Before you can run a boarding kennel, you must know how to operate a boarding kennel so that you comply with requirements by the licensing committee and the animal's rights groups. You cannot set up an old building with cages and call it a kennel. There is so much more to operating a kennel and it takes dedication and hard work. If you want to be the kennel that everyone brings his or her dogs and cats to, you need to read what is needed to run and operate a kennel.

Things You Will Need
  • Licenses

  • Contract for clients

Step 1.

Read "Boarding Kennel Management" and "Running Your Own Boarding Kennels" (see Resources).

Step 2.

Keep all licenses up to date and expect yearly inspections from the city or state before renewing any licenses. These inspections can come any time, and your kennel must be in perfect condition to avoid any violations. Licenses can be applied for at the clerk's office in your county. There is a fee for this type of license. You will also need to have your property zoned for running a business of this type.

Step 3.

Create a contract that will be signed by you as the owner of the kennel and the owner of the animal that will be left in your care. This contract should include the pet's name, age and sex. It will also have a place for listing current vaccinations and any allergies the animal may have. This contract should also detail feeding instructions, sleeping habits and potty schedules. Include a section for any special instructions and behavior problems the animal may have.

Step 4.

Train any employees how to care for animals and how to clean kennels and other areas of the building. Take the ABKA Certified Pet Care training (see Resources) and train future employees or family members.

Step 5.

Keep pets safe. You must treat the customer's pets as you would your own. You must give them personal attention and daily exercise. Pay close attention to animals with special needs.

Step 6.

Feed the pets when specified by the owners or on a schedule of your choice if no specific feeding schedule is given. Feeding times are usually in the morning, followed by potty time. If a dog is not in a kennel with a opening leading to a dog run for bathroom use, you must provide an area for the dog to go and keep on schedule.

Step 7.

Turn off lights except for night-lights at dark. If your kennel includes suites with a TV and bed, you should locate this kennel style away from the regular cage kennels. Some people want their pets to have TV privileges all night. This could interfere with sleeping times for other dogs that are less fortunate.

Step 8.

Clean the kennels daily. This means washing down dog runs, picking up feces and bathing dogs that have accidentally soiled themselves by stepping or lying in feces. Make sure that any sick pets are quarantined. Cages and suites must be wiped down and sanitized when pets leave or sooner if they are boarded for long periods.


Operating a boarding kennel is not a 9 to 5 job. It takes long hours and operates seven days a week.