The Best Pet Boarding Services of 2020

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Our Top Picks

Leaving your beloved pet when you go away can be difficult, but there are many pet boarding services available to help care for your buddy while you're out of town. These places offer a safe environment for your pet where it will be monitored every day, receive medicine if needed, and in some circumstances, even play with other pets.

Pet boarding can be a great option for long or short trips, but finding the right service is essential. To make your next trip a little more stress-free, we’ve rounded up the best pet boarding services.

Best Overall: Pooch Hotel

Pooch Hotel

Pooch Hotel

Why We Chose It: Pooch Hotel provides one of the best experiences for pets, as it offers several services to spoil your little friend.

What We Like
  • Staff watches over the pets 24/7 

  • Easy check-in and check-out anytime you need to pick up your pet

  • Premium add-on services spoil your dog

What We Don't Like
  • Limited locations across the U.S.

  • Strict cancellation policy, especially around holidays

Pooch Hotel is a national chain that offers dog boarding services as well as doggie day care, spa services, and more. It has 11 locations in six states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Texas. Not only is the staff available 24/7 to watch your precious pup while you’re away, but you can also add services such as training, dedicated treadmill time, and turn-down services so your pup can feel like he’s on a vacation too.

Pooch Hotel is a great choice for dog boarding, especially if you’re looking for those special touches to help your dog feel comfortable while you’re away.

Best With Webcams: Dogtopia

Dogtopia

Dogtopia

Why We Chose It: Dogtopia is a day care and boarding service that allows owners to watch their dogs playing via webcam.

What We Like
  • More than 140 locations nationwide

  • Webcams during all-day play allow you to watch your pet

  • Playrooms feature soft, rubber flooring that is gentle on paws

What We Don't Like
  • Less flexible pickup times

  • Fewer add-on options to spoil your pooch

If you want a company that not only offers pet boarding but lets you check in on your pet via webcam while you’re away, consider Dogtopia. The company has more than 140 locations across the United States and Canada, offering both short- and long-term boarding options for your dog. Every dog staying there is also allowed to spend the day at day care, playing with other pups, and burning off some energy. Overnight, your dog will be in a climate-controlled crate, or you can upgrade to a private boarding room.

Dogtopia is one of the largest pet franchises in the country and has locations clustered in and around several major U.S. and Canadian cities.

Best for Cats: PetSmart PetsHotel Pet Boarding

PetSmart PetsHotel Pet Boarding

PetSmart PetsHotel Pet Boarding

Why We Chose It: Not all boarding services cater to cats, but PetSmart offers a safe and comfortable experience for these furry creatures.

What We Like
  • Temperature-controlled environments

  • “Pets Eat Free” complimentary food plan

  • Ability to add on grooming and other extras

  • Private playtime included with staff

What We Don't Like
  • No bundled packages for cats

  • No webcam available

Did you know that one of the biggest pet supplies retailers also offers boarding? PetSmart’s PetsHotel service offers a comfortable place for your feline friend to stay when you’re away. Since the store also offers boarding for dogs, cats stay in a separate “kitty cottage” that’s cleaned and sanitized daily. If you have two cats, you can even opt for a double unit with a connecting door.

PetSmart’s boarding service includes 24/7 care and an on-call veterinarian, so you can feel confident your cats are in safe hands.

Best for Medical Needs: VCA Animal Hospitals

VCA Animal Hospitals

VCA Animal Hospitals

Why We Chose It: Boarding in a veterinarian facility is a great choice for pets with a lot of medical needs.

What We Like
  • Staff on-site at all times

  • Fun extras like storytime for pets and late-night “puptinis”

  • Location in veterinarian’s office

What We Don't Like
  • Not all VCA locations offer boarding

  • Prices can be higher than competitors

If your furry best friend has some specific medical requirements, you may have some hesitation about boarding. But VCA Hospital’s Range Pet Lodge is staffed 24/7, ensuring your pet gets the necessary attention throughout their stay. The service offers lodging options for dogs of all sizes (as well as cats), and each pet gets up to three meals a day as needed, three exercise walks, and fleece blankets to keep them warm and comfortable.

VCA also provides various add-on options, like day care time or peanut butter-filled Kongs. Staff can also administer medication or insulin for an additional fee.

Best for Extended Stays: PetSuites of America

Pet Suites of America

Pet Suites of America

Why We Chose It: PetSuites of America not only provides your pet with a comfortable haven for short- or long-term stays, but it offers tiered solutions to customize your pet’s boarding stay.

