Vacation Options: Dog Boarding? Doggy Day Care? Pet Sitting?

As a dog mom myself, I have struggled with leaving my fur child with just anyone when I’m unavailable to take care of him. The idea that they may not show him enough love or walk him as often as I do worries me too much! I’m sure every dog parent out there can relate in some way about the concerns of leaving your pet when you go away on a trip. So what’s the best option? Doggy day care? Dog boarding? Pet sitting?

I have done plenty of research on this topic, and would love to share the different options I came across and my thoughts on what may be the best fit for you and fur child when you leave town.

1. Friend or Family

Leaving your pet with a good friend or family member who loves them already is always going to be the most comforting option for you and your pet. You can check in without bothering them too much, and you know your pet already knows and loves them. This is of course only an option if you have a friend or family member who is flexible enough with their schedule and willing to play the role of temporary pet parent while you are gone! Also, they would probably be okay with you bringing your iFetch toy along for your dog to play with 🙂

2. Pet Sitting Referral

If you have friends who also have pets, ask them for a referral of a pet sitter they use when they leave on trips. They may have a friend or contact they love to use and pay to watch their pets while they are away. The person they use may come to their home a few times per day, stay overnight, or board them in their own home.

3. DogVacay

This is a digital platform that enables you to find a pet sitter in your area. They have everything from detailed reviews, to secure online payments, to insurance in case anything happens to your pet while you are away. The site has photos of the sitters’ homes so you can see where your dog will be staying and you can arrange a meet and greet before committing. They also offer dog walking and day care as well. I have used DogVacay a few times and have had great experiences!

4. Trainer

Some dog trainers actually do boarding as well, and if you pay them extra, will work with your dog on training skills while they keep them in their care. It’s really a win-win situation because once you return, your dog is cared for by a trusted trainer that you already know and may have learned a few more skills in doggy etiquette while you were away! It never hurts to ask your trainer if they offer this service!

5. Dog Boarding Facilities

I have never used dog boarding, because it doesn’t seem like the right fit for my pet, but I have heard good things from friends. There are facilities that have cameras in your dog’s individual room so you can watch them on a live webcam anytime of the day. Some facilities that are located on acres of land where your pup can run free and play all day with his doggy friends. I encourage researching the boarding facilities in your area and going for a visit before making a decision. Some of these require an “interview” with your dog to make sure your dog isn’t violent or aggressive before agreeing to keep your dog on-site. It’s also important to be sure your dog has the required vaccines before boarding them. Check with your vet beforehand!

How Much Will It Cost?

As far as prices go, they range:

  • Dog Boarding Costs ComparisonFriends and family may charge you $0, which is a huge perk. And you can always bring them a “thank you” gift back from your trip or return the favor when they need a sitter!
  • Pet sitters your friends refer may charge anywhere from $15/day to $75+/day. Be sure to discuss this with your friend before contacting their sitter if you have a budget. They usually charge more if you ask them to come to your home than they do if you keep your dog in their home for convenience reasons.
  • DogVacay lets you choose the price you’d like to pay per night as a filter option when you search their database of sitters. And it’s worth asking the sitter if they have a discount for a longer stay (usually for a week+ they offer discounts)
  • Trainer: a trainer could be pricier, especially if you are asking them to work with your dog on training while you are away. Just ask your trainer for their pricing!
  • Dog Boarding Facilities: from my personal research, I’ve noticed boarding facilities to be the most expensive option. They sometimes offer a cheaper rate if you have more than one pet being boarded, but it depends on how nice the facility is and the amenities they offer. I’ve noticed anywhere from $40-$100+/night. Do your research!

The Most Important Thing

Regardless of where you keep your pet while you are away, just know that it’s normal to worry. We are pet parents after all! Find something that works for you so you can have peace of mind while away on your work trip or vacation and enjoy your Summer!

A Bonus Pet Sitting Tip

It’s okay to request that whoever is watching your pet send you photos each day to check in with updates on how things are going! That’s what I always do 🙂 Here are a few photos my most recent pet sitter shared while I was on a trip out of the country last month:

Dog Boarding Vacation PhotoPet Sitting Vacation PhotoThis is Doggy Day CareHappy Dogs Make Happy Owners


What Do YOU Think?

Have you had any great experiences with dog boarding, doggy day care, or pet sitting? Or maybe you’ve got your own tips to share on the subject? Please comment below and keep the conversation going. We might share your best tips with our readers in a future article or maybe even on our Facebook page.

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Tail-Wagging Products!

iFetch has received international attention and won numerous awards, including “Best New Product” and “Best in Show” at Superzoo 2013. And while we’re honored (and humbled) by all the attention and accolades, our greatest joy is seeing the pictures and videos of little dogs around the world playing with the iFetch.

The Hamill Family,
Creators of iFetch