Big picture when you’re looking for a dog sitter

There are five options to consider. These are listed below. You will want to decide on which option to go with based on the following:

  • What are the emotional needs of your kin?
  • What are the emotional needs that you have for being away from her?
  • What is the cost of each option?
  • Which option is the easiest to coordinate?
  • Will there be other dogs or kids present and what are these dynamics?
  • Are any immunizations required or spaying/neutering required? 

Look for these five options in your city or region:

  • A trusted neighbor who can bring your dog to their place or come pop into your place a few times a day in order to feed your dog according to her schedule and keep her safe and at ease.
  • A trusted family member who can do these same things as the neighbor.
  • A dog sitting co-op that will bring your dog to one fo the homes of their dog sitters. Be sure that this co-op is run carefully with an interview, a matching process, and a meet and greet. This way, you will know that everything and everyone aligns.
  • A dog sitting co-op can also keep your dog at your place and pop in a few times a day to take care of her. This pop in option is only right for kin who are used to being alone at night and won’t destroy your place from the emotional energies of stress, worry, and/or boredom.
  • Dog boarding resorts also exist. This was news to me. Within the resort, there are different accommodations and prices for each type of accommodation. These places can be loud with many dogs voicing their ideas all day! Many resorts are busy, managing outside and inside time for various groups of dogs, meeting feeding and cleaning schedules, and so forth. These busy and loud places are a match for only some kin temperaments.

Details when you’re looking for a dog sitter

Start early: Start planning months in advance! A lot of families take spots with the co-ops and resorts. With family and neighbors, they too might need to have advanced planning. 

Use intuition: If any of the options feels weird or uncomfortable, then don’t do it. Your hunch about how your kin will be treated or experience the dog sitters is mostly on point.

Prioritize comfort: Be sure that the dog sitter that you choose knows your kin’s schedule and favorite thing/toy so that she can be as comfortable as possible with her family away.

Request updates: Also, it is not too much to ask to have the sitter send you a short daily update or picture. Many dog sitters already do this because they know that we love and miss our kin. Ask the sitter in advance to do this and advocate for this if there is not follow-through when you’re away.

Photograph by Noel Lopez

Quick list

  1. Research the options in your city or region and start early.


  2. Meet with or go by and visit all of the options that you’re interested in. Ask questions about their practices, offerings, safety, other dogs or kids present, etc.


  3. Follow what your intuition says about each option.


  4. Pack your kin’s favorite things if she is going somewhere else. If there are other dogs in the space, ask about how to send your kin with objects that might cause competition among the pups.


  5. Expect daily updates and/or pics.