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The History of Camp Bow Wow

A “Tail” of Our Early Days

Camp Bow Wow®, founded by entrepreneur and avid dog lover, Heidi Ganahl, opened its first location in December 2000 and was one of the first dog day care facilities in Colorado. We found immediate success and the community really embraced our concept. Realizing there was high demand for these services, we opened a second location. It was shortly afterward that the idea of franchising the business was introduced.

Today, we are proud to have over 200 Camps throughout North America and are the continent’s largest pet care franchise and the leader in doggy day care and boarding. All our Camps offer doggy day care and boarding services, and many of them also provide grooming and dog training services. We are proud to care for all pups as if they were our own and look forward to many more decades of providing leading dog care services.

The Whole Story


It was 1994 when founder Heidi Ganahl and her first husband, Bion, realized their need for a quality doggy day care and boarding center for their two furry friends. It didn’t take much research for Heidi to realize that the traditional ‘kennel model’ was not what they had in mind for their pets. Being entrepreneurs at heart, Heidi and Bion set out to conceptualize the idea of a fun, friendly environment for their two dogs. Unfortunately, a short six months later, Bion died in a tragic plane crash before they could make their dream a reality.


Although Bion had passed, the idea for Camp Bow Wow still lingered in the back of Heidi’s mind. When her brother approached her about it five years later, she took the remaining $80,000 from her settlement and said, “let’s give it a try.” And so, the first Camp Bow Wow was opened in Denver, CO.


Just three successful years later, Heidi realized the potential that Camp Bow Wow had to both generate a profit and fill a need for pet parents searching for quality boarding and day care services in the pet care industry. So, in 2003, the franchising began with a new location opening in Castle Rock, CO!


Making a profit and becoming a leader in the pet care industry weren’t the only items on Heidi’s agenda. She also wanted to create an opportunity for Camp Bow Wow to reach every pet parent nationwide, especially those in need. And so, the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation was formed – a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to providing urgent medical care funds to sick and injured dogs across the country.


Camp Bow Wow opened its 100th franchise location! What an incredible feat to reach in just 10 years – and of course, our company growth didn’t stop there!


Veterinary Clinics of America (VCA Inc.) acquired Camp Bow Wow, which allowed us to reach even more pet parents and ensure a safer pet care experience for all. VCA owns, operates and manages the largest network of freestanding veterinary hospitals and veterinary-exclusive clinical laboratories in the country. It’s no wonder we’re so proud to be a part of their family!


Today, Camp Bow Wow is the largest doggy day care and overnight boarding franchise across North America. We’ve set up Camp in over 210 locations already and see no end in sight!

Camp Bow Wow Headquarters

Our corporate office is located next to our Westminster location at 577 West 103rd Avenue Unit 209. Westminster, Colorado 80021.

A Dog Gone Bright Future

We are excited about the future and look forward to serving another generation of dogs and their parents. In August 2014, Camp Bow Wow was acquired by VCA Inc., which is a leading animal healthcare company with over 1,000 animal hospitals in the US and Canada. Since September 2017, VCA, Inc. and subsequently Camp Bow Wow are wholly owned subsidiaries of Mars, Incorporated. We are growing and can’t wait to bring our premier dog care services to even more communities so that countless more dogs can experience the Camp Bow Wow difference.

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