Kennel or home boarding: How to find a dog sitter for Christmas

Author picture Ralf  - updated: 01/12/2019

Professional kennels and individual dog sitters may already be booked up for Christmas and New Year's Eve, yet many pet owners seeking to travel still need a solution for their dog for the upcoming holidays. If you are looking for a pet minder for your dog, it's important to look for an arrangement that suits your dog best so that both of you have a stress-free holiday period.

1. A kennel or a personal pet sitter?

For some dogs, a kennel or professional dog boarding facility can be the best solution. Kennels must meet standardized animal welfare requirements and can be a great place for dogs that like playing with other dogs. Before you book, always ask to see the place where your dog will be staying. A quality kennel should provide your dog with their own quiet, clean spot, and ensure time to run and play outside several times a day. Also, pay attention to the price: if a kennel seems super cheap, quality can be compromised and it's possible that not much time will be spent on your dog. Dog boarding costs range from about £15 to £40 per day depending on the quality of the facility and the services it offers. 

However, not all dogs are suited to kennels. For some dogs, boarding kennels can be quite stressful, especially if the boarding kennel is unable to provide much interaction or reassuring human supervision for your dog. Some dogs might experience stress, discomfort, and anxiety when they are surrounded by many stranger dogs. For those dogs, it is better to have a personal dog sitter who comes to look after your dog in your home or provide personal care for your dog in their home.

Whether at a kennel or with a private sitter it is always a good idea to look for dog minders whose company is reviewed by an independent review community such as Trustpilot.

2. Stay at home or board with a sitter?

If your pet is very attached to its own home environment, you can arrange a house sitter. The house sitter will stay at your home when you aren't there, so your dog's routine can remain exactly the same as if you never left. The house sitter not only takes care of your dog but also keeps your house tidy and inhabited during your absence - which is great for home security too! The plants can be watered, bins are taken in and out and the mail collected, just as if you were home.  

Of course, you can also find a place for your dog to stay. With home dog boarding, your dog will spend the night at the dog sitter's own home. Using a Pawshake pet sitter is just like asking family members or friends to take in your dog while you are away.

3. Alone or with several dogs?

Is your dog a bit nervous of other dogs? Dogs that are anxious or just don't like to get along with other dogs are best placed with a pet sitter where there are no other dogs around. If you search on Pawshake, choose the filter 'sitter has no dogs' and ask if the sitter only hosts 1 dog at a time. Alternatively, go with a house sitter.

But maybe your dog likes having a furry playmate? There are many sitters who take more than one dog or also have a dog of their own. If the host dog gets along with your dog at the meet and greet, you can rest easy knowing your pooch will have extra fun and playtime! Whether at someone's home or at a kennel ALWAYS have a thorough meet and greet in advance to check that the dogs all get along well, that there is enough space in and around the house or kennel and that every dog ​​gets enough attention and rest.

4. Quiet sitter or a lively family?

Dog sitters welcoming dogs into their home can come in all shapes and sizes: single-person households where it's nice and quiet, or young families where it is vibrant and lively. Consider carefully whether your pet gets along with children, and choose a dog sitter that suits your dog's personality. Choose the filter 'sitter has no kids' if that's the best option for your dog.

Whether with a quiet sitter or a family make sure that you leave clear, detailed information so that there is no confusion or guessing involved. Leave a note specifying exactly how much food to your pet gets every meal, including if treats are okay. If your dog takes medication, leave instructions on how much they take and the best method to give it to them.

5. Firework-free locations for your dog

Is your dog afraid of fireworks? Then you can search for a dog boarder in a firework-free environment. Avoid busy inner-city locations or parks and beaches where you know there might be New Year celebrations. When you contact sitters or kennels, ask them if they live in a firework-free environment. Here are some important tips on how to keep your dog safe during fireworks.

6. Meet and greet with the pet sitter

Whether you go for a personal dog sitter or a professional kennel, always ask to see the location before you book. At Pawshake, you should always have an introductory meet and greet with the dog sitter - free of charge and without obligations. Simply arrange to stop by with your dog at the pet sitter's house, have a look around, ask questions and see if your dog is comfortable with the pet sitter. A trustworthy sitter will want to make sure that they fully understand your dog's requirements so that they can fully accommodate your pet's routine. Make sure that you also ask what will happen in case your pet becomes sick and how much support is provided. Read more about how to meet and greet through Pawshake here.

7. Book home dog boarding for Christmas in advance

During the holidays, many kennels and home boarding pet sitters often fully booked up early, so don't wait until the last moment to look for your perfect pet sitter. A reputable dog sitter will only be too happy to provide reviews and testimonials. And once you have found an available dog sitter? Maintain a critical eye and only make a formal reservation if you really feel comfortable and your dog is happy with the pet sitter too. It's really important that the dog sitter is experienced and matches the needs and character of your dog so that you can both have a nice relaxed Christmas and fun New Year celebration.

Find a dog boarder for Christmas and New Year's at Pawshake