Is Dog Boarding Right for your Dog? 

For many busy dog parents, boarding your dog at a pet hotel or kennel like Paws ‘n’ Rec is the perfect solution when you’re traveling or unable to give your dog the attention he needs for a few days. Active, healthy pups that get along with other dogs generally love daycare and boarding facilities like Paws ‘n’ Rec. 

Instead of leaving your dog home alone or hiring a dog walker to let him out for 20 minutes, your dog might be a lot happier playing with other pups all day. But plenty of new dog owners wonder whether boarding their dog is right for them. Would your dog be more comfortable at home? Is a kennel safe? Are pet sitters better? This guide will help you understand whether boarding is right for your pet. 

Using a pet sitter Vs. boarding your dog  

One of the hardest parts about owning a dog is traveling. Airlines have made flying with dogs, especially those that don’t fit under your seat, almost impossible. Roadtripping with your pup can be a blast, but you’ll need to make sure that you have dog-friendly accommodation and plenty of time for a few extra potty stops. And you can only ask Uncle Frank to watch your three Pomeranians once before you stop getting invited to Thanksgiving dinner. 


Hiring a pet sitter to come either stay in your home, take your dog into their home, or let your dog out regularly is a common solution. But pet sitters can get expensive, and your dog likely won’t get the same level of care and socialization as they normally would when you’re home with them. 


At a boarding facility, pet hotel, or dog kennel like Paws ‘n’ Rec, your dog gets a private suite and lots of playtime. During the day they’ll get plenty of exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation – all under the watchful eye of trained adventure guides. And when you come home after your trip, you can rest assured that your four-legged companion is happy, tired, and ready for a snuggle. So why not give a place like Paws ‘n’ Rec a try? It could be just what you and your furry friend needs.


And if you’re staying home but still need somewhere for your dog to play while you’re at work or running errands, forget hiring a dog walker, try dog daycare! It’s far more comfortable for your pup to be in a facility surrounded by other dogs, especially one they’re already comfortable with after boarding there. You can learn more about whether dog daycare is right for your dog here. 

What’s a day at a dog hotel like? 

Well it starts by making a quick reservation online to tell us when and how long you’ll be boarding with us. Paws ‘n’ Rec is a membership-based dog hotel, so you’ll subscribe to gain access to board your dog with us for $10/mo. Once you’re a member, you’ll receive all kinds of perks to other dog businesses around town and the ability to board your dog whenever you’re away. Reserve your days, and seamlessly drop your dog off then you’re ready for them to pawty. Many dog daycares that offer boarding will charge boarding dogs to attend daycare during their stay, but with a Paws ‘n’ Rec membership, all boarders get to join the daycare pack whenever they’re staying with us. 


On your way out of town, you’ll pull up to our front door, and if your pup has been here before, they’ll usually be jumping out of the car to get inside with their furiends. After we quickly check your pup in, they’ll head out for a few hours in our big outdoor, turfed yards where they’ll run and play with other dogs of a similar size and temperament. All our play groups are supervised by trained adventure guides. We maintain a 1-8 dog-to-person ratio in the facility at all times, ensuring we have enough staff on hand to manage all the pups safely.  


At Paws ‘n’ Rec, we run cycle-based playgroups (as recommended by veterinarians) – meaning our pups spend some time out in a group and sometime during the day relaxing in a suite. Like children, when dogs get overstimulated, they get tired. While we’ve worked at facilities that run all-day play before, we often found that towards the end of the day, dogs can get anxious and tired, leading to more dominant behavior and the potential for more injury. With cycle-based play, we give pups time to relax and recharge before they head back for a romp in the yards. 


We pride ourselves on offering extended hours compared with most dog care businesses, and that can really help when arriving into town late after a long trip. There’s nothing worse than landing at 7 PM on a Sunday and not being able to see your beloved pup until Monday morning because your kennel is closed for the weekend. 


When you’re on your way home, just pop into our lobby, and we’ll quickly fetch your dog for you. Better yet, add a bath onto your daycare reservation, and you’ll be greeted by a tired and clean pup, ready for an evening of snuggles. The whole check-in/check-out process usually only takes a few minutes, so getting a few days of exercise and TLC while you’re away is easier than scheduling a dog sitter. 

