Note: Pet Educate is reader supported. If you make a purchase through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission - at no extra cost to you. This includes links to Amazon.

Do You Tip Dog Boarders? [Is It Expected Of You?]

If you are boarding your dog for the first time, you may be wondering if you are expected to tip and, if so, just how much you should give. Today, we will look at when it is appropriate to tip for boarding, how much you may want to tip, and other questions that often surround showing gratitude for boarding services.

So, do you tip dog boarders? Traditionally, dog boarders do not expect their clients to tip them for their services. While tips by owners are not expected, some owners will tip from time to time or on special occasions. You may choose to tip your boarding kennel out of personal preference or in certain situations that merit extra thanks for your boarding kennel’s care.

This puts us in a good position really.

It allows us to reward particularly helpful and accommodating kennels, without feeling obliged to so do.

With this all in mind, let us explore the tipping process in much greater detail.

And if you keep reading until the end, you’ll know exactly how to approach this often confusing and puzzling form of generosity.

Should I Tip The Boarding Kennel?

Tipping your boarding kennel is a personal preference that will depend on your boarding experience and your budget. Receiving a tip as a kennel worker is not uncommon but is not a requirement for a stay at a kennel.

If you do not tip your boarding kennel, you will not be thought of as rude or ungrateful, and sometimes a heartfelt thank you can be just as meaningful.

With that in mind, many people still choose to tip their boarding kennel after their dog’s stay.

Tipping is a way to show thanks for a job well done.

If you frequent a kennel and they consistently take excellent care of your dog, you may want to tip them from time to time.

Many people will tip their boarding kennel for stays around holidays or for times where they accommodate special requests outside of normal boarding care routines.

Do Dog Boarders Expect To Be Tipped?

Tipping at boarding kennels is a somewhat regular occurrence in most places but is viewed by boarding staff as entirely optional.

Dog boarders do not require tips from owners in order to meet their main income needs.

Most large-scale kennel workers are paid an agreed-upon hourly wage.

A private dog sitter who comes to your home or runs a small boarding operation on their own will set rates that help them meet their desired level of income.

Research into several mainstream doggy daycare and boarding facilities indicates that while tips are certainly not expected, they can be appreciated and are often pooled and split evenly among kennel staff.

This means that even if you give a tip to one kennel worker, all the workers who helped take care of your animal will receive some of the tip incentives.

Dog boarders make their living based on the rates charged upfront for their services, but their job isn’t considered high paying in comparison to many other fields of work.

The occasional tip shows workers both appreciation for their dedication and can help them with unexpected expenses or during holidays where personal costs increase.

How Much Should You Tip Your Dog Boarder?

If you choose to tip your dog boarder or pet sitter, 15% of the cost of the board is a safe standard amount. For long stays, boarding fees can get quite high. If 15% of the fee is not in your budget, then tipping a set amount such as $10 per night of boarding is also a great choice.

In the end, any amount you tip and give with honest gratitude will be appreciated regardless of size.

The price you pay for dog boarding will vary depending on where you stay, the services or extra care options your dog may have, such as additional walks or grooming sessions, and the length of your stay.

For this reason, giving a percentage-based tip allows you to give an amount that is a reflection of the work put into caring for your dog.

Some owners may choose to tip but not be able to afford a full 15% of their boarding fees.

Because tipping is considered optional, don’t lose sleep over not being able to afford a large tip.

Instead, plan an amount that fits your budget and reflects your thankfulness for your dog’s comfort and safety while you were away.

When tipping for my own dogs’ boarding, I often add $5 per night per dog and then extra amounts if they received grooming services or extra care outside of standard feeding and exercise.

I live on a budget and want to give monetary thanks but not break the bank, and this system works well for our household.

Do You Tip Dog Boarders Every Time?

If you wish to leave a tip for boarding, it is common to tip after most overnight stays. For many owners, dog boarding is a rare once or twice a year occurrence -sometimes even less often. If this is the case for you, and you wish to tip, leaving a tip after each overnight stay makes sense. If your dog is doing daytime boarding at doggy daycare while you work, you may choose instead to do a weekly or monthly tip.

