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Leaving your beloved pet behind when you travel can be difficult, but there are many pet boarding options available to help care for your furry friend while you are away. These services offer a safe environment for your pet where they 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
Why We Chose It: Pooch Hotel provides one of the best experiences for pets, as it offers several services to spoil your little friend.
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
Limited locations across the U.S.
Strict cancellation policy, especially around holidays
Pooch Hotel is a national chain that offers dog boarding services and doggie daycare, spa services, and more. It has 11 locations in six states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Texas. Not only are 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 they are on 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
Why We Chose It: Dogtopia is a day care and boarding service that allows owners to watch their dogs playing via webcam.
More than 170 locations nationwide
Webcams during all-day play allow you to watch your pet
Playrooms feature soft, rubber flooring that is gentle on paws
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 170 locations across the United States and Canada, offering both short-term and long-term boarding options for your dog. Every dog staying there is also allowed to spend the day at daycare, 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
Why We Chose It: Not all boarding services cater to cats, but PetSmart offers a safe and comfortable experience for these furry creatures.
Ability to add on grooming and other extras
Private playtime included with staff
No bundled packages for cats
No webcam available
Did you know that one of the biggest pet supply retailers also offers pet boarding? PetSmart’s PetsHotel service offers a comfortable place for your feline friend to stay when you’re away. The store offers boarding for both dogs and cats, feline friends 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.
Why We Chose It: Boarding in a veterinarian facility is a great choice for pets with medical needs.
Staff on-site at all times
Fun extras like storytime for pets and late-night “puptinis”
Location in veterinarian’s office
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 daycare time or peanut butter-filled Kongs. Staff can also administer medication or insulin for an additional fee.
Best for Extended Stays: PetSuites of America
Why We Chose It: PetSuites of America not only provides your pet with a comfortable haven for short-term or long-term stays, but it offers tiered solutions to customize your pet’s boarding stay.
Multiple options for lodging and boarding plans
Both dog and cat boarding services
Daily photo updates
Fewer locations compared to other services
If you need to board your pet for a long 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
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.
Multiple suite options for your pet
Day care options for both cats and dogs
Access to 24/7 webcams for your pets
Prices higher than some competitors
With 11 locations in four states, Pet Palace is not as large of a company as 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 any toys you want to send with your pet 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 daycare 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
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.
Offers a more personalized boarding option in a home
Opportunity to interview your pet’s caretaker
Flexible pricing depending on the sitter
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—which is incredibly user-friendly. When searching, 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.
Our top choices for pet boarding services were those that offered access to daycare, safe and private rooms, and veterinarian care if needed. Dog boarding companies such as Dogtopia and Pooch Hotel offer the most convenient locations, best add-on options for your pet and are our two favorite options when leaving your pet while on vacation. However, 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, daycare, 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 them 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.
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 like 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 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 pet's 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.