Traveling without taking your dog along seems like the less complicated choice, but finding the right place to board your pet presents its own challenges. The peace of mind that comes with leaving your dog friend with a reliable sitter means being able to focus on actually enjoying your trip. The exacting standards of helicopter dogs owners can rival the most fretful of helicopter parents of human children — maybe because even the smartest of breeds (we’re looking at you border collie) can’t speak to us. Dog boarding, then, requires careful research, trusted recommendations, and some minimal effort in meeting the caregivers and/or visiting the boarding facility with your dog.
Pet Sitters and Kennels
DogBuddy, now part of rover.com, provides a searchable list of individual dog sitters. It’s a reasonable alternative to boarding your dog in a kennel, especially if your dog struggles to adapt to new environments. DogBuddy requires all listed sitters to be insured and sitters can set their own prices. Payments are made through the app or website. DogBuddy suggests messaging at least three available sitters to find the one who best matches the needs of you and your dog. Some sitters offer only day services, while others require overnight stays. You provide all of the food, medications, and other items your pet may need.
Fido’s Playground is a local service that ups the ante when it comes to pet sitting. Board your dog at their kennel or have a sitter stay at your house. Fido’s Playground also offers Reiki services, an alternative, hands-on healing method that may provide additional health benefits to your pets. The truly wrap-around services offered by Fido’s includes taking your dog to the vet if you can’t make the appointment, plus services to make your home appear lived in during your absence if you choose to board your dog at Fido’s kennel.
TrustedHousesitters.com uses a cashless business model; no money exchanges hands for a pet sitter. Instead, owners pay a fee to join the service and, when they are ready to travel, list their home and what needs the pets will have. Pet sitters apply to take care of your dog, in exchange for staying in your home for free during your trip. This service especially works for people who want to travel, but don’t want to spend the money on accommodations.
Feel less guilty about your globetrotting and five-star hotel lifestyle by boarding your dog in equally posh pet hotels. Dog hotels offer a variety of boarding needs, from suites to shared rooms with other dogs. They work especially well for lengthier trips because the hotels frequently offer discounts for longer boarding periods.
Hotel Cani El Vila, located outside of the city, offers suites for multiple dogs with the same owner, junior suites, mini suites, and standard rooms. Depending on the room amenities, the hotel pipes in relaxing music and offers DogTV, a television network made specifically for dogs (who knew?). Please be sure to talk to your dog ahead of time about screen time limits. Heating, air conditioning, and access to play areas are also offered. Rates start at 27 euros per night for one dog, depending upon the type of room or suite chosen. You’re going to choose a room that’s at least as nice as the one you booked for yourself, right?
Residencia Canina Dosrosas, located well outside of the city in Dosrius, only takes on 20 pets at a time in order to ensure your pet gets quality care and service. The staff actually live on the same property as the kennel, ensuring 24-hour care. Dogs have access to a huge outdoor park space in the mountains. Dosrosas also offers veterinarian supervised post-operative and post-partum care. Make sure to indicate whether you want to book a heated or unheated room. Rates begin at 22 euros for the low season. The kennel will transport your dog from home and back for an additional fee.
It’s no surprise that there are many local Facebook groups in Barcelona that have people offering typical services like dog walking and overnight pet sitting. Popular groups include Barcelona Dog Sitting Exchange, DOGS Barcelona, and Dogsitting Barcelona, These groups are doubly great because you can connect with locals. If planning in advance, this gives you and your pet ample time to meet with and get to know potential sitters. Prices can also typically be negotiated.
As with any service, do your homework. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
- Check whether the business or sitter is insured.
- For private sitters, ask for references, especially if they are also house-sitting for you.
- Visit the facility and meet with sitters well in advance and, preferably, with your pet. Many kennels and hotels offer video feed so you can check on your dog from your laptop or phone.
- Ask private dog sitters to send photographs and/or video of your dog each day.
- Review any medications and restrictions with the sitter or kennel, providing the information in writing if necessary.
Check out The Barcelona Edit’s mascots!