The best dog boarding kennels and catteries in Canberra

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Dogs playing in water at Tara Estate Pet Boarding

Tara Estate Pet Boarding is one of Canberra’s most recommended dog boarding kennels and catteries. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

If you are like most animal lovers, the best holiday is one where your beloved four-legged friend is right beside you. And while Canberra is slowly embracing a paw friendly approach, doing so for the most part remains tricky.

Whether you are taking a weekend coastal break or accumulating some serious flight mileage, chances are that your dear pooch or kitty will need to stay behind. So, what do we make of the options? Family or friends may briefly embrace their call; but lengthy stays are likely to test the relationship.

Enter pet lodgings. Dog boarding kennels and catteries provide a wonderful solution to such a dilemma. Offering accommodation and care for your dogs and cats, these traditional boarding establishments cater to both short and long stays.

That said, leaving fur-babies in the hands of strangers can be a quite daunting! There are loads of concerns from attention, to nourishment, to comfort and security. And we have all heard them – horror stories from times gone by, seeding doubt in our minds.

Thankfully, Canberra is home to some wonderful dog boarding kennels and catteries, offering quality care just as you would do at home. Even better, we have curated a shortlist of the finest care providers in Canberra so please read on below.

What makes a great dog boarding kennel and cattery?

The best boarding facilities are a home away from home for your beloved dog or cat. They provide a stimulating and safe environment to comfortably rest and play while you are away. Here are some tips to help you evaluate whether the lodgings are right for you and your pet:

  • Squeaky clean. The most reputable boarding facilities are squeaky clean. They deploy meticulous hygiene practices and consider this one of their top priorities. Look for facilities which are regularly cleaned and disinfected with products that are sensitive to little paws. Also enquire about pest control to ensure that your loved one will be free of pesky critters. Check that litter is cleaned after each use, and positioned away from feeding and rest areas. Finally, cleanliness should also extend to your pet, with the best boarding facilities offering comprehensive grooming services.
  • Excellent enclosures. The best boarding kennels and catteries are luxurious sanctuaries which cater to every paw pals need. Look for individual lodgings that are spacious, naturally lit, and well ventilated. Moreover, ensure there is ample room for all eat, play, and rest needs. Basics like only mixing cats from the same household; raised bedding; and litter away from food should all be a given. There should also be points of interest, be it a natural setting or toys to keep pets stimulated. Finally, internal lodgings must be supported by climate controls like temperature and humidity to ensure comfort.
  • Next level nutrition. Although you may not be around, you should expect that your dog or cat will be properly nourished. Only consider kennels and catteries that follow the recommended dietary intakes for both dogs and cats. The provision of this sustenance should come in the form fresh protein and produce, tinned or packaged items, as well as snacks and treats. Importantly, all pets should have a permanent supply of clean, fresh water at the ready. The best kennels and catteries will even go so far as to include supplements like probiotics to ensure good health while in their care.
  • Activities aplenty. The best dog kennels and catteries understand that your pet needs daily activity to stay happy, entertained, and healthy. This should include activities within their individual space, such as scratchers, climbers, tunnels and toys, along with outdoor play. Many facilities offer structured times, typically once or twice daily, for play and exercise outside of their individual lodgings. Look for natural surrounds, plenty of grass, and interesting flora to keep them interested on each outing.
  • Super secure. For added peace of mind the best lodgings offer super secure facilities. Individual lodgings must be lockable, along with the broader facility and perimeter. In addition, the best kennels and catteries are fully staffed by a manager and animal attendants during business hours and beyond. For added comfort many also boast on-site residents which are particularly handy in the event of emergency.

The best dog boarding kennels and catteries in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Tara Estate Pet Boarding

As one of Canberra’s oldest and most respected boarding facilities, Tara Estate provides day care and lodgings for both dogs and cats. The team at Tara Estate are all about providing enrichment-based care ensuring ensure physical and mental activeness during your pets stay.

Their impressive facilities include individual accommodation, grooming services, training, and airport transfers. For respected carers and all that you need for your dog and cat under the one roof look to Tara Estate Pet Boarding.

As Frederica Heacock wrote on RiotACT, “Tara at Pialligo is like Disneyland with 10 acres of parkland, trees and a lake.

