We host dogs and cats at Nathalia Boarding Kennels and we adhere to the Code of Practice for Boarding Kennels in Victoria.

Mix-n-Match Dogs, NBKC Style

Marnie, communicating with the pack.

Nathalia Boarding Kennels and Cattery function very differently from most other kennels. We are one of the first boarding establishments in Australia to operate an ‘open plan socialisation‘ style kennel. Mixing dogs is our forte.

Open plan socialisation‘ means that we mix our dogs to play during the day – for up to 8 hours per day (weather dependent).

This is distinctly different from the ‘traditional’ style kennel (a dedicated room, with a small yard attached – and maybe some supervised play).

If your dog is NOT social, then we may not be the boarding establishment for you. If you are unsure (due to Covid or other circumstances) about the sociability of your dog, we are happy to assess them and provide a supervised introduction to the world of doggy etiquette.

What do we mean by mixing dogs?

We have 40+ yards at our disposal. Each yard can have between 2 to 8 dogs in them (depending on the season and cohort of hounds with us). We carefully evaluate our guests to decide on who to mix them with. Mixing is based on several important factors, namely:

  • Age: pups, teens, adults, geriatrics
  • Size/Weight: toy, small, medium, large, x-large
  • Breed
  • Agility & Ability: runners, snoozers, ballplayers, tug-o-war heroes, etc
  • Temperament: chatty, cuddly, loner, social, human-focused, etc
  • Yard type: see our grounds info below

Desexed Only

Due to our operational style, hormones simply create havoc in our yards. Therefore we have a strict, hormone-free approach, which means that dogs older than 9 months must neutered or spayed. Read more here.

Vaccinated Only

Only fully vaccinated pets can stay or play with us. Vaccination Info.

Collars Please

All dogs who stay or play with us must wear a suitable collar. If you don’t provide one, we will, for $20.

  • We add, to collars, a name tag and a unique identifying number.
  • Why? Well, picture six fat black labs or ten fluffy Maltese Shitzu’s, with no identification, and, well, you get the picture!
  • Collars, if fitted correctly, can comfortably fit two human fingers between the collar and neck. We like sturdy plastic clips. No metal buckles, chains, leather or studs. Please.

NEW Dogs

New Dogs cannot stay during our peak times. We take our responsibilities very seriously when it comes to hosting new dogs. While our policy can be inconvenient to humans, our main priority is the dog – we aim to support its health, well-being and happiness with a four-full-day introduction board. Read more here.

Personal Items

We are a neutral territory (think Switzerland). We share everything including toys, blankets, beds etc. Why? Well, we simply prefer to spend time focussing on our guests rather than on insentient objects. Please read more about personal items here.

Our Grounds

Yes, our property is pretty, but oh so practical.

With various yards at our disposal (spacious, circular, escape-proof, high-fenced, lower-fenced, small, grassed, sanded, concreted, etc), we can choose yards to best suit the various dog-onalities staying with us.

All yards have water troughs, sprinklers, beds, toys, shade & shelter. 

There is super-careful planning and considerations underpinning the play-mate matching. We continually monitor and adjust our yards to ensure that the mix is right. It is a constant and evolving task. We visit frequently to remove dogs (going home) or add dogs (arriving). Staff enter yards frequently to clean, fill waters & play games. This is a great opportunity to gauge body language and consider if a playmate needs a change of scenery.

Most times we allow NEW dogs to absorb our atmosphere in a separate yard for a short period before we introduce them to a pal, or two.

Our kennels (sleeping quarters)

We have a variety of sleeping quarters for dogs. Traditional style rooms for medium to large dogs, and comfy giant crates for small breeds. A mix of evaporative coolers, reverse-cycle air conditioners, fans, under-floor heating, blankets and jackets can help our staff adjust temperatures accordingly.

Kennels undergo daily cleaning and disinfecting.

Each dog has a dedicated room or kennel. Dogs from the same family can sleep in the same room, as long as the owner provides permission. If dogs are in the same space then staff will supervise them while they eat.


Puppies must be:

  • older than 14 weeks of age for daycare
  • and older than 16 weeks for boarding.
  • 12 days past their 2nd puppy vaccination (to allow time for the antibodies to kick in).
  • monitored/supervised closely by the purple people
  • given a rest period during the day.
  • given breakfast if boarding (paid).
  • mixed with other puppies, or calm dogs (ones who don’t mind a bit of scruffing).
  • desexed by the age of 9 months (no matter the breed).

