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The Challenges of Running a Dog Daycare or Boarding Facility

Woman walking dogs in day care facility
by Astrakan Images

As a dog lover, you may think running your own dog daycare or boarding facility is a great profession. The thought of leaving your dog home alone is avoided, and you can have fun working with pups all day.

Dog daycares offer a way for dogs to get much-needed exercise, socialization, and stimulation. It’s a great fit for some dog lovers and owners. Playing and caring for dogs all day can seem fun and engaging, but there are challenges that you must consider before jumping in.

Running a dog daycare or boarding facility is a challenging but rewarding business for those who are passionate about dogs and providing high-quality care for these beloved animals.

Here are all the things you need to look at closely before running a dog daycare or boarding home.

Important Questions To Address Before You Start

One of the first considerations you should have with your dog daycare is figuring out how lucrative it can be for you.

You’ll want to address the financial aspect, as well as how much work is involved. Some questions you want to ask when you begin your daycare or facility include the following:

  • What services do you want to provide? Some dog daycares may have services to keep dogs overnight, to offer extra care services (sometimes as an add-on) such as cleaning, grooming, and obedience training.

  • How will you price out your services? Take a look at other dog daycares and boarding facilities to get a good idea of the pricing within the market.

  • How will you market within your community? You can use word of mouth but there can also be startup costs for things like branding and advertising necessary.

  • How in-demand are doggy daycares or boarding facilities in your area?

The amount of money you bring in for your business depends on all of these things, along with the fluctuations within the market.

Create and develop a solid business plan with goals that are realistic to obtain. It might be beneficial to work with a partner or someone with more business-savvy knowledge to help get your dream off the ground.

As is with any business, your revenue should grow into a sustainable business for you to manage. It takes a lot of time, effort, and work upfront before you even get the dogs in the door!

Dogs and Dog Owners

Part of owning a successful dog boarding facility requires you to screen your clients. You should develop screening processes for both the owners and their dogs. You should ensure that you provide dog parents with clear expectations on times so they will be punctual for drop-offs and pick-ups, along with all the other rules you want to incorporate with your facility.

You also need to take in dogs that you know are well-behaved and in good health. You desire dogs that are good with other dogs and will respond well to simple commands for things to run smoothly.

Experts at Bond Vet clinic shares, “ We have often discovered that some pet owners aren’t completely honest about their dog’s health or social abilities before placing their pet in the daycare facility. The result is pets being brought to emergencies.

Difficult owners or dogs that don’t socialize well with others can pose a problem for any day care facilities - so having a solution in place to quickly resolve the situation is important.

Many facilities follow standard procedure of having pet owners declare the medical certificates that can tell the history of a pet's medical issues so that any emergency can be tackled well, if aware.

Time and Space

Setting up open and close hours is another essential part of owning a dog daycare. If you’re running a boarding facility, you still may find issues with dog owners not coming to pick up on the agreed-upon days or times.

Many dog daycares operate out of residential homes. Using your own home or personal space can be a problem when you’re stuck caring for a dog whose owner can’t come to pick it up on time, adding length to days that are already quite long. Most centers are open for around twelve hours daily, so it’s not a typical 9 to 5 setting.

Money and Compliance

Depending on your situation, it’s possible you need to rent a space for your dog daycare business. It requires a significant amount of money to start, so you might need to get a loan or work with an investor. You’ll have to consider if you want to work as a partnership, sole proprietorship, corporation, or Limited Liability Company (LLC) for your business structure.

You’ll also have to review local laws that involve business insurance, zoning, licenses, permits, and health code restrictions. Each state has varying requirements and specific health and safety regulations when running a business.

There are other costs involved you’ll need to have, which include the following equipment:

  • Food and treats

  • Dishes for eating and drinking

  • Toys

  • Play structures or structures for training outdoors

  • Crates, kennels, or cages

  • Dog beds

  • Leashes

  • Cleaning and sanitizing supplies

Any staff you hire needs training in dog health and first aid. You may want expert assistance or a few staff members that can help with care. Competition within your area may also be high, so it may take more time to get your business going, but going through all the necessary health factors is a must.


Another challenge you face with your business is obtaining insurance. The insurance you buy protects your business from liability in the event of an accident, injury, or other events. It’s essential to keep yourself and your business covered from potential lawsuits.

The types of insurance to look at include:

- property insurance,

- commercial liability, or

- professional liability insurance.

Speak with a legal professional and ensure you have the proper insurance before opening up your facility.

Another kind of insurance to protect your business is specifying age and vaccine requirements for any dog. It can help if you have some software to help you run it, too.

Invest in a software like Pet Sitter Plus that includes helpful tools like a vaccinations module, which ensures you can see which dogs stay compliant with their vaccines, making it easy to run your daycare more efficiently and keep all the dogs healthy.

Should You Run a Dog Daycare or Boarding Facility?

Hopefully, now you can see the many challenges you can face when starting and running your own dog-caring facility. If you are running a business, there are certain things you need to take into consideration.

Before you jump in, consider a pet sitting business, which is one of the best ways to begin when you want to run a dog daycare. Pet sitting will give you a good idea of the dogs within your area and whether there’s a demand for a good boarding facility that you can provide.

It may seem like a fun job, but examining financial aspects, legal requirements, and whether you’ll be able to build a solid client base are all crucial factors you must understand. Be aware of the obstacles and work it involves, and you’ll find much more success in your business endeavor.

The challenges of running a dog daycare or boarding facility are many, but they are also opportunities to provide high-quality care and create a safe and enjoyable environment for the dogs. Whether it's managing space and facilities, staffing, or handling health and safety issues, dog daycare facilities offer a unique and rewarding opportunity for those who are passionate about dogs.

In conclusion, dog daycare and boarding facilities are an important resource for dogs and their owners. They provide a safe and fun environment for dogs to play and socialize, while offering owners peace of mind and professional care. By overcoming the challenges of running these facilities, owners can create a positive and rewarding experience for dogs and their owners.


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