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Finding Your Perfect Dog Sitter Has Never Been Easier

Dogs are allowed in more public places than ever, including in California restaurants.

But sadly there are times when your best friend can’t tag along.

If you’ve got a dog that you don’t want to part with, RVing to some places can be a bit of a challenge.

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How to Pick the Best Temporary Home For Your Dog

Although more unique dog boarding options for RVers and travelers are springing up every day, it can be tough to know which ones offer the best care for your dog’s needs.

The good news is you don’t have to stick him or her in any old kennel.

Here’s a list of five Do’s and Don’ts you can use to ensure safe, quality dog boarding on the road.

dog vacay crater lake
Dogs get lots of love at Crater Lake K9 Care

DO: Know Your Dog’s Personality

Does your dog like to run with the pack?

Or is your pup a lone wolf?

Understanding your dog’s unique characteristics will help you determine the best boarding facility for his needs.

For example, there are a few distinct types of dog care boarding facilities, one of which is sure to make your dog feel happy and comfortable:

  • Boarding kennels that offer a “group play” environment
  • Dog care providers who segregate dogs according to size and breed.
  • Veterinary clinic hospital environments that offer no interaction with other dogs
  • Home-based businesses with more direct one-on-one care

A couple of companies lead the way in allowing you to link up with prospective boarders. Rover.com and DogVacay.com both operate online booking systems so you can find reputable and inexpensive dog boarding services on your own terms.

These two services connect travelers with thousands of trusted and insured dog-loving pet sitters across the country.

And either is a great choice if you’re on the move in your RV. DogVacay seems to be a bigger outfit with a larger selection of hosts and I’ll focus on their services in this article.

Be sure to share your experiences with either service in the comments.

taking care of dogs through dog vacay crater lake
Some DogVacay hosts will take care of recuperating dogs as well

Dog Vacay pet sitters offer many different styles of pet care, from one-on-one attention with no other dogs in their home to a doggie Disneyland-style backyard paradise.

Some Dog Vacay providers will even watch your dog in your RV at the campground while you’re out exploring.

The DogVacay service is a realistic option for dogs who don’t do well in traditional boarding kennels.

This type of customized care is also ideal for dogs who’ve had recent surgeries, whether a major operation like a limb amputation or a simple neuter or spay.

Providers like Maura Lolandi of Crater Lake K9 Care treat their canine guests like family and provides individualized care.

She says on her profile,

Most K9 visitors roam freely in the yard, playing and interacting as they wish. Then, quiet time is usually spent relaxing in our air-conditioned home. Small dogs and those that don’t play well with others are kept safe and happy with separate areas and activities . . . our small farm is a K9 haven.

DON’T: Choose a Kennel Based on Price

Price isn’t everything when it comes to choosing a quality dog care provider.

Cheap dog care means just that – less careful attention to your dog’s behavior, poorly qualified staff and in general a riskier environment.

A dog’s life is worth more than the cheapest dog care prices, and your dog trusts that they will be safe in the hands of competent pet sitters.

Most dog boarding prices start at $25 a night.

If prices are lower, it’s best to look elsewhere.

dogs relaxing at a dog vacay owners house
Try to find a host with a peaceful, outdoor setting for your dog

DO: Ask What’s Included In The Price

Dog care providers often take an a-la-carte approach to how they look after your dog, and pricing often depends on:

  • Length of day care or overnight boarding stays
  • The size of the kennel your dog requires
  • If they are providing food, or if you are
  • How much interaction your dog requires with people and/or other canines
  • Medications that need to be given
  • Grooming needs

DON’T: Leave Without Inspecting the Facility

A qualified dog boarding facility will allow you to check out sleeping quarters, dog runs and ask as many questions as you like to feel confident about allowing your dog to stay there.

Find time to inspect the facility before your dog’s drop-off date, and don’t leave without asking yourself:

  • Are the kennels are cleaned and odor-free?
  • Is there an adequate ratio of dogs to human supervisors?
  • Who supervises the facility at night?

DO: Get Your Dog Vaccinated

Your dog needs current vaccinations to stay in any board and care facility.

Here’s what your dog will likely need:

DPPStands for Distemper, Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza. Either every year or every three years
Canine InfluenzaUsually recommended but not required
RabiesEither every year or every three years
BordetellaRequired annually, and you might need to specifically ask your vet for this one as it's not a routine vaccination for all dogs

For maximum protection, make sure your dog is vaccinated at least 10 days before boarding.

DON’T: Forget Protection for Location-Specific Vaccinations

When you RV from state to state, or cross country borders, your dog is exposed to different parasite risks at every location.

Make sure your dog is protected from location-specific disease risks such as Lyme disease and heartworm.

The Parasite Prevalence Map is a great tool to see where your dog is most at risk – and which vaccines he or she might need.

DO: Let Your Dog Care Provider Know About Behavioral Quirks

Is your dog nervous about being on the road and changing locations?

Is your dog aggressive, shy or fearful?

Whatever kind of emotions your dog displays during your road trip, let your dog sitter know.

Not disclosing these behaviors ahead of time can put your dog, other canine guests, and even the human providers at risk.

If anything happens you could be liable for damages and injuries unless you first disclose the risks of leaving your pet in the care of that facility.

If you use a DogVacay provider, you can purchase boarding insurance protection that covers your dog and other guests in the event of an accident.

Keep in mind that not all providers are good at handling certain breeds. If you have a strong-willed or large dog, do your best to find a provider who understands the personality traits of that breed.

When your boarding provider knows what to expect and how to handle certain behaviors, your dog will have a better and safer time away from home.

DON’T: Drop Your Dog Off Just Before Closing

Plan your route so that you arrive with your dog at least a couple of hours before closing.

If you’re showing up with your RV, make sure there’s adequate parking for your rig. Early arrival gives your dog a chance to get to know the providers, other guests and their new living quarters before it gets dark.

Don’t linger at the facility.

Think of it as a vacation for both of you and be happy, positive and nonchalant during your departure so your dog doesn’t sense your emotions at leaving her behind.

DO: Let Other RVers Know About Good and Bad Facilities

When you’re on the road and traveling through new areas, finding good boarding care for dogs can be scary.

Help other travelers by spreading the word about pet sitters and overnight care options throughout the country.

Utilize websites like Yelp.com, Angie’s List, and DogVacay to share your positive (and hopefully not too many negative) experiences with dog sitters in the U.S..

Your advice will help other RVers have an easier time finding care on the open road for their best friends.

Photo credit: Crater Lake K9 Care




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