A dog joyfully playing with a ball in a kennel.

Are Kennels Bad for Dogs?


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There may be a point in your pet parenting journey where you’ll need to consider putting your pup in a dog kennel. Maybe when you’re going away on holiday or a business trip. For many pet parents, this conjures up images of dog cages and overcrowded conditions.

Luckily, not all kennels are the same and there are several options for your pup. Let’s talk about the pros and cons …

A grey dog standing in a cage at a dog kennel.

Why a dog kennel?

First off, when we’re talking about kennels in this context, we’re talking about places that take care of dogs when their owners are away – not the wooden house you may have in your backyard.

Kennels are pet boarding facilities with separate spaces for each dog to stay in. There are plenty around, the real test is finding one where your dog will be healthy, well socialised and safe at all times.

The pros of dog kennels

Good kennels will have an area where dogs can roam and pay. The staff at the kennel will feed your dog, give them water, and make sure they’re taken care of. If your dog needs medication or has special dietary needs, you can usually arrange for that too.

When it comes to the kennels vs pet sitters debate, people may choose a kennel for several reasons:

They may be cheaper

It may ultimately be cheaper to pay a daily fee to leave your pup at a kennel than getting in a pet sitter each day. Because kennels take in several dogs at a time, they’re able to charge lower fees.

However, if you are keen on in-home care, read our article: How to Find a Good Pet Sitter.

No strangers in your home

With a kennel, you don’t have to worry about giving someone access to your house while you’re away. Some people feel more comfortable with this setup.

A person is playing with a dog in the grass.

It’s urgent

You might need to leave home in a pinch and haven’t had time to properly vet a pet sitter to come to your home. Taking your pet to a reputable kennel could very well be the best option if you have limited time.

Professional care

Kennels are usually run by people who are trained in pet care. They know how to handle different dog breeds, personalities, and even emergencies. It’s their job to look after pets, so they’re usually pretty good at it.

Structure and routine

Kennels often have a set routine for feeding, walks, and playtime. This can be reassuring for dogs who thrive on a consistent schedule.

Socialising opportunities

If your dog loves hanging out with other dogs, a kennel can be great. They’ll get to play and interact with other pups. It’s like a little doggy day care social club!

Two dogs exercising in the grass without walking, at a dog kennel that's not bad for them


Some kennels have awesome facilities like large play areas, agility courses, and comfy sleeping quarters. It can be a bit like a mini vacation for your dog.


Kennels are designed to be secure and safe for pets. You shouldn’t have to worry about your dog accidentally getting out or getting into things they shouldn’t at home.

Health monitoring

If your dog has health issues, kennel staff are trained to administer medications and monitor their health. In a kennel, there’s usually someone around most of the time, which can be reassuring.

A playful black poodle frolicking with cones in the grass near a dog kennel.

Why not a dog kennel?

With that said, badly run kennels have added to the negative impression that some may have about dog kennels, which is that they’re inhumane, dirty, or loud places that will traumatise your dog.

Unfortunately, this could be true for some kennels. This is why it’s so important to pay a visit to any pet boarding facility you intend to send your pup to.

The cons of dog kennels

Your dog should never be confined in a crate or cage for an unnecessary amount of time. Imagine the impact that will have if this happens and it’s also a sub-standard kennel…

Here are some other dog kennel hazards to look out for:

Lack of personal attention

In some kennels, especially if they’re super busy or understaffed, your dog might not get much one-on-one attention. Dogs, like us, need love and interaction; without it they can get lonely or stressed.

Too much confinement

If a kennel doesn’t have enough space or the dogs don’t get out much, they might spend too much time cooped up in a run or dog cage. This can be tough for active or social dogs who need room to play and explore.

Not-so-great conditions

Unfortunately, not every kennel is super clean or well-maintained. Poor conditions in dog cages can lead to stress and health issues for dogs.

Risk of illness

When a bunch of dog cages are in close quarters, there’s a chance of catching something, like kennel cough or parvo. If the kennel isn’t on top of health checks or cleanliness, the risk goes up.

Stressful for some dogs

Some dogs just don’t do well in a kennel environment. They might be scared of new places, not keen on being around lots of other dogs, or really miss their humans. For these pups, staying in a kennel can be pretty stressful.

Not enough exercise

Dogs need to stretch their legs and burn off energy. If a kennel doesn’t provide enough playtime or walks, dogs can get restless or even a bit down. It’s like being stuck inside all day with nothing to do.

A doberman pinscher running in a grassy field.

One size fits all approach

Some kennels might use a cookie-cutter approach to care, not considering each dog’s individual needs or personality. What works for one dog might not work for another and without personalised care some dogs won’t have the best experience.

Lack of proper supervision

If the staff aren’t trained well or there aren’t enough eyes on the dogs, things can get chaotic or even unsafe. Proper supervision is key to prevent fights, accidents, or other issues.

Noise and chaos

Kennels can be noisy places with all the barking and activity. For some dogs, especially the more anxious ones, this can be overwhelming and stressful.

This dogs owner isn't sure how to stop a dog from barking

So … are kennels bad for dogs?

Our conclusion?

Bad kennels are bad for dogs.

Good kennels can be good for your dog if they have the right personality for it.

If you do your homework properly, there are some wonderful dog kennels you can find to temporarily home your pet while you’re away. As mentioned, it’s important to pay the kennel a visit or go on several trusted recommendations.

Be sure to read our piece “Pet Boarding: What It Costs and What to Consider” for top tips on choosing the right pet boarding facility for your pup.

And remember, your pup is an individual – only you can decide whether a kennel would be bad for them or not!

Pet insurance can help ease the holiday worry

We wouldn’t be pet parents if we didn’t worry about them while we were gone. Pet insurance can step in here to help alleviate some of your concerns. With dog insurance or cat insurance in place, you know your pet can get quality treatment quickly and a soft landing if they get sick or injured while you’re enjoying your holiday.

And did you know you’ll receive one or more months of free pet insurance with PD Insurance? Why not get a quick quote now…

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