How DAP Helps Dogs in Kennels

One of the simplest, quickest and easiest ways to calm & reassure dogs and puppies...

DAP diffuser, refill and spray


Boarding Kennels or Dog Hotel?
What is the difference?

The use of words like ‘hotel’, ‘luxury’, ‘deluxe’ and even ’state-of-the-art’ are used by standard kennels, and even by the most dreadful of kennels.

Naturally, this makes life very confusing for dog owners looking for better kennels via the web. Not only do you have to look through a lot more websites, but just finding something that meets the highest standards can be time-consuming.

We make it easy for you to tell the difference for yourself!


Dog Hotels have ROOMS/SUITES

Dog Hotels have large, light ROOMS or SUITES

mimicking the home environment and:

  • Size:
    over 8ft x 8ft (2.4m x 2.4m) for both sleep and exercise areas.

  • Full-height walls (to the ceiling):
    Solid-built walls (brick/block/stone) at full height to the ceiling provide privacy, a quieter, safe/secure feeling, and a reduction in noise/smells/transmission between rooms.

  • Human height doors into sleep and run:
    Full/part glass doors into the sleep area and into the outer area, meaning staff can interact with the dog in both sleep and run areas, turning it into a play area especially on wet/cold days.
    The doors need to be human height as you can't play or move with a dog into both areas when there is only a dog hatch to crawl through).

    Even more luxurious rooms will also have windows (providing much more light and a connection to the outside world).

This creates a quiet, calm, balanced environment, feels secure, is spacious, and lets in lots of natural light.

Rooms: have one sleep area room + 1 exercise area room.
Suites: have at least 1 sleep area room + 1 exercise area room + 1 external exercise area.

Dog hotels are likely to have fewer dogs (perhaps just 5 - 15 rooms), and therefore providing a more tailored and personal service.

If a dog hotel has 15 or less rooms, you will have the benefits of more tailored and personal services, special requests and even quirks can be catered for. The lower number of dogs means much more one-to-one attention that your dog will receive (both inside and outside, perhaps with other dogs if your dog is sociable) and the atmosphere will be calm and quiet.

Larger rooms mean more personal comforting items can be brought from home to help your dog settle in quickly and feel much more at home.

Rooms can also be called Suites, when they have more than two 'sleep' areas plus an 'exercise' (toileting) area. These are usually in the largest, most spacious accommodation,where the main building roof extends over the attached exercise area to insulate, protect and enclose it as another room (rather than an open run without a roof covering).

Rooms/Suites are the closest to a home environment.

Kennels have PENS

Kennels have partially open PENS of over 4ft x 5ft
(1.2m x 1.5m) built with partial walls or panels, with mesh/bars above, and mesh/bar doors.

This creates an open environment where dogs can see, smell and hear everything, which can lead to higher stress and noise.

The higher the walls, the more secure a feeling is created. Active, healthy and confident dogs will fare better in kennels than nervous and more sensitive dogs - who should be boarded separately, ideally in a building or section with similar dogs in smaller numbers, or a separate kennel.

Kennels with no walls should be completely avoided (i.e open chainlink, wire, mesh or bars between kennels where dogs can touch or injure each other, and the risk of injury, disease and stress-induced illnesses will dramatically increase provide no privacy). Extremely stressful and dangerous as the nose-to-nose contact can easily spread disease.

The fewer kennels there are, the lower the stress/noise should be.

Fewer kennels (for example less than 20 kennels) means your dog will receive much more attention than larger facilities (unless they are exceptionally well staffed). We would recommend you choose suitable facilities with fewer kennels whenever possible.



A small, dark, almost totally enclosed area usually of 2 - 4ft (60cm - 1.2m) without windows, dog door/hatch or exercise run, with solid walls/panels/ doors is not a hotel or kennels - it’s a prison.

This is the image that many dog owners have of kennels. I regularly receive emails from dog owners describing kennels as ‘concentration camps’.

Nothing to look at except other barking dogs…?

It’s a prison.

We hope that if nothing else, this website will show you it doesn’t have to be like that.

Depriving dogs of a view and stimulation (other than other barking dogs) will create extremely high levels of frustration, stress, and noise, resulting in depression, lowered immune system and ultimately illness.

If dogs NEVER leave the kennels…?

It’s a prison.

Getting out, spending time with humans/other dogs, sniffing, playing, exploring - in short, being allowed to ‘be’ a dog and express natural behaviours will create more balanced, calm and happier dogs.

Depriving dogs of these basic needs is appalling.

If you use a kennels with such low standards you are keeping these people in business.


If the local authority aren’t doing anything about it
- then you should...

Complain to the kennels, to the licensing officer at your local authority. And then vote with your feet - go somewhere better, and help us stop more dogs from suffering.

How we make it easy for you to check if dogs are imprisoned in kennels

Every kennels with a profile on our website is asked if dogs are taken out of the kennels for exercise. For example:

Dog stretching his legs:

Dogs ARE taken out of kennels during their stay

Dogs ARE NOT taken out of kennels during their stay

No image - unknown

Why is this so important?
Getting a dog out of kennels for exercise is essential for their welfare and one of the easiest ways to provide fresh air, mental stimulation, exercise providing physical wellbeing and a change of scene were dogs can fully use their whole body playing, running, stretching, jumping - being a dog!

Anything else is just a dog prison.

This icon tells you whether dogs are exercised with a member of staff, or not (just left on their own).

Dog chasing a ball that someone has thrown:

Dogs ARE played with or exercised with a person

Dogs ARE NOT played with or exercised with a person

No image - unknown

Why is this so important?
Dogs are sociable creatures and need interaction with us. Being left in an exercise area on your own does not mean exercise! It just usually means barking in frustration or anxiety at any other dogs, causing stress and noise.

Activities with a person engage the dog completely, gets them moving, running, playing, having fun, being stroked and being sociable. It's exactly what they would be doing with you!

We show their answer to these questions, and other important information, when you do a tailor-made search for boarding kennels you’ll see these special icons on every kennels page on our website.

Next article: How To Tell The Difference In Boarding Kennel Standards