Dog Kennel Prices + Alternatives

How Much Does it Cost to Kennel a Dog?

What to Look Out For

Alternatives For Those Pampered Pets

Part of Our All About Dogs Section

I can remember 30 years ago my mother taking our family pet dog to the local kennels just before our two week holiday abroad.

I can also vividly remember my mother worrying about her “baby” for two whole weeks and the daily routine of phoning the kennels (from Spain) to check that she’s okay.

A few other things have stuck in mind about that place; the smell of the kennels, the poo in the enclosures and the fact that it looked more like a prison than a home-from-home.

Thankfully, those days are in the past, and the quality of dog kennels has improved significantly since then.

Standards are much higher, regulations have tightened and with the proliferation of online reviews, kennel businesses have upped their game, and most are now more akin to a retreat than a prison yard.

But how much do dog kennels cost and what are the alternatives?

Everything You Need to Know About Dog Kennels

(Including alternatives for those pampered pets)

On this page, we’ll show you:

  • Dog kennel prices.
  • 10 things to look for before you choose your kennel.
  • In-home dog boarding as an alternative.
  • Doggy daycare options.
  • Pet sitters and dog walker services and prices.

Dog Kennel Cost – How Much Do Kennels Charge?

Dog kennels are often dedicated businesses, or they may form part of a larger animal establishment where cats, mice and other pets can be left when their owners are away.

Every kennel is different, but most will meet a certain minimum standard for welfare, including enclosure size, walks and time outside of the kennel.

As part of our research into dog ownership costs, we asked dozens of kennels how much they charge per dog per night.

Obviously, the prices given to us varied by region and by the size of the kennel and the area the dog has exclusive access to.

We’ve separated the type of kennels into standard and premium, with premium kennels typically offering an exclusive grassy area for the dog to use at any time and a larger kennel.

Here is the average dog kennel cost for 2021:


Item:London and South:Midlands:North:
Standard Kennel With Run£23 per day£19 per day£17 per day
Premium Kennel With Larger Exclusive Grass Area£28 per day£25 per day£24 per day

10 Things to Look For Before You Choose Your Kennel

Choosing to leave a cherished pet in a kennel for the first time is a big step for many people, and that’s understandable as pets are often seen as part of the family.

Here are ten things we think you should check before you send your dog to the local kennels:

1) First, check that your dog is suitable for the kennel. Some kennels won’t accept large dog breeds or certain breeds at all.

2) Read online reviews from past customers.

3) Check that they’re registered with your local council and that all dogs must have up to date vaccinations, including for kennel cough.

4) Ask if you can leave bedding, toys, or other items as these will have your scent on them, which will help your dog relax. Some kennels have strict rules regarding what items can be left with your dog.

5) Do other dogs at the kennel look relaxed or anxious? Are they pacing up and down the enclosure?

6) How many staff do they have?

7) Ask about how often the dog will be allowed out of the enclosure. Will the staff play games with the dog in a designated play area?

8) How many walks a day will the dog get? How long will they be? Will walks be in a field or somewhere more exciting?

9) Look at how the staff behave towards the dogs. Are they just doing their job, or do they appear to enjoy being around dogs?

10) Do the kennels have raised beds? Trampoline-style raised beds keep your dog off the cold floor and help to alleviate pressure on joints. They’re easy to clean, and most good kennels have them or something similar.

Alternative 1 – Home Boarding

Home boarding is where you leave your pet with a host family for the duration of your time away. Your dog will stay at their home, either as the only dog or with the owner’s dog or a small number of dogs, subject to agreement between you and the host.

The dogs will be treated to up to four walks a day and will get lots of attention, just like they would in the home of any dog-loving person.

Professional dog walkers often offer home boarding services as an extra, while some self-employed dog owners who work from home have space and time for an extra dog or two.

There are several companies online that match dog owners with those that offer in-home boarding.

Home boarding is great for sociable pets that don’t like being left alone.

It might not be suitable for dogs that don’t get on well with other dogs, cats, or children present in the home. There are, however, host families that agree yours will be the only dog in the home, so don’t be afraid to look around.

Questions to ask:

  • Do they have insurance to offer this service?
  • Do they have a backup plan if they can’t look after the dog?
  • How many dogs will be in their care?
  • Do they have enough space in the home to separate dogs that don’t get along?
  • What other pets are there in the home?
  • How many walks a day will the dog get?
  • Will the dog be left alone during the day? If so, for how long?
  • Will the dog ever be left alone with other dogs?
  • How long have they been looking after other people’s dogs?

You can find in-home dog boarders by looking for local dog daycare centres – many will offer full in-home services too. Some professional dog walkers and sitters offer in-home boarding as well.

Search online for “dog home boarding”, and you’ll find plenty of sites that match hosts with dog owners.

Based on our research into dog ownership costs, this is how much in-home boarding costs:

Home Boarding (average size dog)£32 per day£30 per day£27 per day£26 per day

Alternative 2 – Dog Daycare

Dog daycare centres offer fun and activities for dogs during the day; almost all of them have a field, large grassy area or other space for dogs to play in, while some even have paddling pools and training areas.

Many daycare centres offer pickup and dropoff services for local customers, and you don’t even need to be in as you can leave a key with them.

