Your main dog care options are these four:
- Friends & Family
- Dog Kennels
- Dog Sitting (which includes boarding, walking and day care – but we’ll talk about this more later on!)
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons for each dog care option:
Friends & Family
The first thing you might do is ring family or friends to ask if they’ll take care of their favourite doggo – and who can deny finding a more familiar face for your dog! Here are the benefits of keeping it within the family and friendship circle, as well as the potential downsides:
- The familiarity of someone your dog has probably already met before
- You know your friends and family so well, you’ll be far less likely to worry about how they may treat your dog.
- They tend to be free!
- Family and friends also have their own lives… and sometimes looking after your dog can be a bit of an inconvenience. You may start to feel this is more of a burden on them, and they may feel they have to say yes because of your relationship even though they might not want to do it every time.
- You cannot always rely on them to be around – if you need to get away in an emergency and no family or friends are available, you could be in a sticky situation indeed.
- Lacking a professional element to your relationship, they may not be focused on ensuring your dog gets adequate walks, exercise and attention.
Sometimes we ring next door’s doorbell for a neighbourly favour. Here are some of the key points to remember when asking your mate down the road to look after your pet:
- Their close proximity to your home.
- Relative familiarity – no doubt you will have exchanged a ‘hello’ or two in the past.
- They could also end up being free.
- You may not be too familiar with your neighbour and so neither would your dog.
- There’s no guarantee of regular updates, and it may feel like you’re pestering them if they don’t pick up the phone.
- If your dog causes a mess (or damage!) in their home, you could end up with an argument over who has to pay to fix any problems.
- Again they are lacking in the professional experience, much like Friends & Family.
This may be considered the ‘traditional option’ when you can’t get hold of friends or family, and neighbours aren’t an option. The question remains – is this right for my dog? Let’s take a look at the big points in favour and against kennels.
- Kennels often offer a secure location in which the dogs are kept.
- Dogs are routinely given quality food.
- Staff are used to dealing with different dog breeds and understand their needs.
- There is no guarantee of constant interaction with humans.
- Your dog may feel uncomfortable and distressed in the new, unfamiliar surroundings.
- There may be additional charges for extra walks, playtime and dietary requirements in commercially-run kennels.
- Potential health hazards, such as the dreaded Kennel Cough.
- Of the people that have used kennels before, 34% said that they wouldn’t use kennels again because their dog was stressed. 24% said that their dog did not receive enough interaction.
- Maybe that’s why 73% of people that responded to our survey, said that they would not put their dog in boarding kennels.
There’s another alternative to kennels – choose to get a dog sitter, someone to step into your shoes and be there for your dog whenever they need them. Let’s weigh up the options and get one step closer to making a decision:
- Typically another experienced dog owner
- Professional – they are being paid for their time, so that means lots of regular updates on your dog!
- Constant human attention and care, whether for boarding, walking or day care.
- Can establish a relationship with the sitter prior to the booking, getting your pooch comfortable with the sitter and their home.
- You can keep track of their walks and mealtimes, and even remain (if needs be) in constant communication with the sitter.
- Dog sitting tends to be very popular in cities rather than in rural areas, despite still being more active in these places than some other services
That rounds up the dog care types for you and your pooch. Next, we’ll look at the services under the umbrella of ‘dog sitting’.
Different Dog Sitting Services
We’ve been talking about dog sitting, but we’ve not looked at the different services available: boarding, walking and day care. So let’s take a look:
Definition: Overnight dog care, round the clock care that is ideal for holidays
Helen, dog owner and DogBuddy customer, had this to say:
“Kate was really great helping us out with dog boarding at short notice. Very quick to respond to messages, gave us updates on how things were going while we were away, and most importantly gave our beloved Paddy lots of love, attention and walks – we came home to a very happy little dog.”
Definition: Take the dog for a walk – perfect for ensuring your dog gets exercise
Nicky, a regular user of DogBuddy for dog walking, had this experience:
“My dog Mitzi thoroughly enjoyed her walking today with Rhonda. Rhonda was friendly and caring, arrived on time and took photos on their walk so show me when they returned. I am very happy with this service and will be using Rhonda again.”
Doggy Day Care
Definition: Throughout the daylight hours, constant care and attention – great for quick emergencies as well as when working in the office all day
Doggy day care user, Carol, said this about using DogBuddy:
“Quinn enjoyed his time and walks with Alice in day care. Much appreciated the texts and photos showing me that Quinn had settled in nicely in her home. Relaxed and caring Alice made a relaxed and happy Quinn. Thank you Alice.”
Start your dog sitting journey with £10 free credit, for boarding, walking or day care – this one’s on us!
For even more on holiday dog care options, head on over to our full guide.