Finding a Good Boarding Kennel for Your Puppy

Tips to help you research and choose a reputable and suitable boarding kennel for your puppy.



9/30/20237 min read

a dog kennel with a brown dog laying in the grass
a dog kennel with a brown dog laying in the grass

Finding a good boarding kennel for your puppy can be a daunting task. You want to make sure your puppy is well taken care of and happy while you are away. But how do you know which kennel is the best for your pup?

Here are some tips to help you research and choose a reputable and suitable boarding kennel for your puppy which I’ve learned over the past years of placing our dogs in boarding kennels.

Do your Research First

This is so important to make sure you’re going to feel happy to leave your puppy with the kennel you choose.

You can look online for reviews on kennels from customers to see what they think of how their puppy was cared for or you can ask friends and family you trust for personal recommendations.

When considering a boarding kennel look for one that offers:

  • · Regular exercise, daily walks, and a play area.

  • · Spacious kennels that are modern and clean.

  • · Well-established with a reputable website and social media.

  • · Holds the correct licenses and is fully insured.

  • · Has certifications or accreditations from professional organizations.

  • · Registered with the local authority.

  • · Has an outdoor play area for the dogs.

  • · Heating and air conditioning when needed.


The best way to find out if a boarding kennel is right for your puppy is to visit it in person. You can call ahead and schedule a tour of the facility and meet the staff. You can also bring your puppy along and see how they react to the environment and the other dogs. You can ask questions about the daily routine, the feeding schedule, the playtime, the supervision, and the emergency procedures of the kennel. You can also check the cleanliness, ventilation, temperature, noise level, and security of the kennel. If it smells bad, it could also mean that their level of cleanliness is not good which means bacteria which could make your puppy sick. A good boarding kennel will be happy to show you around and answer all your questions. When you’ve found a boarding kennel that you’re happy with, book well in advance – good kennels get booked up quickly!


Your puppy should be up to date with their vaccinations before they go to the kennel. Check with your vet what shots they need and when they should get them. It’s wise to get your puppy safeguarded against parvovirus, leptospirosis, hepatitis, and distemper. Usually, it’s just one combined shot a year. Most kennels will require proof of vaccination, plus you’ll need to make sure that your puppy has had their jabs a couple of weeks before they go into the kennels, so keep the records handy. It’s also worth your puppy having a kennel cough vaccination. It’s easy for the vet to administer, with no injections, just a spray up puppy’s nose.

Health checks

It's also a good idea to have your puppy checked by a vet before you leave them in the kennel. This way, you can make sure they're healthy and free of any parasites or infections that could spread to other dogs. Make sure that your puppy is insured, wormed and microchipped. You should also inform the kennel staff of any medical conditions or allergies your puppy has, and provide them with any medications they need.


Your puppy is going to be around other dogs and people when they go into the kennel, so socialize your puppy as much as possible from an early age, and expose them to different sights, sounds, and smells. This will help them feel more comfortable and confident in new situations. This is something you should already be doing with your puppy but if you are struggling see if you can find some puppy socialising training classes in your area.

Sleep training

Your puppy should be able to sleep through the night without crying or whining before they go to the kennel. Training your puppy to sleep in a crate or a bed that you can take with you to the kennel will give them a familiar and cosy place to rest and relax.

It’s also a good idea to leave a piece of your clothing or a blanket that smells like you in their crate or bed, this will help them feel more secure.

Calming chews

Although our dogs were always happy to stay at our chosen kennels, some puppies may feel anxious or stressed when they're away from their owners. You can help them cope by giving them some calming chews before you leave them in the kennel. Calming chews are natural treats that contain ingredients like chamomile, lavender, or hemp that can soothe your puppy's nerves and mood. Make sure you choose chews that are suitable for your puppy's age and size, and follow the instructions on the package.

Distraction toys

Distraction toys are toys that stimulate your puppy's mind and keep them busy for a long time. For example, you can give them a puzzle toy that dispenses treats when they solve it, or a chew toy that has different textures and flavours. You can also ask the kennel to rotate the toys every day, so your puppy doesn't get bored of them.

Drop off and Pick Up your Puppy

One of the most stressful parts of boarding your puppy is the drop-off and pick-up process. You may feel anxious about leaving your furry friend behind or excited to see them again after a long time. But remember, your puppy can sense your emotions and react accordingly. That's why it's important to keep calm and avoid emotional goodbyes or greetings.

