Dog Boarding with a Host Family

Having your dog stay with a host family is a good in-between solution when dog boarding at home isn’t possible and dog boarding houses or kennels just aren’t right for either of you. Boarding your dog at the pet sitter’s home is the best way to make sure that your dog is taken care of well while you’re away.

What does dog boarding with a host family mean?

If you can’t have someone you know to come to your house and take care of your pet while you’re away, if you don´t feel comfortable with having a stranger live at your place during your absence or if a kennel doesn’t feel right for you, then dog boarding with a host family is what you need! Your pet will be looked after by an experienced pet sitter. But remember to start looking for the right person as soon as you can.

You will find plenty of companies offering dog boarding at the sitters´ homes on the internet. But finding plenty of ads is one thing, entrusting your beloved pet to somebody you don’t know is another.

Holidog is the number one pet sitting platform and only selects trustworthy pet sitters. You can check the profile of a lot of experienced dog sitters that would love to welcome your pet in their home while you are away. The perfect home away from home for your furry friend is literally just a few clicks away.

What should I know before booking a dog boarding service?

You have opted for dog boarding with a host family. Now its time to book one. Here are some tips that will help you book the perfect dog sitter to host you dog.

Ask questions

Don’t rush and take your time. You need to contact the person and ask questions: are there other pets? Are they sociable? Are they vaccinated and wormed? Does the house have a garden? If yes, is it secured? If you’re satisfied with the answers, arrange to go and view the house. You need to have a good idea of where your dog may be staying. Once there, check that everything is secured and as described. Don’t forget to ask the pet sitter about the sleeping areas.

It’s a good idea to ask about the time, length, frequency and location of your dog’s daily walks. If there are several dogs, how many people will look after them all? If your dog is a really big one, ask if s/he is used to big dogs. Is s/he is familiar with your dog’s particular breed?

Pet sitters that offer dog boarding in their home are required by law to have a dog boarding license. Ask them about this and in case the dog sitter does not have a license, ask yourself if this is a good option for you.

Meet in person and view the house

Share everything that your pet sitter needs to know about your pet’s character. If it prefers to be the only pet in the home, a family with several pets may clearly not be the best choice.

You can also come with your dog so that it can have a look at his temporary new home and meet with all family members, including other pets if there are any. Observe your pet’s reactions: does it look comfortable? Pay attention to its behaviour and that of the host family members. If all goes well and you are feeling comfortable with how the visit went, then you’ve likely found the perfect host.

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How to prepare for dog boarding with a host family?

Now that you have found the perfect dog sitter and are about to leave your dog in his care, you need to take a few precautionary measures to ensure all goes well:

  • Prepare your pet’s belongings and make sure that you don’t forget anything: food, toys, comforters, basket, medication if needed, health records, etc. Everything must be there. Bring also something with your smell on it in order to reassure your companion during his first few days in a new environment.

  • Be clear about the quantity of food to give your pet, as well as meal times. Likewise, do not forget to let the pet sitter know if your pet has a condition that requires treatment. Explain when the treatment has to be given, in which quantity and how it should be given. Describe the usual symptoms so that your pet sitter knows how to react if need be. Remember to leave a copy of your pet’s health records along with the phone number of your vet and the contact details of someone you trust in case of an emergency.

  • Describe your pet’s behaviour and its habits as precisely as possible. Is he timorous? Daring? Does he tend to run away? Is he sometimes aggressive towards his peers? Or does he have a sociable character? That way, the dog boarding host will be able to identify problematic situations quickly and find a solution if need be. Give lots of details, even the ones that seem the most insignificant to you.

  • Make sure that vaccinations are up to date and your dog is wormed! You may even pay your vet a quick visit and have your dog weighted: too much stress can lead to weight loss while over pampering to weight gain. The visit will allow you to compare the numbers when you return and act accordingly.

How do I avoid extreme stress

If your pet is anxious by nature, think about bringing pheromone vaporisers. They will help to calm down your pet’s anxiety. If need be, there are various treatments for stress. Ask your vet for advice.

In order to avoid your dog stressing too much as your departure comes close, apply some strategies to calm it down. First of all, do not change your usual habits: your pet would notice immediately. Do not say goodbye when you leave home on the days prior to your departure; do not get excited while preparing your luggage; do not try to make up for your absence by looking excessively after your pet. It must not notice any changes in attitude since animals are real emotional sponges.

Bring your pet’s toys, comforters and favorite treats to the pet sitter's ́ home. Leave your pet something that smells of you. But overall, don’t let the goodbyes drag on. Catch up regularly to see how your dog is doing and ask for pictures or videos in order to see for yourself that everything is going well.

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