Although your first considerations are the health and comfort of your pet, you also need to consider price. The price differences among kennels are substantial. For example, we found that boarding a 35-pound springer spaniel for a week would cost from $154 to $455, depending on the kennel you choose.

There appears to be no correlation between quality and price. Some of the lower-priced kennels received highly favorable ratings from their surveyed customers.

Our Ratings Tables provide information for finding the least expensive kennel for your dog or cat. The Ratings Tables show per-day prices for four different sizes of dogs, a pair of medium-size dogs boarded in the same run, and a cat. Some kennels charge more per day as dogs get larger, but at other kennels size matters less. Cats are generally less expensive than even the smallest dogs. Some kennels offer discounts of a dollar or so per day per dog if two of your dogs share the same run.

Also check facilities’ prices for various services your pet might need, such as special exercise or administering medicine. These special services are free at many kennels, although some charge $10 or more per day for 15 minutes of special exercise.

And ask about another factor that can significantly affect cost: check-in and check-out times. A number of kennels charge for only one day if you check in your pet in the morning of the first day and check out the afternoon of the second day. Others charge for two days if you check in before noon or check out after noon, even for an overnight stay.

Determine exactly when the kennel is open for drop-off and pick-up. A common complaint is that facilities don’t have convenient hours for drop-off or pick-up, particularly on weekends. If the kennel is closed on Sundays, for example, you’d have to pay for a Sunday-night stay even though you are back in town—and ready to retrieve your golden retriever—on Sunday morning. Or it might charge a special fee for the kennel staff to meet you at the kennel for a pick-up outside regular hours.