Boarding Your Pet? First, Do Your Research


Photo courtesy of Animal Rescue League of Boston. When boarding a pet, make sure to do your research and ask questions.

By Edward Schettino

Did you know… there are no statewide regulations that govern boarding kennels and pet daycare facilities in Massachusetts?

This means that, throughout the Commonwealth, not all boarding facilities are created equal. While many offer excellent accommodations and a nurturing environment, other kennels or daycares may not be on par with your expected standard of care.

In fact, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has sadly seen numerous instances where a dog was injured, and in some cases fatally, due to improper protocol or supervision during play groups.

If you’re planning a vacation, or simply looking for an opportunity to socialize your dog during the workday, ARL encourages pet owners to do their own research before leaving their dog or cat in the care of a boarding kennel or daycare facility.

Not sure where to start? ARL recommends taking these three steps to get set to board your pet:

  1. Find out safety protocols and licensing. What is the procedure in the event of a natural disaster or medical emergency? Are there vaccination requirements to ensure the health of all boarded animals? Does the facility have a current kennel license?
  2. Ask for details about supervision and interaction. What is the experience-level of the person supervising your pet, and are they always on the premises? Are dogs allowed to interact with one another, and are they separated by size/temperament?
  3. Download the Board Safely checklist at When researching potential boarding kennels or daycare facilities for your pet, ask all of the questions on this list and take notes.

While pet owners now have the tools to help them assess their own comfort level before they board their pet, there are bigger changes on the horizon. ARL, along with many other animal welfare organizations across the state, is actively seeking legislation that would establish regulations within the operation of boarding kennels and daycare facilities. These regulations would create statewide standards for emergency response training, facility accommodations, pet supervision and more.

To learn how you can advocate for kennel regulations, visit

Thanks to Dr. Edward Schettino for contributing this article to Westwood Minute. Dr. Schettino is the President and CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and has a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

You may also enjoy:

Possible Dog Ban at Walpole's Adams Farm (Updated)

Adoptable Pocket Pets at ARL Following Pet Store's Large Surrender

Ticks Remain a Year-Round Concern for Our Pets

12 Tips for Taming Allergies During Pollen Season

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified