Feb 2014 26

Top 5 Dog Boarding Facilities in Vancouver

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We all love our pets, and it's always a great deal of pain to part with them — even if it's just for a few days. To be able to do this, you must go through a lengthy decision process of whether to leave your pet behind at a boarding facility or try to take them with you. Sometimes, the latter option simply isn’t possible, and you have to choose a boarding facility. The following is a list of the best of these surrogate homes your dog can get into, along with all the information, first-hand experiences, and reactions we could collect.

Welcome to Sinburg Kennels CenterWelcome to Sinburg Kennels Center

1. Sinburg Kennels Boarding & Training Resort

Address: 1909 269A St, Aldergrove, Township of Langley, BC
Telephone: 604-783-6191604-783-6191, 604-625-6999604-625-6999

Karen taking the dogs for a walk Sinburg KennelsKaren walking the dogs at Sinburg Kennels

One of my favourite places to board our dog, Fleur, is at Sinburg Kennels Boarding & Training Resort in Aldergrove. The owner, Karen Sinburg, and her staff have been very welcoming to board her as the need arises. The spacious multi-acre ground is wonderful for Fleur and the dogs to play outdoors. Because Fleur is an older dog (12 years), Karen surrounds Fleur with wonderful canine companionship to make her stay most stimulating and enjoyable. I am happy to recommend Karen and her staff to all my clients and friends.


Interior of Sinburg KennelsInterior of Sinburg Kennels

The staff at Sinburg Kennels is extremely experienced. Alex Young, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Registered Small Animal Practitioner, provides her clients and their dogs with a balanced training approach. She has trained hundreds of dogs with astonishing results.

German Shepherd in Sinburg Kennels Boarding and Training Resort by Kevin EngGerman Shepherd in the Sinburg Kennels Boarding and Training Resort 

This 5 acre facility is located only five minutes from the U.S. border crossing and 40 minutes from downtown Vancouver. Each of the nine Kennel Suites is 5 by 8 feet indoors and 5 by 12 feet outdoors, providing your pet with 100 square feet of private space. Each suite has a guillotine door separating the indoor and outdoor space, which is open throughout the day (weather permitting) and closed at night.

Training with Karen in Sinburg KennelsTraining with Karen in Sinburg Kennels

Sinburg offers three different packages to choose from in order to satisfy the needs of her diverse clientele. You can choose a Premium package for $30 per day for active and social dogs, which entails a private indoor and outdoor suite, feeding per owner’s instructions, medication as needed, daily maid service, playground time, private courtyard access, a kennel buddy for those dogs who prefer the company of another solo visitor, and some toys and blankets. The Puppy/Senior package for $37 per day aims at puppies under 12 months of age and seniors over 12 years of age. This package contains all the items from the premium package plus one-on-one daily sessions, and the whole package is highly customizable.

The third option is a VIP package for $45 per day. The package contains all the amenities from the previous packages as well as and daily status updates so you can relax and enjoy your vacation. Sinburg will email or text you daily with an update on your pet and provide photos during your vacation. This package also includes daily tooth brushing. Sinburg also offers multiple-pet discount pricing for dogs sharing a suite from the same family.

Agility with Karen in Sinburg Kennels CenterAgility Training with Karen in Sinburg Kennels Center
Afternoon with dogs training in Sinburg Kennels CenterAfternoon Dog Training in Sinburg Kennels Center
German Shepherds in Sinburg Kennels Boarding and Training ResortGerman Shepherds in Sinburg Kennels Boarding and Training Resort

2. A Dogs Life K9 Centre

Address: 24243 0 Avenue, Langley, BC
Telephone: 604-510-3618604-510-3618

Welcome to Dogs Life K9 CenterA Dogs Life K9 Center Entrance

A Dogs Life K9 Centre has been around since 2009. After working at a local kennel and shelter, owner Kira M’Lot took a dog trainer program and subsequently worked in multiple dog boarding facilities until she opened her own 7200 square foot all-inclusive canine centre.

Kira and Elisha from Dogs Life K9 CenterThe owner Kira and her worker Elyssa from Dogs Life K9 Centre were very welcoming and took the time to show our photographer around the facility

The facility is run on a chain link–free kennel system, and each indoor unit has 6 feet by 18 feet of space. The two side walls are solid, brightly coloured fibreglass-reinforced plastic panels, while the front and back walls are mainly tempered glass so the dogs can see out. 

Happy Dogs from A Dogs Life K9 CenterThere were so many breeds of dogs, and it was a really fun place to be - to see the personality of each dog.

