Dog Sitting and Daycare
Maybe they can’t come on a short holiday with you, or perhaps your working arrangements mean you need regular dog or puppy daycare. Your dog is lucky (and probably very happy!) if you have the freedom to work from home, or if you’re allowed to take them into the workplace. However, it’s completely normal for people who work to need extra help to give their dogs a happy and sociable life.
Most healthy, mentally active dogs will be able to amuse themselves for a short while on their own, and if you have two or more pets, they can usually keep each other occupied for longer. But pets need human interaction, and on the occasions when you need to leave your dog alone for longer than four hours at a time (unless they have access to a secure garden via a dog flap or outdoor kennelling to relieve themselves), you should look at puppy or dog sitting services and arrange for someone to take care of them.
Some owners rely on the help of a family member or friend when it comes to dog sitting, but of course not everyone has this option! If you need extra help, there is a growing industry of professional carers, including dog and puppy daycare and sitting services. Keep reading to find out what is dog sitting and boarding exactly and the average boarding and dog sitting rates you can expect to pay.
What is dog sitting?
Dog sitting is where a professional dog carer will come to your home and look after your pet for you. This could either be in the form of drop in home visits or daycare where they’ll care for your dog and ensure all their needs or met or dog walking, where your canine carer will just come and take them for exercise.
Which dog sitting option you choose will largely depend on your dog’s needs and your preferences, but if you need more help deciding, here’s some more information on the two options:
Dog walkers will come at a specific time to take your dog or puppy for a walk, often with other dogs, and exercise them while you are out. This is generally a great option for those who work throughout the day and have a dog that doesn’t tend to mind a little alone time.
Dog and puppy sitters
Dog and puppy sitters will come and care for your dog in the comfort of their own home, feed them (with whatever food you provide), walk them and play with them, and administer any necessary medication. Some puppy sitters will also have a degree of dog training experience so will be able to help you to house train your puppy and teach them basic obedience commands whilst you’re busy at work.
A lot of owners also prefer to use dog sitters as an alternative to kennels if you go on holiday, and your dog might prefer to be in a familiar place. Dog-sitters can also water your houseplants, and respond to any problems at home, and as well as that their presence can deter burglars. If your dog hates being left alone but is comfortable with people outside of his immediate family, this is a great solution for both of you.
Alternatively, in dog daycare, they will spend the day in a dedicated centre or at an established kennels. You can drop your dog off in the morning and pick them up on your way home. Some establishments will collect and return your dog to your home and may also offer overnight or holiday boarding. They might even have webcams for you to watch your dog for peace of mind wherever you are!
Dog sitting rates
Dog sitting prices will depend on which service you choose. The current average range for simple home visits is between £10 to £15 an hour, dog walkers on the other hand can be anywhere between £10 and £25, but this will largely depend on how long of a walk you want and if you’d like your dog to go privately or as a group. The dog sitting rates for doggy daycare can shift dramatically depending on your region and the level of experience your canine carer has, so expect to pay anything from £10 up to £30 per day.
What is dog boarding?
Dog boarding is a popular choice for dogs who aren’t joining their owners on holiday. Licensed kennels have to adhere to various hygiene and safety regulations, and should be clean and comfortable with knowledgeable and caring staff. However, all kennels are different, so why not visit a few before you choose? Check that their licence is displayed, chat with the staff, decide if your dog or puppy will be happy there, and get booking – the best kennels often get filled well in advance, especially over busy holidays! Check their admission policies, make sure your dog or puppy is fully vaccinated, and you’re ready to go, safe in the knowledge that your friend is being well looked after.
Dog boarding prices
When it comes to dog boarding prices, this can vary greatly depending on your region and the facility you choose. Some may also factor in the size of your dog, so bear this in mind as if you have a larger breed, it may be more expensive. You can expect to pay anywhere between £15 to £30 for average kennels, but if you’re considering luxury dog hotels, then this price will go up.
Top dog sitting tips for new puppy
A puppy needs a lot of attention when they first come home. Like newborn babies, they have to be taught what is acceptable and what is not, they have to be taken care of and they need to not feel alone. Puppies sleep a lot, but the hours that they are awake are dispersed throughout the day, and they are crucial periods for their learning.
Here are a few ways to manage bringing a puppy home if you have a full-time job.
Consider taking the first two weeks off
It would be helpful to take the first week or two off work when you bring a puppy home, especially since it is difficult to look after a puppy while at work. Puppies need constant attention when they are first at home: they need to be house trained, learn about the environment, be fed and just generally be taken care of. Being at home to oversee all this and also bond with your pet will make a difference.
Try working from home
Some firms will allow you to work from home once you have a new puppy. Check with your boss on what the policy at your firm is. This means you can still get work done while remaining a reassuring presence for your puppy.
Ask a family member to drop in
If you cannot rearrange your work schedule, try and get a member of the family to come home and spend some time with the puppy. This will make sure the puppy has company and someone is there to check up on them.
Ask a neighbour to check in
If your family members live too far away, ask your neighbour if they will drop in occasionally to check on the puppy. This will help with housebreaking the puppy while you are at work. This may be easier for neighbours than your family, as they live next door. Of course, this depends on if your neighbours are at home or if they have a full-time job that takes them away from the house as well – and if they are happy to help look after your dog!
There are actually pet sitters that drop in and stay with your puppy while you are at work. Consider hiring one; their credentials and experience may mean that they can even train your puppy while playing with them.
Doggy day care
While it would be good to have your puppy at home so that they grow familiar with the environment and so that you can housebreak them while you are at work, it is sometimes impossible to find someone to visit your home for you. If this is the case, take your puppy to dog day care, where a team will look after your puppy and allow them to socialise with other dogs. This can be a good option, as it allows your puppy to learn to share with new dogs and you have a professional looking after their needs.
Above all, spend time with them
Even if you do implement the measures we have recommended above, it is necessary that you spend a lot of time with your puppy. Make sure they get all the exercise they need for their age, and make sure that you spend plenty of time with them in the evenings and on the weekends. Plan fun activities with your puppy and have an idea of what kind of games you would like to play with them.
Bonding when your dog is young is important. It is also an important time for training your puppy, as bad behaviour at this stage can persist long into their lives. Your puppy can be housebroken while you are at work, but you will need to be there as much as possible to discipline them, train them and just be recognisable as their owner.
Do your research on puppy sitters and daycare services
Your dog deserves the same great care from professionals that you give them at home, so when researching carers or dog sitting facilities, think about your expectations and what service is being offered. When interviewing dog walkers for example, find out how many other dogs will be walked at the same time and check their professional insurance policies. It’s also a good idea to find out what experience that person has with dogs. For example, many trainers and vet nurses offer boarding, walking or dog sitting services outside of their other jobs, so they probably know a thing or two about looking after pets!
You might want to take a look at the places your dog or puppy will be exercised while you are away and have a quick safety check – ask if your dog’s carer has assessed potential risks. Getting references for the carer is a great idea if you want to know about other people’s experiences with them. You might also think about the difference between a self-employed carer and someone who works for a pet care agency; for example, if someone from an agency falls sick, will the agency find a replacement at short notice?
Don’t be embarrassed about asking these questions – your dog is a precious member of your family, and a professional carer will see it as a sign of a good owner, as well as being able to verify their professional services. In some cases, you might be trusting your dog’s carer with other things, such as house keys, so your search cannot be too thorough. If you don’t know where to start, recommendations from friends or your dog club are a great way to begin!
Make sure your dog or puppy has the opportunity to meet the carers before you leave them in their care. If looking for a dog walker, for example, arrange to tag along on one of their walks so that you can see for yourself how they interact with the dogs in their care.
Dog sitting apps
If you simply don’t know where to start in your search for the perfect dog or puppy sitter, try looking on a dog sitting app! Simply put in your address, choose the dates you need and you can find a boarding, day care, walking and even house-sitting services in your area. Plus, most of these sites also feature reviews for each dog carer, so you can rest assured that your four-legged friend will be in good hands. A few of our favourite dog sitting apps are as follows:
Pawshake is a great dog sitting app to help you find a reliable dog carer in your area. All potential pup carers are checked by Pawshake and only around 20% are accepted. Plus, if you use the app, your dog will be covered by their own premium insurance.
If you want a more personal experience from your puppy sitter, then look no further than BorrowMyDoggy. Rather than paying for a dog sitter or walker, you’ll be paying for someone who loves dogs just as much as you do to come and give your dog extra love when you’re away. Many pup owners actually prefer this service as they feel as though their dog gains an extra family.
If you’re a dog owner who loves to know exactly what your dog’s doing at all times, try the Rover dog sitting app. You’ll get GPS tracking of where your dog goes on their walk, toileting alerts and even personalised notes from your puppy sitter.
Be prepared for emergencies
It’s likely that nothing bad is going to happen while you’re away, but being prepared for emergencies is still vital. Just check that your dog’s carer is qualified in canine first aid, is aware of your dog’s medical issues if they have any, and knows how to administer any medication as part of your pet’s care routine. Most importantly, make sure they have your contact details – and those of a back-up – as well as the details of your vet, your dog or puppy’s microchip information and recent veterinary history.
Although it’s not nice to think about, consider in advance what you would like to happen if your dog were to fall ill or die suddenly. It is best to be prepared for every worst-case scenario and to make your feelings known in advance to avoid any unnecessary heartache later.
These things might take a little forward preparation, but once you’ve finished, you’ll rest easy knowing that while you’re away your dog is in the best possible hands – and their happiness, after all, is something you can’t put a price on!
Take your dog or puppy on holiday with you
If your dog or puppy is joining you on holiday rather than staying in puppy daycare, they’re not alone. Indeed, many people don’t consider it a proper ‘family holiday’ unless their canine companion is there to share the fun! Fortunately, more and more places are catering for dog owners, meaning your options aren’t limited to camping trips or ‘staycations’.
From B&B breaks, hotels and self-catering cottages to canal boats and even huge castles that can be rented, there is dog-friendly accommodation to suit every taste and budget. Dog training holidays also provide a place where you can enjoy canine activities and sports with other dog lovers under the guidance of a qualified trainer.
If you want to holiday outside of the UK and Ireland, changes to British quarantine laws makes it easier and safer than ever to holiday abroad with your dog. There are very specific requirements that need to be followed, so visit the GOV.uk website to find out about what you need to take your dog abroad. Always ask your vet’s advice before booking a foreign trip with your dog, just to make sure they’re ready for the trip.
All that’s left after that is to get ready to make some memories – and bon voyage!
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