Can Your Unneutered Dog Stay at a Kennel? Answers Inside


This article will provide an overview of kennel policies regarding intact (unneutered/unspayed) dogs. We’ll discuss the reasons behind common restrictions, exceptions some facilities make, tips for boarding an intact dog, and alternatives to kenneling intact dogs. The goal is to educate dog owners on what to expect when looking to board an unaltered dog, help them understand the rationale, and give advice for finding a good boarding facility that will accept their intact pet.

Background on Spaying/Neutering

Spaying or neutering a dog provides important health and behavioral benefits. According to the ASPCA, spaying female dogs prevents uterine infections and decreases the incidence of breast tumors, which are often malignant [1]. Neutering male dogs can prevent testicular cancer and some prostate issues [2].

a dog after being neutered

Beyond health perks, fixing dogs can curb behavioral problems associated with the heat cycle and breeding instincts, making them better pets. Neutered males are less likely to roam, mark territory, and mount other dogs. Spayed females won’t go into heat, preventing unwanted pregnancies and unwanted male attention [2].

While every dog is different, the balance of health and behavioral benefits typically outweighs potential risks of spay/neuter procedures. Talk to your veterinarian about the ideal timing for your individual dog.

Kennel Policies on Intact Dogs

Many kennels have policies regarding intact (unneutered or unspayed) dogs. These policies can vary but some common ones include:

  • Requiring dogs over a certain age, usually around 6-8 months old, to be neutered before allowing them to board. This is especially common for overnight boarding where there will be group play.
  • Allowing intact dogs up until around 1 year old for daycare or short stays, but requiring neutering after that.
  • Not allowing female dogs in heat to board or attend daycare at all due to the risk of fights or unwanted pregnancies.
  • Requiring intact males to be boarded separately from other dogs without group play.
  • Charging an additional fee or deposit for boarding intact dogs.

These policies are in place to protect the safety of the dogs and staff, and prevent unwanted litters. However, some kennels may make exceptions or have more relaxed policies, especially for day boarding where the dog is kept separate. It’s best to check directly with any facility you are considering to learn their specific policies on intact dogs.


Reasons for Policies

Many kennels have policies prohibiting or restricting intact dogs due to concerns over risks associated with housing unneutered male and female dogs together.

Some of the key risks kennels aim to avoid include:

– Unplanned litters – An intact male dog may attempt to mate with a female dog in heat, resulting in an accidental pregnancy. This poses ethical concerns for kennels and owners. (source)

– Aggression and fighting – Intact dogs, especially males, can demonstrate higher levels of aggression and reactivity which may lead to fights. Neutering helps curb inter-male aggression. (source)

– Escapes – The strong urge to mate may lead intact males to attempt to escape enclosures to locate females in heat. This compromises safety and security. (source)

– Liability concerns – Kennels worry about being held responsible for litters, injuries from fights, or escapes. Restricting intact dogs aims to limit these risks. (source)

Exceptions to Policies

an intact male dog
While many kennels have policies against boarding intact dogs, there are some exceptions. Some kennels will make exceptions for older dogs over a certain age that are still intact, like dogs over 8 or 10 years old (source). Since older dogs are less likely to have behavioral issues, kennels may waive the neutering requirement.

Additionally, some kennels allow intact puppies under 6 months old (source). This gives owners time to wait until the puppy is fully grown before spaying/neutering. The kennel may require proof of a future spay/neuter appointment.

Finally, certain kennels that offer separate spaces for intact dogs may make exceptions to their policies (source). As long as the intact dogs are housed completely separately from fixed dogs, the kennel may permit boarding.

Tips for Boarding an Intact Dog

While many kennels have policies against boarding intact dogs, there are some options for those looking to board an unneutered or unspayed dog.

The first step is researching kennels in your area by looking at their websites and calling to inquire about policies. Some facilities may make exceptions for young puppies who have not been fixed yet or may allow intact dogs if certain requirements are met, such as booking private rooms.

When calling a kennel, be honest about your dog being intact. Ask detailed questions about their requirements and restrictions for boarding intact dogs. Some key things to ask about include:

  • If they allow intact dogs of any age or only those under a certain age (6-9 months is common).
  • If your dog would need to be housed separately from other dogs.
  • If they require written proof from a veterinarian that your dog is up-to-date on vaccines and healthy.
  • How they handle intact dogs differently – supervised time outdoors, separate potty breaks, etc.

Doing your homework will help you find a facility that is a good fit for your unfixed dog. With some additional planning and preparation, you can make boarding a smooth process.

Alternatives to Kenneling

If a kennel refuses to board an intact dog, there are other options pet owners can consider besides traditional boarding facilities. One popular alternative is hiring a pet sitter to care for the dog in its own home while the owner is away. Professional pet sitters can provide walks, playtime, feeding, medication administration and more. Rover, Wag, and other apps connect pet owners with local sitters who can stay in the home or make periodic visits.

a dog with a pet sitter

Another option is exploring smaller, in-home boarding facilities that may be more accommodating of intact dogs. These home-based kennels often have fewer restrictions and can provide a less stressful environment. Pet owners can search for these locally or ask their veterinarian for referrals. Additionally, trusted friends or family members may be willing to watch an intact dog while the owner travels. This can be an affordable choice for short trips.

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Making a Decision

When deciding whether to board an intact dog at a kennel, there are a few key questions owners should consider:

  • What are the specific policies at your chosen kennel regarding intact dogs? Be sure to call and ask directly. According to Pet Health Network, some kennels may refuse intact males over a certain age due to marking behaviors.
  • What are the reasons behind the kennel’s policies? Understanding the rationale can help owners make an informed decision. As mentioned in Vetericyn, kennels may want to prevent unwanted litters or aggression from intact males.
  • Is your dog well-behaved and socialized? An intact but trained dog may still be allowed at some facilities, according to Small Door Veterinary.
  • Are there any alternatives, like an in-home sitter, if the kennel refuses? Be ready with a backup plan.
  • How important is it that your dog stays intact? There may be options to board after spay/neuter.

By weighing these concerns, owners can make the best boarding decision for their unique situation.

What To Do If Turned Away

If you show up at the kennel with your intact dog and are turned away, don’t panic. You have some options:

Find a pet sitter or dog walker who can come to your home to care for your dog. There are many independent pet sitters who don’t have policies against intact dogs.

a dog walker with dogs

Ask your veterinarian if they board intact dogs or can recommend a facility that does. Vets sometimes board pets as a service for clients.

Search for doggie daycares in your area that accept intact dogs. Some facilities make exceptions or have separate areas for intact dogs.

As a last resort, consider delaying your trip or taking your dog with you if possible.

With some persistence and planning, you should be able to find a good alternative for boarding your intact dog.


In summary, kennels typically prefer to board spayed/neutered dogs as a safety precaution, but some do make exceptions for intact dogs depending on age, sex, breed and temperament. Pet owners should have a discussion with any potential boarding kennel about their policies ahead of time to see if an exception can be made for an unneutered dog. If turned away, alternatives like in-home pet sitting or boarding with your vet may be options. The decision to spay/neuter is a personal one, but owners who plan to board their dogs should factor kennel policies into account. With some advanced planning and open communication, owners of intact dogs can often find a way to accommodate their pet care needs.

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