Kira explains:

We specifically designed each kennel run to face a wall rather than across from each other as is the usual kennel setup because the dog across from them may be aggressive or intimidating with their body language. This layout of the runs creates a less stressful environment where the dogs have their own space and privacy.
Small French Bulldog in A Dogs Life K9 CenterKira and her staff were very friendly and showed so much love for the dogs.

Dogs also spend quite a lot of time outside — six times a day in the 8,000 square foot outdoor play yard. The rate for one dog is $30 per day, and the rate for two is $45. This is one of the lower rates, but the facility isn't kennel-free, although it has very high standards of care.

Dogs Lige K9 Centre  Happy Dogs with Kira and ElishaWe were impressed by Kira and Elyssa's friendliness, the friendliness of the dogs, and the overall playful atmosphere of the place

Kira and her staff are highly trained and experienced professionals. Apart from a Dog Trainers Apprenticeship program, Kira attended also many seminars about this field. Kira and Elyssa (who is a BCRPA certified trainer) helped to train some of the dogs who performed in the Superdogs Show at the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition). Everybody in A Dogs Life K9 Centre is certified in Dog First Aid.

Both grils from A Dogs Life K9 Center are working also as the dog trainersKira and Elyssa are both trainers and helped to train some of the dogs who performed in the Superdogs show at the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition).

Sean, a happy client of A Dogs Life K9 Centre shared his experience with us:

We moved to Vancouver a couple of months ago, so we didn’t really know much about the facilities in the region. Our friends from Langley recommended A Dogs Life, so we decided to give them a try. My wife was so impressed when she first returned from the centre that we decided to leave our furry ball with them for the length of our travels. I loved that the facility was truly top-notch, from heated floors with sensors in them, and cleanliness all around.
Dogs in Dogs Life K9 CenterA Dogs Life K9 Centre's Kennels are unique in the Lower Mainland.
They use plexiglass walls in each kennel, as dogs tend to chew the regularly used chain link which may be detrimental to their teeth.

3. Ruff Stuff

Address: 1730 Vernon Drive, Vancouver, BC
Telephone: 604-733-6483604-733-6483, 604-877-8075604-877-8075

Exterior of Ruff Stuff Centre by Kevin EngExterior of the Ruff Stuff Centre

Ruff Stuff has been run by Tracy and Erik since 2003 and includes a team of trained professionals that offer dog-walking, day care, adoption services, and dog boarding. Their love for dogs led them to buy a one-acre fenced property in Squamish they call Ruff Stuff Retreat. Only 45 minutes from Downtown Vancouver, it’s easily accessible and your dogs will love the surroundings.

Tracy Owner at Ruff Stuff With Dogs at Their Squamish RetreatTracy - Owner at Ruff Stuff With Some of the Dogs at Their Squamish Retreat
We both grew up around dogs and enjoy nothing more than to be surrounded by a few of our K9 friends while we're hiking up a mountain trail. We firmly believe in the need to be the pack leader to our own dogs, Honey, Destiny, and Fozzy, and to all the dogs we care for. Dogs are social animals that thrive in a pack setting where the dominance hierarchy is clear, as this promotes harmony within the pack,

write Erik and Tracy on their website.

Interior in Ruff Stuff CenterThe Reception at the Ruff Stuff Center

The free-range setting where the dogs sleep in the house with their keepers is very family-like and creates a very cozy atmosphere. Erik and Tracy often drive around with the dogs a bit so the pets enjoy out-of-retreat hiking trails, the ocean, and the surrounding lakes if they spend more time boarded with Ruff Stuff.

Dogs in Ruff Stuff CenterSome Well Taken Care of Dogs in the Ruff Stuff Center

The rate for one to two Nights is $52 per night. The rate for three to seven Nights is $50 per night. The rates are lower the longer the stay. Each additional dog per household receives 25 per cent off all services.

4. A Capable Dog

Address: 13199 80 Ave, Surrey, BC
Telephone: 778-847-3980778-847-3980

Located within the immediate reach of dog owners from North Surrey, Coquitlam, and the Burnaby area, this boarding service comes highly recommended for its professional skills with all types of dogs. Mary Chaloner-Blair, the owner and head trainer, has 20 years of experience training explosives, narcotics, diabetic alert, and other service dogs as well as a background in competitive and obedience training and behavioral consultation. Mary told us more about how A Capable Dog is run:

I am currently owner/operator of A Capable Dog and because I keep my dog clients to a very manageable minimum of five, the dogs get my utmost attention. I have one staff member who helps me walk them. She is a volunteer with the BCSPCA and has first aid pet training. Really, however, when your dog stays with me, she or he is cared for by me.

Mary is one of the most qualified people to take care of your dog — especially when your loved one may have a bit of a temper or doesn't play well with every dog trainer. She was one of BC’s experts for The Year of Science 2011, talking on The Psychology of Animal Training.