Rules in our booking system will block bookings if your teen is over 9 months of age and not yet desexed (see our fixed-only policy).

Dogs Food & Feeding

We ALWAYS feed dogs in their rooms, separately &/or individually – indeed, we never allow free-range pack dinners – this would be fraught with all manner of difficulties.

Dogs Evening Meal

The boarding rate includes the evening meal.

During their stay with us, we are proud to feed your dog Royal Canin® Premium Nutrition. We choose Royal Canin® because of their high-quality tailored formulas. This ensures that your pet receives the best possible nutrition while in our care. To learn more about Royal Canin® visit: royalcanin.com/au

We also feed BlackHawk Grain Free kibble, Prime100 rolls (made with human-grade ingredients) & Hazeldene’s Fresh chicken wings & fillets.

Home-cooked meals (warm chicken dinners & meat feasts) are optional extras.

All products that we offer have chicken, or traces of chicken in them – if your dog has a sensitivity to poultry, please supply your own.

Dogs Breakfast

Breakfast is a paid extra ($5/day).

  • Pups (under 9 months of age) automatically have breakfast included in their rate (as breakfast for pups is essential).
  • If you have an Active breed, please add breakfast.
  • If your dog dropped weight with us on a previous board, please add breakfast.
  • Dogs requiring food with morning medications must select breakfast.

Silver service breakfasts include poached chicken, Bacon-n-eggs or porridge with blueberries. You can select these little luxuries at the time of booking.

We prefer smaller breakfasts to avoid GVD (gastric issues) – this means that the small meals are more manageable for the digestive tract.

Other Food Options

We smoosh Kongs, or Licky Mats with peanut butter / creamed cheese / Prime100. ‘Working’ on this treat (supervised) can help boost calorie intake and provide a ‘rest’ during the day.

Poached chicken is another favourite for some midday breaks.

Supplying your food

If you choose to bring food from home (eg. your pet has special dietary requirements) we find the following very helpful:

  • Pre-portioned food is the way to go (eg. in named zip-locked bags)
  • A small solid esky is particularly handy for storing your food (named)
  • Breakfast, if supplied, should be 1/4 of the overall daily allowance.
  • Please remember that your pet may expend more energy while with us, thus you might want to add a little extra.

Sensitive Tummies

If your pet is prone to a sensitive stomach, we are happy to discuss a slow switch from your food to ours.

Remember, all of our dry food contains chicken or traces of chicken. If your dog has chicken allergies we ask that you bring your food to ensure that your dog doesn’t suffer from an upset tummy.

If your hound suffers from ‘nervous poops‘ we suggest adding probiotics to their meals during the 3 days leading up to their vacay (and leaving us some for their first few days with us). Naturally, a chat with your vet about this would be beneficial.

A dog’s Bath time!


  • Boarding prices are primarily weight and/or age-based. Full details can be found here.
  • For the full nitty-gritty around Pricing and Refunds then this link is worth a visit.

They smell nice like that…

  • All of our canine boarders receive a complimentary hydro bath before going home – spritzed, bowed & tail wagging.

Do we accept all dogs?

We do not discriminate against breeds. However, we know, from past experiences, that specific breeds can find our play environment over-stimulating. This has, on rare occasions, provided the trigger for poor and/or dangerous behaviour. This is not safe for our guests or staff. Breeds include:

Bull Terriers – Shiba Anus – American Pitt Bull Terriers – Rottweilers – Dog Argentino (Mastiff) – Dobermans – Akitas – Gull Dong – Perro de Presa Canario – Tosa Inus – Chow Chow – Shepherds – Cane Corso – Staffies – Heelers (Red n Blue) – Wolfhounds – Staghounds – Ridgebacks – French Bulldogs – Bulldogs – Maremmas – Huskies – Malamutes – Bernese Mountain Dogs – Boxers – Great Dane – Mastiffs

For some of the above breeds, we will carefully consider your request for boarding but cannot guarantee a bed. Often rates are higher to compensate for the extra diligence required to monitor these breeds. We also limit the number of certain breeds during our peak times.