Here are some tips to make the drop-off and pick-up smoother for both you and your puppy:

  • Drop off your puppy at a time when they are relaxed and tired, not when they are hyper or hungry. If you can drop them off in the morning or early afternoon that will help them settle in more easily and reduce their separation anxiety.

  • Bring some familiar items from home, such as a blanket, a toy, or a piece of clothing with your scent. These will comfort your puppy and make them feel more secure in the new environment.

  • Don't linger or make a fuss when you drop off your puppy. Say a quick and cheerful goodbye, and leave confidently. Your puppy can sense how you’re feeling so if you act sad or nervous, your puppy will think something is wrong and get more anxious.

  • When you pick up your puppy, don't rush to hug them or shower them with affection. They’ll probably be thrilled to hear your voice and see you. Wait until they are calm and composed, and then greet them calmly and gently. If you act too excited or emotional, your puppy may get overwhelmed or confused.

  • Give your puppy some time to adjust to being back home. They may be tired, hungry, thirsty, or need to go potty. Let them rest, eat, drink, and relieve themselves before you resume your normal routine.

Now we’re Reunited

Now that you're reunited, you might be wondering how to help your puppy adjust to being back in their familiar environment. Here are some tips to make the transition easier and more fun for both of you!

  • Give them a bath. You will probably find that your puppy has that ‘doggy smell’ from his stay at the kennels. Puppy might have picked up some dirt or germs from the other dogs at the kennels, so it's a good idea to give them a thorough wash as soon as you get home. Use a gentle dog shampoo and warm water, and make sure to rinse well. Dry them off with a towel and give them lots of praise and cuddles. They'll feel fresh and clean in no time!

  • Let them rest. Your puppy might be tired from all the excitement and activity at the kennels, so don't be surprised if they want to nap more than usual. Let them sleep in their favourite spot and don't disturb them unless they wake up on their own. They need some time to recharge their energy and relax after their adventure.

  • Spend quality time with them. Your puppy missed you a lot while you were away, so they'll appreciate some extra attention and affection from you. Play with them, talk to them, pet them, and show them how much you love them. You can also take them for a walk or a car ride to explore new places and smells. They'll be happy to bond with you again and feel secure in your presence.

Just one last thing before you go

Before you go, don’t forget the basics. Make sure you pack everything your puppy needs to feel comfortable and happy. Here are some essential items to bring:


Pack enough food for the duration of your puppy's stay, plus some extra in case of delays. Written instructions to the kennels on your puppy feeding routine can also be helpful. You can also include some treats and chews to reward your puppy for being a good boy or girl.


Your puppy will need a leash to go for walks and explore the kennel grounds. Choose a sturdy and comfortable leash that fits your puppy well.


Toys are important to keep your puppy entertained and stimulated. Bring some of your puppy's favourite toys, such as balls, squeaky toys, ropes, or plushies. You can also pack some new toys to surprise your puppy with.


Your puppy will appreciate having a familiar and cosy place to sleep. Bring your puppy's bedding, such as a blanket, a pillow, or a crate mat. You can also spray some of your perfume or cologne on the bedding to make it smell like home.

Collar and ID tag:

Your puppy should wear a collar with an ID tag at all times. The ID tag should have your name, phone number, and address. You can also include any medical or dietary information that the kennel staff should know about.


If your puppy takes any medication, bring it along with the prescription and dosage instructions. You should also inform the kennel staff about any allergies or health issues your puppy has.

These are some simple ways to help your puppy adjust after returning from boarding kennels. Remember that every dog is different and some might need more or less time than others to get used to being home again. Be patient and supportive of your puppy's needs and emotions, and enjoy your time together!


Over the years our pups have had many visits to our local kennel for their holiday whilst we had ours. These are the tips that we found helpful to our dogs so they could cope with kennels well.

I hope that by following these tips, you can make sure your puppy is ready for boarding kennels and you can have a worry-free holiday.

We were lucky with the kennels we found for our Alfie and Bobby, the staff would post photos of them on the kennel’s Facebook page so we could see how they were getting on!

Remember to book your spot in advance, as some kennels may fill up quickly during peak seasons. And don't forget to give your puppy lots of love and attention when you pick them up!

white and brown short coated dog on brown bear plush toy
white and brown short coated dog on brown bear plush toy