First check your love of dogs! Your prospective clients will want to feel confident they are leaving their canine friends in the hands of a true animal lover. Running a dog boarding kennel can be satisfying for the right type of person but if you don’t really love dogs and aren’t prepared to work hard, you should think about something else. Cleaning kennels, feeding, walking and playing with dogs will be all part of your day.
Next you will need to check that you are allowed to open a dog boarding kennel in your area. If you just have a small suburban property, it probably is not appropriate. Call your local council to determine the rules in relation to boarding kennels, each council is different.
Often the rule will be a maximum of between 2 dogs for a standard block size, with extra dogs being allowed for larger allotments.
Ask your council to send you their policies in relation to keeping boarding kennels. Councils usually have strict rules about how dog boarding kennels must operate. The council may also be able to guide you in the right direction regarding the insurance you will require.
Visit a few existing boarding kennels (find them here) to develop a feel for the type of boarding kennel you want to run.
You’ll need space for good sized cages as well as exercise yards and play areas. You will need to bear in mind of course the policies you will be requesting from your local council – other kennels you visit may be following a different council’s guidelines.
You will need secure fencing designed to prevent dogs escaping by jumping or digging. Some breeds like to try to dig out, so the fence should extend for several feet beneath the ground, while others are experts at leaping or scrambling out, so a height of 8 feet or more is sensible.
You’ll need to keep careful records of the requirements of each guest so you will need a filing system.
This will include the owner’s contact details and the individual feeding, medication and exercise requirements etc of each dog.
Befriend local vets and pet shops to help promote your business. You’ll also need a relationship with
a local vet to make regular health checks and to respond if you have any medical emergencies.
When seeking employees for your boarding kennel, ensure they share your love of dogs and check their references.
Consider becoming accredited by the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA).