The following is a guest post from Ambika Singh of Rover.com. Rover.com is a new canine community founded on the belief that real homes make the safest and happiest kennels for our dogs. With 40 million dog-owning households in the U.S., Rover.com wants to help dog owners tap into this huge network of fellow dog owners and canine enthusiasts who would love to share the weekend with a furry new friend. Why leave your dog locked up in a cage or lonely in an empty home? Join the Rover-lucion and find fun, safe homes for your pooch, with caretakers who consider having your dog over a privilege instead of a job.
Deciding on the best place for your dog to stay while you are away is never easy. In addition to the stress of travel planning, we worry about where and with whom we should leave our dogs so that he or she is most comfortable. At times, the possibilities can seem overwhelming. From kennels and dog spas, to a professional sitter visiting your home, to taking your dog to a neighbor or friend down the street, the available options are diverse in price, experience and convenience. Let’s take a look at a few of the main categories to help you to understand your available options.
Professional Kennels: Kennels are typically either caged or cage free environments. Run by dog professionals and staffed by technicians with a broad range of experiences and qualifications, kennels should be toured prior to drop off to ensure the environment is as advertised. Kennels have a standard pricing structure that can normally be found on their websites, and you can easily price compare using the internet or a listing service online.
Drop in Dog Sitter: Professional sitters will visit your dog in your own home and take him or her out to use the restroom, as well as feed and change water. Dog sitters normally charge per visit, but some have the option for an overnight or all day stay. Choosing this option allows your dog to stay in his or her own home, and reduces hassle for you of moving your dog to a different location.
Private Home Dog Boarding: For many dog owners, taking your pup to a friend or family member’s home is a familiar option. The caretaker is often someone you can trust, knowledgeable about dogs, and is free or very inexpensive. However, dog owners who travel often may feel uncomfortable about constantly imposing on friends and family, and may find themselves in a bind if their normal option is unavailable. A new crop of websites, (including Rover.com!) are working to build communities of in home dog boarding solutions to help dog owners elect this option regularly if that is what works best for you and your dog.
There are pros and cons to all of the above approaches, and one may work well for some dogs, but not others. For example, kennels may be most appropriate for frequent or last-minute travelers because they are easy to find and often have availability. However, if you have dogs that are older, fragile, aggressive with other dogs, or non-social, a kennel with many other, potentially unsupervised, dogs could be problematic. In these cases, a private home can provide more individualized attention & and a less stressful/chaotic environment for your best friend – often at cheaper prices than kennels. In the Seattle area for example, the average price per night of five popular kennels is $40. The average price for private in home boarding is $25 per night. Kennels often get booked well in advance during high traffic times, whereas a private home almost always has availability because people choose to board dogs when they are home from work during the holidays.
As the weather turns colder and we spend more time inside during these wintery months, there is nothing better than curling up with your pup and waiting for spring. But when those long work days or travel far from home keep you away, we hope that this post helps you pick the boarding option that ensures the safety and comfort of your four-legged pal.