I should start this post by saying that I don’t own a dog. I grew up with dogs and my kids would absolutely love a dog but we’ve yet to get one. This is partly because we’ve spent the last 12 years moving around the world but mostly because we love to travel and I don’t know what we would do with our furry pup when we go away. My sister is thinking about getting a dog and we have lots of friends who have added an extra member to their family but everyone has the same concern, what do you do with your dog when you go on holiday?
When I was growing up we owned a very grumpy Fox Terrier called Zebadee followed by two incredibly gentle Great Danes called Freddy and Daisy. The Great Danes were the ideal companions for kids (the Fox Terrier less so!) and they played a huge part in our family. We lived in the countryside and had a large garden where they could run around. Whenever we went on holiday, the dogs would head to a nearby farm that also functioned as a kennel. These were not caged kennels, however, rather a wide open space where Freddy and Daisy could roam happily and then sleep in the barn with the cows. Idyllic? For a dog, definitely!
So, as the dog debate continues in our household, I started to look into what we could do with our fictious dog when we were not at home. It was at this point that I was contacted by DogBuddy.com, a dog-sitting service that operates throughout the UK and seven countries in Europe (Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands). Call it serendipity or just sheer good luck, but I think this might be the service to answer all dog owners’ prayers. And might be the reason why we eventually get a dog of our own.
DogBuddy sells itself as the ‘AirBnB for dogs’ and matches carefully vetted dog sitters with dog owners. Owners can search for sitters in their area using the the DogBuddy app and then choose a sitter based on what they offer, their rates and their reviews. What seems really reassuring about DogBuddy is that they don’t just let anyone become a dog sitter, their website states that they approve only 10-20% of all dog sitter applications. Plus, they have vets standing by 24/7 and insurance in case something happens to the dogs (and also if the dog damages the sitter’s home).
So, how does it all work?
I downloaded the app and it turns out that booking a trusted dog sitter to look after my make-believe dog is really very simple! All you have to do is enter your city or postcode and then choose what service you want; your options are Dog Boarding (where the dog stays overnight with the sitter), Dog Day Care (where the dog spends the day with the sitter, usually in their home) or Dog Walking. You then enter your dates and search.
I trialled the app as if we were heading off on summer holiday and entered a week at the end of July. The results came back with nearly 40 dog sitters in my local area who offer dog boarding. Prices range from £25 to £40 per day (sitters set their own rates) and almost all of the sitters had five star ratings and excellent reviews. There’s an option to send a message to the sitter before you reserve and then all bookings and payments are done through the app (thereby eliminating the need to scrabble around in your bag for the right amount of cash – like I do with my kids’ babysitter!).
And then when you’re away from your dog, your sitter will send you puppy photo updates and you can even login to the app and check where they’ve gone on their walk that day. All in all you get a lot of information – far more than I do from my kids about their school days!
In the past when you’ve gone on holiday it’s been down to kind friends and understanding family members to help out with your dog. Or, there’s the traditional kennel option but, to be honest, putting a dog in a cage has never sat very well with me. More importantly, dogs often become stressed in these traditional kennel environments. So perhaps DogBuddy is the way to go. It certainly seems easy, the reviews are excellent (there are lots of glowing stories from happy pups on the site) and it also appears to be affordable. Now, I guess, we should start talking about dog names!
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Disclosure: This is a partner post with DogBuddy. All opinions are, as always, entirely my own.