Daycare centres might not be suitable for all dogs, and those that show signs of aggression are usually refused. Some nervous or anxious dogs get on just fine in dog daycare, while others find it stressful; it all depends on the dog.

Dog daycare centres can work as a viable alternative to kennels if you can make plans from someone to spend some time in the evening with your dog; this could be a pet sitter or a relative, for example.

What’s the Difference Between a Dog Kennel and Daycare Centre?

The big difference is socialisation as most of the dogs at the centre will be regulars who spend at least a few days there each month. Most of the dogs will get to know each other, and the focus is on fun and activities.

At dog kennels, the dogs will spend most of the time in their enclosure, and while they may come out for walks and some games in a field, the focus isn’t so much on socialisation.

As the name suggests, dog daycare centres offer daytime care, while kennels offer 24 hours of care.

In kennels, dogs don’t need to get along well with other dogs as there’s a degree of separation, while at a daycare centre, dogs that are aggressive to other dogs aren’t usually accepted.

Here is the average dog daycare cost in the UK, these prices include local pickup and drop off.:

Item:London (central):South:Midlands:North:
Dog Daycare£38 per day£33 per day£25 per day£23 per day

Alternative 3 – Professional Dog Walkers and Sitters

This option is suited to dogs that don’t like new surroundings and/or dislike other dogs.

We recently looked into how much professional dog walkers charge in the UK, and we discovered that many of them offered extra services such as pet sitting.

A typical pet sitting service offered by a dog walker will consist of one to three visits a day and between 15 and 30 minutes of time with your dog during each visit.

The sitter will feed the dog if required, change the water bowl, let your pet out into the garden and play games too.

If you have a friend or relative who can spend some time with your dog in the evening, there’s no reason why you can’t also use the services of a professional dog walker and sitter during the day. Combining the two is a viable alternative to dog kennels, especially for dogs that are older and/or get stressed in a new environment.

For more information about dog sitting and professional dog walking fees, go check out our dog walking price guide.

More Dog Content We Think You’ll Love:

Our “All About Dogs” Guide

Statistics, Educational and Fun


When Were These Dog Kennel and Boarding Prices Published?

We sourced prices for dog kennels in 2021, after the final Covid-19 lockdown and published this guide in mid April 2021.

What is the Difference Between Kennels, Boarding, In-Home Boarding, Daycare and Sitting?

Kennels – Dogs are kept in a kennel, each with an enclosed warm area and a connected run, often outside. Dogs are looked after by the staff, fed, watered, taken out to a play area and walked each day.

Boarding – As above, boarding is just another name for kennels.

In-Home Boarding – The dog is kept at someone’s house and is fed, watered, walked and played with just like a dog would be at any normal home.

Daycare – A centre where dogs go for the duration of the day. Most centres will focus on socialisation and play with plenty of exercises, but many will also cater to dogs that are a little anxious and prefer some time away from other dogs. Dogs that can’t tolerate being near other dogs or those who are aggressive generally don’t go to daycare centres. Dogs can be dropped off or picked up at agreed times or the centre may offer a pickup/drop off service.

Sitting/Visits – Someone will come to your home, usually during the day, to feed and water your dog. They will also let your dog into the garden and play games with your pet too. How long each visit lasts is up to you and the sitter but one to three visits a day, lasting between 15 and 30 minutes each visit, is the norm. Depending on your sitter’s availability, a full-day service could be offered.

How Recent Must My Dog's Have Been Vaccinated?

Kennels and daycare centres will want to see evidence of a kennel cough vaccine within the previous 6-12 months (depending on the type of vaccine) and also evidence of a general vaccine against Parvovirus, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis and Distemper.  General vaccines are given to puppies with boosters required every 3 years.

As vaccines take time to become effective, you may need to wait a couple of weeks since the vaccine was administered before you can board or kennel your dog.

Do Dog Kennels Accept Aggressive Dogs?

This depends on the kennel, but dogs that are aggressive to humans aren’t normally accepted at kennels. In contrast, dogs that are aggressive to other dogs might be accepted at some kennels, provided they have facilities and procedures to keep your pet away from other dogs.

Daycare centres generally don’t accept dogs that show any type of aggression, but shy or anxious dogs might be accepted, depending on how they react to being with other dogs on the roster.

Many dogs, even older, anxious or shy ones, can benefit from socialisation, provided it’s done safely.

We suggest speaking to a few kennels/daycare centres and ask about their procedures, perhaps even booking a trial run for a day or two.

What Happens if a Dog Becomes Ill During a Stay at a Kennels?

All good kennels will ask for details of a pet’s insurance policy if they have one and the name, number and address of your preferred vet.

Kennels will also have access to their own vet, who can provide emergency care if required.

My Local Kennel Only Allows Visits at Specific Times - Are They Trying to Hide Something?

Not at all. 

Having strangers walking past the kennels can cause stress to the dogs, so visiting hours are set at specific times.

The dog handlers and staff will also have a schedule for feeding, cleaning, and walking and won’t have the time to do tours at short notice or random times of the day.

Do Dog Kennels Offer Other Services?

In recent years, many dog kennels have diversified and now offer additional services for a fee:

  • Grooming.
  • Dog training.
  • Overnight in-house stays.
  • Extra walks.
  • Facilities for other pets such as cats, mice, snakes etc.