Monaro Park Dog Boarding

Operated by local couple Josh and Bridget, Monaro Park Dog Boarding have earned a stellar reputation for their care and services. They are passionate about animal welfare and keep an impressive collection of animals on the property themselves!

Natural surrounds are the name of the game, with lodgings located outdoors. An abundance of space, light, and fresh air ensures your pup will be entertained – and exercised – while you are away. For personalised care and attentive service just as you would at home, look to Monaro Park Dog Boarding.

As Eric Yarger shared on Google, Best, boarding service around our dogs love Josh and going to Monaro! Absolutely recommend Monaro Dog Boarding to everyone in Canberra or passing through and need a boarding service!”

Snuggles Pet Resort

Just 20 minutes outside Calwell, Snuggles is dedicated to keeping your animals happy and safe. Noel is very diligent in educating all his dog owners about the conditions in which their pet will be housed and seeks to ensure every pet is well exercised, socialised and fed while staying at Snuggles. Google reviewer Ultra Vanilla says: "I have used Snuggles several times and would not hesitate to recommend them if you are in the Canberra region".

Best Friend Pet Centre

As one of the region’s leading boarding kennels and catteries, Best Friend Pet Centre provides spacious accommodation, tip-top conditions, delicious meals, and quality care for your pet. With separate facilities for both dogs and cats, each lodging is purpose built to cater to their unique set of needs.

Best Friend Pet Centre offers a range of additional services which can be accessed during your dog or cat’s stay including grooming and extra play time. For careful hands and a safe space for your dog and cat look to Best Friend Pet Centre.

Richard Keegan had this to say about Best Friend Pet Care on Google, “We have used Best Friends a lot over the years. The dogs seem to have a great time and come back happy and tired. The staff seem really soft on them to!”

There’s a lot that comes with providing the best care for your pet. Check out our articles on the best dog groomers, the best vets, the best emergency after-hours vets, the best dog trainers, the best pet shops and pet supplies and the best pet insurance for more helpful information on Canberra’s best pet services.

If you’re interested in finding somewhere for your pet to stay whilst you’re on holiday, our articles on Canberra’s best dog walkers and pet sitters and best doggy daycares may be helpful.

And if you’re looking to adopt another furry friend, our article on the best places for rescue dogs in Canberra may be of interest to you.

Your experience with dog boarding kennels and catteries in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the dog boarding kennels and catteries listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare my dog or cat for boarding?

To ensure your dog or cat is best prepared for boarding considering taking a few extra precautions ahead of time. Firstly, ensure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations and treatments. If currently sleeping with you, consider adjusting to self-sleep. Moreover, a familiar object or toy to bring along on their say may provide comfort. Finally, plan to drop and depart in the morning to allow your dog or cat ample time to adjust to their surrounds before bed. Where possible, a boarding trial may also help.

How old must my dog or cat be before it is accepted for boarding?

Generally, dogs or cats need to be at least 5 months old before being accepted for boarding at kennels or catteries. Always check with your boarding house to be clear on their specific requirements.

What vaccinations are required prior to boarding?

Typically, all boarding kennels and catteries will require your pet to be up to date with all annual vaccinations with a C5 for dogs and F3/4 for cats. It is also recommended that vaccines must be completed at least two weeks prior to boarding commencement. For specific advice please consult your boarding facility.

How much does boarding cost?

Boarding rates do vary and are subject to the nature of facilities and services offered and of course seasonality. Standard daily boarding rates can start from approximately $30 and go upwards of $70.

Do dog and cat boarding facilities need to be licensed?

Yes. In the ACT any dog or cat boarding facility must hold a multiple dog keeper or cat licence as issued by Domestic Animal Services.

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I know this is a thread is a little old, but I would like to also recommend Dog’otel in Hall. I have a Pitt Bull who is very energetic and a bit needy. Kel and Fran understand his needs, don’t have a preconceived idea about him and are very comfortable with him. This leads to a stress free stay for everyone. They are also reasonably priced and the dogs get to run around daily as part of the cost.

When I went back to the UK for Christmas last year, I engaged the services of Karin Dirix who owns zoohaus:
She attended the house twice a day to feed, walk and play with the dogs. She kept me regularly updated with photos via email as to the status of my two white fluffy dogs.
She is very reasonably priced at $50 per day which included morning and afternoon visits for the boys, plant watering, rubbish removal, mail collection etc.
And the dogs adored her (which is pretty important). Highly recommended.

