Older dogs: the kennel guide

Looking after our dogs is important, which is why dog boarding kennels are a regulated environment in which standards must be met so your dog feels safe and comfortable.

Summer has arrived and many of us might be considering taking a short (or long!) break away from home. If you are leaving your dog behind while you are on your travels, then it’s best to be prepared by booking a dog kennel so you have peace of mind that your canine buddy is in safe hands while you are away. You may already have a trusted dog kennel in mind that you always reach for, but as dogs get older we should be routinely checking the facilities to ensure that they are accommodating any limited mobility.

From dog kennel regulations to assessing facilities, we take a look at some features of a boarding kennel that you should be looking out for when booking your pooch in.

Dog kennel license regulations

Canine boarding kennels must provide a suitable environment for your dog to live in. This means that the room provided for them must be kept separate from other dogs (if needed) and must not be any sort of outbuilding such as a garage, shed or conservatory.

In accordance with licensing regulations, here are some rules that dog kennels should have in place when your pooch stays over with them:

Sleeping arrangements

Your dog should always have access to their own sleeping area and even their own kennel unit (unless sharing with another dog from the same household). Senior dogs don’t fare well in a dog fight, so their own space is essential.

Sufficient space

A reasonable amount of space is needed for your dog to be able to sit and stand at full height, lie down and fully stretch as well as wagging their tail and fully walking around.


They should be having at least one daily walk outside their kennel. Older dogs may require specific walking arrangements, make sure you let the boarding kennels know this.


Your dog should have access to toys. Toys help to keep them psychically and mentally stimulated. In older dogs it is important to keep them mentally charged, try packing a few puzzles that your dog can keep themselves entertained with. Check with current COVID-19 restrictions that you are able to pack these.

How to accommodate your dog

As our dogs get older and begin to change so does their health and energy levels. You may have a dog kennel in mind that has suited their needs for a while… and they probably still do now! But to make sure you both have a comfortable stay; it is best to review the facilities to ensure they are kept happy and healthy while you are gone.

Check the temperature

Is it too hot? Too cold? The temperature at the boarding kennel should be at a comfortable level for your dog to keep them happy and calm. Is there enough sunlight? Are there areas of shade in case it gets too hot?

Plenty of space to relax

Are there enough facilities at the kennel for your dog to escape and relax to?


Has their sleeping area got any obstacles where they would need to step up and step down from? Arthritic dogs ideally need a sleeping area that can be accessed with ease.

Feeding times

How often will food be provided to your dog? Is it a similar routine that you have at home? If your dog has any specific senior pet food, this should be packed for them.

First Aid

Do they have a first aid veterinary area just in case your dog gets hurt? Are their vets qualified?


Senior dogs may often come with existing medicine. Find out how the kennel currently administers any prescriptions to dogs.

What does your dog need to do?

Once you have found a suitable holiday home for your pooch, your dog needs to be assessed by the kennel. This is to check whether they are scared or anxious around other dogs or in a new environment and to make sure they can access the toilet or an area to hide away if they don’t want to see any other dogs or people.

Here’s what you can do to prepare you and your dog for their kennel stay:

  • Keep them up to date with vaccinations
  • Pack their favourite blanket and toy (If current COVID-19 guidelines allow you to)
  • Give the kennel some contact details of the place you are staying while you are away
  • Let them know of any medicines that need to be administered.

Looking for more dog advice?

Find the information you need as we support you through every step of your journey with your canine companion.


Need dog insurance?

Dog insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your dog gets injured or falls ill.


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