Even if you do not tip your dog boarder after most stays, there may be times that tipping is a nice gesture.

If you frequently board over the holidays, if your kennel goes beyond its normal responsibilities to do something thoughtful for you or your dog, or your dog has more care needs than normal, a tip could be considered.

Tips are also a nice incentive if a boarding facility takes on your dog at the last minute due to changes in your travel plans.

When To Tip Your Dog Boarder

The best time to tip your dog boarding kennel is when you pick up your dog after a stay. Once you have reunited with your dog and see that they are happy and healthy, you can add a tip to your boarding payment.

If you tip when you drop your dog off, it may imply that you are trying to ask for special or preferred treatment for your dog in your absence, even if that certainly isn’t what you mean!

Tipping during a stay is not typical as most people are busy with whatever activity took them away from home.

Tipping after your dog’s stay shows that you are thankful for what has been done for your dog and the peace of mind your boarding kennel gave you while you were away.

When You May Want To Tip Your Dog Boarder More

You may want to tip your dog boarder more than normal if they agree to watch your dog on short notice, if they tend to unexpected medical needs that are not the result of their care, if your dog shows aggression while being boarded, or if they have agreed to meet special accommodation requests such as feeding special diets, specified playtimes, or other above-standard care agreements without extra charges.

Dog boarding facilities plan their schedules and staffing in advance of normally busy periods such as holidays and summertime when people are vacationing.

When they take on extra dogs at the last minute, it could require them to adjust staff numbers and duties with little notice.

When a facility meets your last-minute need with a pleasant smile and welcoming arms for your dog, you might consider an extra tip.

Sometimes dogs get ill or injured unexpectedly.

While any quality boarding facility should strive to provide excellent medical care for a sick or injured dog, a facility that gives extensive care for a dog who falls ill from something not related to their boarding experience is deserving of a tip for their work.

An aggressive dog can put boarding kennel staff at physical risk. Many facilities will not take dogs with known aggression issues; ones that do are worth their weight in gold.

Dogs that are not friendly towards other dogs also require exercise time alone and sometimes special housing.

This can mean that a facility has to change its normal daily routine to accommodate your dog’s behavior.

Some dogs unexpectedly don’t do well in boarding facilities and may show aggression as a result of fear or stress.

If your boarding kennel reports aggression from your dog but has still provided quality service with care and empathy, a tip is smart.

A dog boarder that is willing to meet requests for special walk times, specific forms of exercise, or other specialized needs is an amazing find.

A tip can show thanks for these careful considerations of your dog’s needs.

How To Pay Your Dog Boarder A Tip

How you pay your dog boarder a tip will depend on the relationship you have with the boarder and the way you normally pay for their services. If you have a close relationship with a small business or private dog boarding facility, you may want to give your tip as cash in a face-to-face exchange. If your dog has been boarding at a larger facility or under the care of a large staff, adding a tip to the form of payment you used to pay for your fees works well.

If you are unsure of the best way to give a money tip, consider the way you pay for your services when you aren’t tipping.

Do you use a credit card?

If so, simply adding a tip to your receipt will get the job done.

If you normally pay with cash or check, you can add a tip to your payment amount and include a note of thanks so that your boarder knows what the purpose of the added pay is.

If you are worried that a cash tip may not be well received, or if your facility has policies against employees accepting cash tips, you could consider a gift card to a major retailer.

If you have a close relationship with a private boarding business, sometimes run by one person from their home, a gift card to a store or restaurant that you know they enjoy is a nice personal touch.


Taking a trip away from your dog, especially the first time or two, can be nerve-wracking.

But when you find the perfect home away from home for your pooch, you’ll travel with much more ease.

And you may want to relay that gratitude to the boarding kennel in the form of a tip.

May is the important word here. You don’t have to.

Either way, remember to plan for the costs of boarding your dog, and that tips are an optional part of that expense.

If you do tip, no matter the amount or how it is delivered, a tip given with authentic appreciation is the best kind of all.

Wondering who else you may need to tip, I’ve got you covered in the following guides: