Should I Use Dog Boarding Kennels in Sydney or Pet Care in My Home?

(Part 2 of 4)

Are you considering dog boarding kennels in Sydney for your fur baby’s next holiday?

We looked at dog minding in the first part of this series, to help you decide whether to arrange pet care in your own home or take your dogs to boarding kennels in Sydney. I understand that pet owners just want the best for their favourite companion, confidant and couch cuddle-buddy. This blog will look at some of the pros and cons of taking your dogs to a boarding facility, whether you choose basic kennels in the Hills district or luxury pet resorts in Dural, to help guide your decision-making.

Dog Boarding Kennels Sydney

Boarding kennels have been the mainstay of pet care until relatively recently, where many more care choices have become available to dog owners. Boarding facilities are often the first port of call, as they tend to be well-established, and easy to find, whether online or in telephone directories. 

The services and the dog holding environment may be relatively simple, with an enclosure where your dog will be housed and another enclosure where they will be exercised. Or they could extend to high-end pet resorts that offer bedroom-like housing and large grassed exercise and play areas.

Below are some of the pros and cons of dog boarding kennels in Sydney. You can also read more about the advantages and disadvantages of dog minding and pet sitting as models of care in my other blogs on the subject.

Advantages of Boarding Kennels

Some of the advantages of taking your dog to a boarding kennel are:

  • Safe and secure housing for your dog in a fenced enclosure (although there are stories about dogs escaping from facilities, these incidents are relatively rare)
  • Boarding facilities and pet resorts in Sydney usually provide a kennel with at least two sections. One is a protected and enclosed area where your dog can shelter in inclement weather. In the second area, your dog can move freely up and down, as well as turn around. You can read more on the RSPCA policy on housing companion animals here: https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/rspca-policy-a10-housing-of-companion-animals/ or review the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Animal Welfare Guidelines here: https://www.wsava.org/Guidelines/Animal-Welfare-Guidelines.
  • Many boarding kennels offer additional exercise opportunities. Some may provide free-running times, with or without other dogs, in a large fenced enclosure during the day. Or they may provide dog walking services, usually with a dog walker for personal attention and for a defined period of time. These services are often add-ons that are provided at an additional charge
  • Some pet resorts and luxury dog boarding kennels may offer so-called exclusive, premium or deluxe ‘suites.’ These are likely to have a larger floor space, with more luxurious enclosures or rooms and fancy fittings for your pooch to feel pampered with
  • A requirement of admission to a kennel is that your dog, and the other residents, have been vaccinated against the most common illnesses that are found in the general canine population. Vaccination certificates will be checked prior to animals being accepted into the facility. You can read more about common canine illness and vaccinations here: https://www.wsava.org/Guidelines/Vaccination-Guidelines or https://www.ava.com.au/node/112438 or https://www.rspcapetinsurance.org.au/pet-care/new-pet/about-pet-vaccinations
  • Even in the off-season, your pets will be surrounded by other dogs in a kennel environment. As animals with a social orientation, this can provide companionship, stimulation and also improve socialisation depending on your dogs’ temperament
  • During daytime hours there will be a reasonable amount of supervision of all the boarders. Staff regularly move through the kennels to clean cages and runs, admit or discharge animals, and carry out other duties in the facility
  • Some pet boarding facilities may offer live video feeds of your dog’s enclosure, so that you can view your pet in real-time
  • Kennel staff can supervise and administer medication to your dog if required
  • Most boarding kennels will accommodate your special feeding instructions, especially by prior arrangement, although you may be required to supply the food

Dog boarding kennels in Sydney might not suit every dog. So you may want to explore what services a dog minder in The Hills District, or a pet sitter in Dural can offer. If you would like to discuss your dog’s individual needs and receive professional advice, call me on 0406 863 751

Disadvantages of Boarding Kennels

Along with many positive points, there are also negatives to consider when placing your dog in a boarding kennel. These include:

  • Most Sydney pet resorts and dog boarding kennels have limited opening hours, and some may not even open on Sundays or public holidays. This means you could pay for additional or unwanted boarding days if the facility is closed on the day you wish to drop off and collect your pet
  • Most pet boarding facilities offer a drop-off and pick-up service for an additional charge. However, if you decide against using their services, you may need to take time off work or take additional leave days, in order to deliver and collect your dogs. Depending on where the boarding facility is located, you will bear the associated time and petrol costs
  • If you are going away for an extended period, like an overseas holiday, bear in mind your dog will be confined to a relatively small space for most of the day. Even if you have booked additional run time and/or daily slots with the in-house dog walker. Regardless of whether they are pet resorts or luxury dog hotels with exclusive, premium or deluxe ‘suites,’ they all have limitations
  • Even in the quiet off-season and in small, low-capacity boarding kennels, numerous dogs are housed at the facility at any one time. This often means a relatively noisy, boisterous, and possibly intimidating environment for your dog. This may not be ideal for dogs that are nervous and anxious, poorly socialised, older or not in optimal health. Even well-adjusted, well-socialised pets may become stressed from the combination of a change in routine, confinement, and exposure to other dogs in the boarding environment
  • During peak periods, some boarding facilities may house pets from different homes together in one pen. Hence, it’s vital to read the fine print and ask questions about how your animals will be housed and whether your dogs will have a cage to themselves, if this is important to you
  • To fit in with kennel work schedules and staff hours, your pets may face significant disruption to their usual routine. Whether that be feeding times, exercise times and even their sleeping patterns. Depending on their temperament, this may impact on some animals more than others
  • Regardless of vaccination status and stringent hygiene measures, your precious pooch could still be exposed to significant health risks. This is simply due to factors such as the number of dogs housed in close proximity to one another and illnesses which may still be in their incubation phase on admission. Examples of this are respiratory infections (kennel cough), fungal disease (ringworm) or parasitic infections (worms). You can read more here: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Disease-Risks-for-Dogs.aspx
  • Dogs may exhibit changes in their normal behaviour, in both the kennel environment and on their return home. In most cases, they will settle back into their normal routine and normal behaviour patterns after a few days. However, some animals may show more permanent changes in behaviour as a result of their experiences during their confinement
  • Due to the nature and staffing of kennels, there are limitations to the level of personalised and customised care that can be provided to individual pets in this environment

In Conclusion

From the above points, it’s clear that there’s a lot to weigh up if you’re considering dog boarding kennels in Sydney for your best fur friend. The greatest advantage is the safety, security, and supervision that these facilities offer, plus the social interaction with other dogs, if your pooch is so inclined.  

On the downside, Sydney dog kennels could prove to be a stressful and disruptive experience for your pet. Furthermore, these establishments have limited scope for customised care arrangements and focused attention on your dog. This is why it’s really important to consider the following when making your decision:

  • Age and health of your dog
  • Temperament and socialisation 
  • Duration of care
  • Time in the company of people
  • Convenience, flexibility, and customisation of care arrangements

Read more about these key considerations when choosing between Sydney pet minders, dog sitters and boarding kennels.

I trust that the above insights provided on the pros and cons of dog boarding kennels and pet resorts have helped in your decision-making process. For more information, you can read part 1 of this article relating to dog minding here. Part 3 of the article, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of pet sitting, can be found here.  

Do you still have questions or are not quite sure what to do? As a Veterinary Technologist, I have previously worked in boarding kennels, as well as being a pet sitter, and a dog minder.

If you are looking for dog holiday care in Dural or the surrounding suburbs in the Hills District in Sydney, I am happy to discuss the needs of your dog with you. Give me a call on 0406 863 751 or you can find more details on my other pages about the dog walking and pet minding services that I offer.

Dog Walking and Pet Care

Dural and Hills District Sydney