Another option is also for a house/pet sitter. I’m a registered House/pet sitter with and

Leaving your pets can be stressful as it is, but at least a house/pet sitter can look after your pets in their environment reducing some of the separation anxiety a pet might get. Plus you have someone living in your house which acts as a deterant for thieves, someone to bring in your mail, take out the bins, and more time spent with your pet.

Generally it’s a win-win situation – you get the peace of mind that someone is looking after your pets and your house, and the house/pet sitter has somewhere to live (rent/bills free) and the company of your pet. For me, I’m saving for a home loan deposit and not having to pay rent is helping me reach that goal quicker, plus I get ideas for what I do and don’t want in my future house, get a feel for the different areas in Canberra (even though I was born and raised here) and have had the company of some amazing animals.

shena said :

Is there any reason that you dont wish to use a petsitter?
I have found a brilliant service in the past.
Critters and owners happy.

I think these kinds of services are fine if you have a pet that’s used to being alone most of the time and is happy with a short walk and feed.

Is there any reason that you dont wish to use a petsitter?
I have found a brilliant service in the past.
Critters and owners happy.

I wasn’t happy with any of the kennel options for my pooch and didn’t want him at home by himself all day with someone popping over once a day to feed and walk him so I contacted one of the foster/rescue groups who specialise in his breed and asked if there were any carers in Canberra who could take him. They put me in contact with a fabulous woman and George now stays with her whenever I travel. $40 a night – best money I could spend because I know he loves it there.

Madam Cholet3:27 pm 08 Dec 13

Just to update our link since I can’t edit old posts. We have opened boutique dog boarding services, 100% supervision, play and pats, personalized attention (only four dogs at any time, no cages). Your dogs will be treated as family pets:

Don’t fret pet is half the price offered than here and I think that’s still expensive. They offer only one dog cared for at a time and looked after as the home owners own.

zllauh said :

Just driving out of Watson on the Federal highway, there is one on the left hand side.

Hope it helps.

That’s Bendora. They don’t protect cats from the elements in the back sheds. My cat nearly died of cold there a few years ago.

I have tryed Furfaces for dog minding at our place. They were very pleasant and even collected our mail and watered plants. Prices were very competitive for in home service.

Just driving out of Watson on the Federal highway, there is one on the left hand side.

Hope it helps.

Muttsybignuts12:02 pm 13 May 13

We had a less than stellar experience with Canberra Boarding Kennels last year. We were going overseas on holidays and boarded our 2 dogs ( Husky and Akita) with them. The owners, who we met when inspecting the kennels seemed great however they were also going on holidays and were using a friend to run the kennels.
When we dropped the dogs off, we mentioned our concern with the latches on the dog run since Huskys are renowned escape artists however the person was very confident that nothing could escape.
2 weeks later, upon our return we found out that the dogs had indeed escaped from their run ( which only let them into a common area, not into the wilds) on the very first day. The Manager was apparently unable to coax them back into the run and called a friend of ours who we had left details for as an emergency, to come and help get them back into the run.
When our friend arrived the Manager promptly said she was evicting the dogs and my friend was left with 2 big dogs with their owners overseas. Luckily for us, our friend returned our dogs to our home and went around twice a day to feed/walk them.
So, due to poor management, we wont be recommending Canberra Boarding Kennels any time soon!

BlueCollarGal11:43 am 13 May 13

Canberra Country Kennels, Wickerslack Lane, Queanbeyan

Great free-roaming for dogs, dams to swim in, bathing for after swimming in dams. Costs extra for some things, but they are treated like they the kennel owner’s own pets.

Have been using them now for 14 years, if that is any kind of endorsement for you

thebrownstreak6911:08 am 13 May 13

Try the one on the road to Bungendore, I’ve heard they’re pretty good.

Definitely not the one out past Eaglehawk, left my cat with them for a week a few years ago, they lost it and tried to replace it with a cat that looked nothing like mine.

We (and our dogs) like the Dog’otel in Hall.

They book out for Christmas very early though (not sure when you’re looking for) but I’d contact sooner rather than later if I were you.

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