Dogs from Capable Dog Centre Waintig for a BallDogs From the Capable Dog Centre Waiting For a Ball. 
I always say dog boarding is a bit like scuba diving — it's easy until there is a problem. When that happens, you want to know the individual or individuals caring for your now sick or injured pet are experienced, competent, and knowledgeable. I have been working with and training dogs for 20 years and consider myself a true expert in the field of dogs,

added Mary.

The rate for one dog is $38 per day (add $10 if you wish him or her to be included on one-hour hikes) and $65 per day for two dogs (add $15 if you wish them both to be included on one-hour hikes). Mary advised that it’s best to book as early as possible, but she tries to accommodate last-minute clients as well. And what are the activities dogs love the most when staying with Mary?

The dogs really like car rides! If I have a senior dog or one who is stressed, I usually take them with me on errands. They love that 'special' time with me. Feeding time, also another favourite!

5. Release the Hounds

Address: Suite 194 – 3381 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC
Telephone: 604-327-DOGS604-327-DOGS (3647)

Founders Niki Perry and Josh Stevens recognized a need in the pet care industry and established Release the Hounds in the basement of their Vancouver home in 2005. James Woller, the current president of Release the Hounds, recalls why they decided to expand their services to dog boarding as well:

So many clients came to us, as we were a dog walking company and we realized that so many people were looking for what we have been doing back then only occasionally, so we decided to operate dog boarding as a full service.

James explained that their concept is quite unique in the Vancouver area, as their program is based on complete no-kennel care. Release the Hounds is based on three pillars. Firstly, it offers the so-called Dogstatically Happy Guarantee, which basically means that if you’re not happy, you'll get a refund. This speaks a lot about the confidence behind the work of the Release the Hounds staff. Secondly, the company is based on professionalism and safety, and thirdly, customizable services.

We always look for the best fit between the member of staff and a dog. If a dog is more challenging, we don’t put him into the environment with other dogs. The dogs go straight to the families with us. Right now, a dog named Shomba is staying with my family, and does everything with me. I go for a run, so does Shomba. I drive to work, Shomba goes with me, and in the afternoon goes home with me again, has dinner with my family,

explains James.

Release the Hounds also thinks it’s very important to keep as many things constant for the dog as possible. The staff asks the owners about all the idiosyncrasies to keep the dogs happy and not disrupted. If the owner takes them out three times a day, the person who’s taking care of the dog will do the same.

Dogs from Release the HoundsHappy Dogs From the Release the Hounds Facebook Page.
Unfortunately, our photographer wasn't admitted to the facility.

The rate for one to two nights is $52 per night, or $77 per night for two dogs. The rate for three to seven nights is $50 per night, or $75 per night for two dogs. The rates are lower the longer the stay. Regular dog walking customers also enjoy lower fares. James also rightly pointed out that as soon as you’re looking to book your tickets, you need to look to book your dog. Busy times at Release the Hounds are March Break and Christmas.

Be Careful

Many dog owners contacted us and shared their experience with some of Vancouver's dog boarding facilities. Based on their input, we'd have serious concerns about leaving our own dog at Dog Taxi Vancouver (see comments). While we like the idea of free range uncaged dogs, we recommend to read other reviews of Dog Taxi Vancouver carefully before sending your dog there.

Feel free to leave a comment with your positive or negative experience, and help us to create a useful list for all pet owners around Vancouver.

Meet the Photographer

Kevin Eng

Kevin Eng

Kevin's passion for photography has encouraged others to see the splendor and beauty of nature right at their doorstep, as he captures the sights of the day, and colors and mystery of world while it sleeps. Many of the subjects of his work are based locally in his hometown in Vancouver, B.C, where he first discovered his fascination with night photography. Kevin is a currently working as a music teacher, music director for his church, and landscape photographer.


2 Responses to “Top 5 Dog Boarding Facilities in Vancouver”

  1. Karen Munro


    Please take a look at our business as we have become the favorite boarding facility for the city and North Shore dogs over the last 8 years.

    We run a dog shuttle 5 days a week to 3 different locations in the city and the North Shore. We’re also a full service business offering Board ‘n’ Train by a Certified Master Trainer, a professional groomer and we have a Registered Vet Tech on staff to help oversee the dogs health.

    The property is 5 acres of forest and trails in the Bowen Valley so the dogs get lots of daily outdoor time which creates a happy and healthy environment for them.

    Karen Munro

  2. Fredrick De Zilwa

    I am travelling abroad for 18 days and need a dog boarding facility which offers loving care and comfort for my dog breed maltese/papillon. Can you send me your rates for the entire period.


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