Pet Boarding & Daycare

Space & Supply for Safe Group Play

Space & Supply for Safe Group Play

By Professional Pet Boarding Certification Council

Safety should be the top priority when designing and utilizing play areas for group dog play. The design should be functional and safe for multiple dogs, and it is important to be prepared for all scenarios.

Physical Space

Dogs are sensitive to movement into their physical space, so providing adequately-sized play areas is an important priority. Here are some industry guidelines for physical space requirements:


Indoor play areas should provide a minimum of 75 sq. ft. per dog (i.e., facility without free access to outdoors). 

Indoor/outdoor facilities should have a policy in place for dog rotation when outdoor portion of space cannot be utilized.

Facilities that limit dogs by weight or segregate playgroups strictly by size may drop to a 40 sq. ft. per dog requirement if 80% of the dogs in the playgroup weigh 30 pounds or less.

It is also recommended that all play areas be designed to include greeting areas. This can be a small area, about four ft. by six ft. in size, with open fencing to allow for an initial greeting period prior to joining the dog play group. This should be required even for dogs that know each other in order to safely join the playgroup. Dog arrivals to group play are high-risk events that require good management to ensure safety, so allowing dogs time for their greeting rituals and to get comfortable prior to entering the play area will help minimize the risk of issues between dogs. 

Climate Control

Climate control of indoor and outside play areas is a very important safety factor as well. Keep in mind that dogs are generally more physically active during group play, so for their health and safety, be sure to provide the following: 

Safe Play Supplies

The primary focus of group dog play is the interaction with other dogs, but there are always risks and situations that may arise which staff members must be prepared to handle. Here are some recommended supplies that will ensure safety and enhance enjoyment of the play environment:

By following these recommendations for the group dog play environment, your facility has a better chance of keeping everyone—both dog and human—safer and happier while they enjoy their time together. 


Voluntary Facility Accreditation Standards – Pet Care Services Association (PCSA) Voluntary Facilities Accreditation Program (VFA Program).