What We Like
  • Multiple options for lodging and boarding plans

  • Both dog and cat boarding services

  • Daily photo updates

What We Don't Like
  • Fewer locations compared to other services

  • Non-refundable deposit required for boarding

If you need to board your pet for a longer stay, we love that PetSuites of America offers a tiered approach that flexes with your needs. For shorter stays, the company's bronze plan includes personalized playtime and a special daily treat. For longer stays, the silver and gold plans add all-day play and an extended check-out time. The gold level also features an extra walk and daily photo updates.

For dog owners requiring longer stays, you may want to spring for the Canine Luxury Suite—which includes a raised bed, daily housekeeping, and even a TV.

Best Luxury: Pet Palace Resort

Pet Palace Resort

Pet Palace Resort

Why We Chose It: With multiple luxury experiences for your pet, Pet Palace Resort is a great option for pet parents who want to splurge.

What We Like
  • Multiple suite options for your pet

  • Day care options for both cats and dogs

  • Access to 24/7 webcams for your pets

What We Don't Like
  • Limited locations

  • Prices higher than some competitors

With 10 locations in four states, Pet Palace is not as large of a company as some of the others on our list. But it does offer experiences that truly elevate your pet’s vacation. Your dog will stay in a private “villa” that mimics the look and feel of a home. Each room is outfitted with a plush bed and whatever toys you want to send with your dog or cat to make them feel more comfortable. For an additional fee, you can even select a suite that features a 24/7 webcam so you can watch your furry friend anytime.

You can add day care to your dog’s stay or treat your pet to a spa day with in-house groomers. Prices vary depending on location, but most offer discounts for extended stays.

Best Marketplace: Rover.com

Rover.com

Rover.com

Why We Chose It: Rover offers a flexible search engine that allows you to find a pet sitter who can board your pet at their house while you’re away.

What We Like
  • Offers a more personalized boarding option in a home

  • Opportunity to interview your pet’s caretaker

  • Flexible pricing depending on the sitter

What We Don't Like
  • No day care options for all-day play

  • Availability varies based on location

Think of Rover as the Uber of pet boarding. This platform allows you to search for pet sitters in your area, and then filter results to find the best match. It’s incredibly user-friendly—just plug in the dates you need to board your pet, your price range, and any specific needs (like a fenced yard or APSE membership).

Rover’s review system makes it easy to find a sitter you can trust, and you can communicate through the platform with a couple of clicks. If you’d rather board your furry friend in someone’s home than a traditional pet hotel, Rover should be your first stop.

Final Verdict

Our top choices for pet boarding services were those that offered access to day care, safe and private rooms, and veterinarian care if needed. Dog boarding companies such as Dogtopia and Pooch Hotel offer the most convenient locations and the best add-on options for your pet and are our two favorite options when leaving your pet for a long vacation. And, if you're looking for someone to watch your pet in their home, Rover is a good place to start.

How Much Do Pet Boarding Services Cost?

The cost of pet boarding varies based on the type of pet, region, and length of stay. That said, prices typically range from $25–$50 per night for dogs and cats. Some companies offer add-on services such as grooming, day care, or training, which all cost extra. If you opt to board your dog with a pet sitter in their own home, the price may be lower. Which option works best for your pet depends on your dog or cat’s overall personality and medical needs.

Is There a Minimum Age for Pet Boarding Services?

Typically, most boarding services require that your pet be at least 12 to 14 weeks old so that your pet can get all of the necessary vaccinations before spending time around other pets. If you need to board a pet younger than 12 weeks, contact your veterinarian for options.

Additionally, pets over six months are often required to be spayed or neutered if your boarding facility offers all-day play with other pets.

Is It Bad to Board a Dog?

While you may feel a little guilty leaving your beloved pet behind, boarding your dog in a safe environment is not a bad choice. A licensed boarding facility can provide your pet with a loving and safe place to stay while you are away. Most facilities offer playtime options either with staff or other dogs, so your pet can spend the day frolicking. In fact, some pets love boarding so much that it feels just as much a vacation for them as it is for you.

That said, consider your pet’s personality before you board your dog. If they are extremely anxious or aggressive, you may need to seek other options such as staying with a friend or hiring an at-home pet sitter, which could help your dog feel more comfortable when you're gone.

How We Chose the Best Pet Boarding Services

We looked at several national pet boarding services and narrowed down our list based on amenities, overall reputation, and pets served. Companies that offered flexible stay options such as Pooch Hotel or Dogtopia ranked highest. Additionally, we found companies with a great reputation for caring for cats such as PetSmart and VCA.

Companies that offered extra add-on services also ranked highly on our list (such as Pet Palace Resort) because they allow customers to tailor their pets' experience. Overall, the most important factors when picking the best pet boarding services came down to the company’s reviews as well as their safety standards for your pet.

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