So, you’ve developed an interest in keeping pets in your home or on your property. Perhaps you’ve worked as a dog walker or pet sitter in the past. Who wouldn’t enjoy working with animals? They always seem so grateful for any love and care you provide. If you’re considering opening a doggy daycare or an overnight boarding business (or a combo of both), you’ve probably chosen the best time to do so. Recent data shows that pet parents spent a whopping $99 billion on their fur babies in 2020 alone.
First, you’re going to need the facility to house your furry clients. Even if you run a daycare or boarding business from your home, you’re likely going to want to build some type of structure for their housing. You’ll want to make sure this facility has a concrete floor so that you can easily clean up after a stay. You’ll need kennels and cages for your clients, although you can opt to build these cages into your facility. You’ll need food and water bowls, dog beds, cleaning supplies, and food and treats as well. Some kennels will offer splash pools and play areas as well. You’ll want to make sure there is adequate cooling and heating within the facility, too. Some facilities offer televisions on site (think 24/7 viewings of “DogTV”) and you may want to purchase streaming webcams that will allow pet parents to see their pups at any time.
Let’s take a look at your facility. You’ll need a building that offers enough space for your guests, a personal kennel, and a dog run. The building should be wired for heating and cooling, and it should be on a level, concrete floor. You’ll want access to a water hose so that you can wash out the kennels daily.
You’ll want to decide exactly what type of items to keep in each kennel. You’ll want a dog bed and food and water bowls in each kennel. The dog bed itself should aid in your dog’s health and not just functional – visit this article from The Pampered Pup to help guide you on choosing the ideal dog bed for your dog’s traits and lifestyle. When choosing food bowls, it is best to select metal bowls that will stand up to chewing as well as typical wear and tear. Plus, metal bowls are easy to clean between guests.
You’ll want a place to store food; some choose large plastic containers with a lid so that food will be fresh. You’ll also want a place to store towels, cleaning supplies, and waste bags.
You’ll need to keep extra leashes for your guests. Invest in durable leashes that will withstand powerful pups that like to pull and that can’t be chewed through easily.
One investment that you probably don’t really consider is a first aid kit, but when caring for other’s pets, a first aid kit that can serve both humans and dogs is ideal. Although accidents are unlikely, it is always a good idea to be prepared for an emergency.
Some kennel owners also advise new kennel managers to invest in an air purification system. One of the biggest complaints most pet parents lodge is that boarding facilities smell. An air purification system can help with this problem, and it may set your facility apart from others.
Let’s talk about toys and activities for your guests. If you have the room, setting up an agility course with a few other puppy playthings could really ramp up your business. Most boarding facilities offer dog walking during their stay, but having the ability to provide Fido with a fun place to play will definitely bring repeat customers. You can set up a pole run fairly cheaply. Pick up a small plastic kiddie pool for very warm days; you can also alternate putting sand in one of these sturdy pools for digging play. An A-frame toy can also be fun for pups that love to climb. You can also put a piece of PVC pipe in the ground, drill a hole into the pipe, run a rope through, and tie a ball or toy to the rope for dogs that love to play tug of war.
You may also want to consider installing video cameras so that pet parents can see their fur babies at any time. You’ll want to choose live streaming webcams that pet parents can access easily. This will help to boost patron confidence, and it can bring you more business in the future.
Installing a television or two in the line of vision of the dogs may also serve to add to their happiness. Channels such as DOGtv can be played for your guests 24/7, and you may also choose to play “soothing” images that help pups relax. Many dogs are nervous about being away from home, especially if it is the first time to do so. Having a television there can help to keep Fido distracted and entertain him too.
Other items that you might want to consider for your doggy daycare or boarding facility should include towels, waste bags, and an on-site refrigerator. Towels are always a necessary item in a doggy daycare or boarding facility. Towels are necessary when you offer wading pools for your daycare or boarding facility. Plus, if you need to bathe a dog in your care, you’ll need towels. Sometimes you may need towels for everyday cleaning. Waste bags are important as well. While you may be able to wash away some waste in the kennels, if your patrons use the play area, you’ll need waste bags for clean-up. Finally, you may need a refrigerator to store food or even medications for patron dogs.
Getting a doggy daycare or boarding business going may take some planning, but it is a business that is not only profitable but also rewarding.