How Do I Know if my Dog Likes Boarding? 

The best metric we have for whether or not a dog likes staying with us is the “pull factor”. If your dog is whining to get out of the car, and pulls on the leash to head into the door, they’re telling you they love it here. We even have some dogs who go jump on their parents at check-out when they’re ready to go home, only to turn around and try to run back inside to play! 


While quantifying the “pull factor” is hard, we find that most of our pups start whining in excitement the minute they know they’re heading our way. Some parents can’t even say “Paws ‘n’ Rec” without their dogs spinning around in circles at home in anticipation of the fun stay ahead. 


Many highly trained dogs don’t pull or whine on the way to daycare, but we provide report cards and communicate with our parents regularly to let them know how their pups are enjoying their stay. 

Dog Boarding for Puppies

We start accepting dogs as soon as they are fully vaccinated, which generally happens around 16 weeks old. We’ve found that the sooner in a dogs life they start boarding with us, often the more comfortable they are when you travel as they get older and the better behaved they are with humans and other dogs over the course of their lifetime. According to veterinary studies: “Dogs that are appropriately socialized as puppies are less likely to exhibit behavioral problems as adults, including aggression and fearfulness.” 


Paws ‘n’ Rec requires proof of up-to-date vaccinations from a vet for all fur-members for the following vaccinations/health examinations

*Bordetella (every 6 months if administered orally, yearly if administered via injection or intranasally)



*Flea Preventative

*Canine Influenza (strongly recommended but not required. There has not been a major outbreak in the Tampa Bay area for years, but if that ever occurs, we may require the vaccine for all fur babies)


If you don’t have your vaccination records on hand, we can help you obtain them from your vet.


Dog Boarding for Older Dogs

Many older dogs do really well boarding, depending on their temperament and energy level. Every dog at Paws ‘n’ Rec goes through a free evaluation day where they spend time in the yards with us and our other members. That evaluation day allows us to ensure that any dog, regardless of age, size, or breed can safely hang with the pack and stay with us for a prolonged period of time. We’re also willing to administer some medications if needed, but we want to ensure that any dogs in our care can safely play with other dogs. If your pup has limiting health issues, he may not be able to hang with the pack, and Paws ‘n’ Rec may not be the best place for him. Call us to schedule an evaluation and we’ll let you know whether or not he’s a fit.  

How Much Does Dog Boarding Cost? 

Most dog boarding facilities charge by the day and by the size of the suite you reserve. Paws ‘n’ Rec is a membership-based facility, meaning we require you to buy a boarding membership for $10/mo to board your dog with us. That allows us to offer you more availability than many other boarding facilities, serve the most dogs in our community, and ensure that we are always staffing appropriately by allowing us to understand how many dogs may be in attendance every day. With a Paws ‘n’ Rec membership, you’ll get plenty of perks to other dog and wellness businesses around town, and we pride ourselves on being the best thing you can buy for the health and wellness of your dog. 

Individual Attention for Dogs

While we spend plenty of time caring for every dog that’s with us for daycare or overnight boarding, we also offer “solo adventures” you can purchase like tail time, cuddles, fetch, the adventure park, splash zone, and other monthly specials. If you want your dog to spend some one-on-one time with one of our adventure guides, we’ll take them out privately and give them some extra TLC for you…and you’ll get some amazingly cute pics for the gram from it. Solo adventures are only available for dogs that are comfortable in a group setting. 

Dog Boarding for Dominant Dogs 

At Paws ‘n’ Rec, we only care for dogs that are well-socialized with other dogs and humans. We know there are plenty of really good dogs out there, especially those that were adopted from traumatic situations, that just don’t do well in busy environments with other dogs and people. That’s not to say we don’t love them, but for the safety of our staff and the other animals in our care, we aren’t the best option for their care while you’re away. There are other local facilities that do take dogs that need individual care and attention you can try. 


How do I get started? 

If you’re ready to try out dog daycare, we’d love to schedule an evaluation day for your pup. Fill out our membership questionnaire here, or reach out to whichever facility is better suited to you. We hope you’ll come adventure with us soon.