How to start & run a dog boarding business

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are a dog lover in need of a business venture, then you might consider starting a dog boarding business. Provide a safe and fun place for people to board their dogs while they are away. Focus on creating a place where dogs will be comfortable so that owners will not have to worry about them while away. To start and run a dog boarding business you will need a large enough space to accommodate the dogs you will board. This will require an area that they can run around in, shelter and a place to sleep.

Research your business idea carefully to determine the market for a dog boarding business. Identify any existing competition within your market. Brainstorm ideas to create a business that would allow you to compete. Develop a marketing strategy based on those ideas.

Write a detailed business plan based on your research and planning. Define your business goals in a well thought out mission statement. Describe your business in detail. Provide information about the location, boarding set-up for the dogs, supplies you would need such as food, water, food and water dishes, leashes, fencing, dog beds, and financial projections for your first year in business. Write an analysis of the market and competition, and lay out a marketing strategy that would allow you to compete. Attach any documents at the end that will be necessary for you to form the business.

Fill out and file a business and tax registration form as well as any other necessary forms at the local, state and federal level to establish your business. As a dog boarding business, you may be subject to local and state regulations. Consult your local and state authorities for specific requirements for your area.

Meet with a local insurance agent to set up an insurance package for your business. Considerations for a dog boarding business will include injuries to dogs that are in your care, injuries to customers while on your property, and damage to your property. The insurance agent will be able to advise you of your options. Be sure to provide the agent with specific details about your business so that every aspect is covered.

Locate your business in a more rural area where there is space to provide adequate dog runs for each of your boarders. Set several separate runs so that each dog can have an individual space to run and play in. Fencing and gates will be necessary to set up adequate runs. You will also need kennels to provide shelter and a bedding area for each dog. A large barn with separate sectioned off areas will be a cosy space for your boarders to stay. Attach the dog runs off of each sheltered area so that the dogs may go in and out on their own accord. It will be a satisfying arrangement for your boarders and their families who have to leave them behind while on vacation or a business trip.

Advertise your dog boarding business in your local newspapers. Post flyers on community notice boards and in local veterinary clinics if they will allow it. Join your local chamber of commerce to take advantage of the collective advertising resources they offer.


Provide your boarders with a special going away package to take home after their visit. Include dog treats and toys. Have a custom toy made for your business by a local craft person and include it in the bag as a signature gift.


Be sure that you are fully insured prior to boarding any dogs.

Things You'll Need

  • Business plan
  • Legal/tax documents
  • Insurance
  • Property
  • Shelter/runs for dogs
  • Advertising
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About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.