How to Start a Dog Boarding Business

dog daycare indoors

Do you love dogs and taking care of lovable furballs? You can take this passion for canines and turn it into a business called dog boarding.

What is Dog Boarding?

Also known as a dog daycare or boarding kennel, a dog boarding business provides care for dogs while their owners are unavailable. This could be for work or vacation.The owners can pay for care during the day, overnight, or for an extended period of time, like a week-long vacation. Dog daycares might also offer grooming services, dog training, or membership to their dog park. 

What You Need to Know Before Starting a Dog Daycare

Zoning

When looking for property to build your new boarding kennel, be sure to check the zoning regulations with your local municipality. You’re starting a business, so the land must be zoned for commercial use, not residential use only. It’s also important to ensure that there are no exclusions for pet-related businesses before using the property.

Licensing

Find out what licenses your municipality requires for a dog boarding business. You’ll likely need a kennel license and vendor’s license. You’ll also learn what regulations to follow to avoid losing your licenses. This is important to know before beginning, so you can plan with these regulations in mind.

Insurance

Consult a business lawyer on what types of business insurance to purchase. You’ll likely need some type of commercial liability insurance, property insurance, and professional liability insurance. There may be specific pet business insurance available to cover all your potential liability. Be sure to purchase your insurance before opening your dog boarding business.

What You Need to Start a Dog Boarding Business

Land

Location is extremely important to a boarding kennel. You’ll want a conveniently located space with plenty of residential neighborhoods nearby for a large customer base. Depending on the capacity you’re planning for, you’ll need an acre or two of land to build a parking lot, office, kennel, and a fenced-in dog park for exercise.

Office Space

Your office space is where you’ll do paperwork, check-in and check-out, store supplies and go to the restroom. If you’re offering grooming services, your grooming facility might be attached to your office. Plan on constructing an office space of 500-1000 square feet. Adjacent the office, you’ll want to construct your parking lot. Each parking space takes up about 288 square feet, so a 10-spot parking lot will require about 3,000 square feet of space. Make sure you plan for enough spaces for you, your employees, and customers. If you’re planning on operating a larger facility or opening your dog park to the public, consider how that’ll impact your parking as well.

commercial dog kennel

Commercial Kennel

Perhaps the most important aspect of your boarding kennel business is the kennel itself. A quality commercial kennel will contain 50-100 square feet of covered space for each dog. Each pen should contain outdoor and indoor space with a bed, food and water bowls, and toys. It’s also ideal to temperature control the indoor space of your kennel with heating, air conditioning, and heated floors. Speaking of floors, they should be made from easy wash surfaces to clean up after any accidents.

Equipment

You’ll need equipment to take care of the dogs staying at your kennel, like leashes, toys, and poop scoops. You’ll also need office equipment, like a computer, printer, file cabinets, furniture, and other supplies. For your dog park area, you’ll need to install a fence and any exercise equipment you desire, like tunnels, jumps, weave poles. It might be a good idea to section off multiple areas for dogs of different sizes. Be sure to inspect your fence regularly for any damage. You should immediately replace damaged fencing for your clients’ dogs’ safety.

dog daycare outdoors

Certification

Lastly, you can become a certified pet boarder through various organizations, like the Professional Pet Boarding Certification or the International Boarding & Pet Services Association. If you’re providing additional services, there are other certifications available, like the National Dog Groomers Association of America. Certifications are a great marketing tool for gaining new customers, so don’t skip out on this last step!

Get Started with Your Dog Boarding Business

Now you’re armed with the information needed to start your own dog boarding business. We wish you the best of luck in your exciting new venture! When it’s time to build your commercial kennel, reach out to the experts at Trailside Structures. We’d be happy to help start your business with one of our customizable kennels!