or raw food) needing assistance may also struggle with standard boarding kennel environments. Dog hotels often have private kitchens on-site which can safely store food, medications, or refrigerated items.It’s essential to find the right balance of services, amenities, and budget for you and your dog. Doing that needs to start with understanding the differences between the two popular boarding options for your pup.

Emma Thompson

Hi, I'm Emma Thompson. Welcome to The Pet Town! I'm a Pet lovers like you and please feel free to get in touch with any questions. Enjoy your stay!

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