Dog Sitting and Daycare

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By Pet Expert Team
Updated: 6/20/20242-4 minutes
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If you find yourself working a lot or going on a trip where you can’t take your pup with you, you might be wondering about what dog sitting and daycare services are available.

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, 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 careers, including dog and puppy daycare and sitting services. 

What is Dog Sitting?

Dog sitting is having a person 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 options:

Dog Walkers

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.

Doggy Daycare

Alternatively, in dog daycare, they will spend the day in a dedicated center 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!

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 license 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.

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. .

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 Neighbor to Check In

If your family members live too far away, ask your neighbor if they will drop in occasionally to check on the puppy. This will help with housebreaking the puppy while you are at work. 

Pet Sitter

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 socialize 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 behavior 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 recognizable 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. 

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.

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 With You

If your dog or puppy is joining you on vacation rather than staying in puppy daycare, they’re not alone. Indeed, many people don’t consider it family vacation unless their canine companion is there to share the fun! Fortunately, more and more places are catering for dog owners.

Always ask your vet’s advice before booking a trip with your dog, just to make sure they’re ready.


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