Among the excitement of planning a vacation or getaway, there’s always the extra task of figuring out affordable pet care for your dog. Since dogs require a high level of attention, leaving them home alone just isn’t an option.
Often times, this means paying for expensive dog boarding, which despite the high cost, isn’t always the best choice. Depending on the facility, pets often return from dog boarding traumatized either by other dogs or from simply being away from their own home and familiar surroundings.
There’s got to be a better, more affordable way, right?
Luckily, there are many great in home pet care alternatives to dog boarding these days. Today I’m going to share 6 other affordable pet care services and ideas with you that won’t break the bank.
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Affordable Pet Care Alternative #1:
Have A Friend or Family Member House Sit
If you’ve got a friend or family member who loves dogs, and hopefully you do, having a friend stay at your place while you’re away will assure that both your home and pet are well taken care of and safe. In home pet care with a loved one is a great option especially for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety or anxiety in general. They will be 100% more comfortable staying in their own space with a familiar face than at a dog boarding facility.
Thank your friend with a card and small gesture or gift at the end of their stay to let them know they’re appreciated. Not only is a small thank you a perfectly affordable pet care option, it also means your friend will be more likely to say yes to watching your dog again when you need it.
Affordable Pet Care Alternative #2:
Join Trusted House Sitters For FREE In Home Pet Care
Trusted House Sitters is perhaps the in home pet care alternative I’m most excited to share with you today. Maybe it’s because I love to travel and I love dogs and this pet care service combines both. Let me back up a bit and explain exactly how Trusted House Sitters works (and the whole free part!)
If you’re a pet owner looking for in home pet care while you’re away, Trusted House Sitters connects you to their community of background checked, professional members that are willing to travel to your home to care for your pet for free. Essentially you’re doing an exchange – a member on Trusted House Sitters who wants to travel to your area is willing to care for your pet in exchange for staying in your home for free. Simple, right?
To join Trusted House Sitters and have access to their trusted community of members, there is a one time fee of $119, but after that it is totally free! While it may seem like a lot upfront, just think about how much money you’ll save over the years. You would pay the same amount in just 2-3 days of dog boarding. The one time membership fee pays for itself the first time you have a Trusted House Sitters member come into your home to look after your pet. Everything thereafter costs you nothing. Think about that.
Plus with Trusted House Sitters you get the added benefit of your pet being able to stay comfortably in their own home and the peace of mind knowing that someone is watching over your home too while you’re away. It’s a win win for everyone.
I think it’s worth it too to know that you’re dealing with people who have been verified through background checks and are trusted like the name says. We are talking about your home and your furry loved ones after all. You wouldn’t go to Craigslist to find a random person to dog sit would you? I wouldn’t.
To learn more about Trusted House Sitters or become a member, so you can start enjoying free pet care, click here.
On the flip side, if YOU want to be the one doing the traveling and looking after people’s homes and pets as part of the Trusted House Sitters community, click here to become a Trusted House Sitters member. You can choose where you want to go! If caring for someone’s pet with a free place to stay in the big city or by the beach sounds like heaven to you, what are you waiting for?
The Trusted House Sitters one time membership fee is totally nominal compared to how much you’ll spend on a hotel in just one trip… or traveling over the years for that matter. Plus you get to snuggle someones furbaby.
Check out Trusted House Sitters here for more information.
Affordable Pet Care Alternative #3:
Pay A Neighbor To Come By
Your neighbors are the closest people near you when you get in a pinch, so getting to know them (especially if they have dogs too) can be a great resource for in home pet care. And when I say get to know them, I mean get to know them!! You’ll want to start building a foundation BEFORE you ask them to watch your dog.
You can offer to pay them to come by a few times a day to feed and walk your dog or if they’ll take your dog into their home while you’re away. Depending upon your relationship with your neighbors, some neighbors may be happy to help you out at no cost. Be sure to let them know that you’re willing to return the favor.
Affordable Pet Care Alternative #4:
Use The Wag App For An On Demand Dog Walker
If you’re only going to be away from your low-maintenance dog for 1 to 2 days, or even if you’re just feeling a little guilty for being at the office all day, having a professional dog walker come in to walk and feed your pet is a convenient in home pet care service option.
An awesome dog walking company that I recommend is Wag!, which is like “uber for dogs”. And if you use promo code FIRSTWALK you can get your first walk FREE! But more on that in a minute.
So what is Wag anyway?
Wag! is an app that gives you on demand access to professional dog walkers near you. The Wag app shows you dog walkers in your area that are guaranteed to be available at the time you need them, every day, between the hours of 6am-11pm. I love the flexibility of Wag dog walking, and the long hours make it easy to schedule. Once you hit that request button, your Wag dog walker will be at your door within 30-60 minutes. You can also book ahead though, which is a good option if you are not going to be home to make the exchange.
So how do you make the exchange anyway? It’s actually quite simple. Wag! provides free lock boxes to safely store your house key for your dog walker to gain access to your home and pet. Then you can monitor every step of the walk on the Wag app GPS.
You even receive a “report card” afterwards with your dog’s photo and write up of whether they did their business or not. Basically the cutest thing ever…
I know what you’re thinking… “Sounds cool, but is my home and pet safe?”
Yes! Dog walks provided by Wag! are insured and bonded so you can feel confident using the service. Your home is also protected up to $1,000,000 so no sweat there.
Each dog walker at Wag! is screened to ensure your dog receives the best pet care while in their hands…literally. You can also rate the dog walker and leave a comment after you use the service, which shows up on the dog walker’s profile. I find this particularly valuable and helpful when choosing a dog walker since I know that the information is coming from other real customers.
So to recap this awesome service, the Wag app provides:
- On-demand dog walkers in your area
- Requests fulfilled within 30-60 minutes or at scheduled time
- Hours of operation 6am-11pm
- Free lock boxes
- GPS monitoring
- Report card
- Insured and bonded and background checked
- Dog walker ratings from real customers
Now back to the the best part – you can use the Wag! promo code FIRSTWALK to get your first walk for free! Sign up for Wag! here.
If you want to work for Wag! and become dog walker, you can apply here.
Affordable Pet Care Alternative #5:
Take Your Dog With You
Don’t want to leave your dog behind? You don’t have to! Bringing your dog with you on vacation is totally possible, it just takes a little bit more planning on your part. This includes planning your pet’s reservation if flying, what you’ll need to bring for your dog on the journey to your destination, as well as where you’ll stay and what you’ll do when you get there.
Unless you’re staying with friends, be sure to book a pet friendly hotel. Make some plans to include Fido while on vacation too!
Of course you can always use the Wag app to schedule a dog walker or dog sitter to come give your dog some attention. That way you can ensure he or she isn’t feeling neglected in an unfamiliar place while you’re out enjoying other non-pet friendly activities.
Affordable Pet Care Alternative #6:
Use Care.com to Find An Affordable Dog Sitter or Dog Walker
Another great resource for finding affordable pet care is Care.com. Care.com is a website that offers in home pet care services by connecting pet owners looking to hire and qualified people in your area looking to do the job. You can post a job or browse profiles of personal pet care providers you’re interested in, and find a great match that fits your budget and pet’s needs based on the information provided.
Care.com profiles include rates, availability, years of experience, and verified reviews of in home pet care providers that come straight from real people who have previously hired them. Care.com’s Premium Membership allows you to contact their personal pet care providers and even access background checks and references. I wouldn’t hire anyone that didn’t have any recommendations or references, so I find this super important when looking to hire someone to love and care for my furbaby.
A lot of dog sitters on Care.com also provide other pet care services including grooming and training, so you can get the most bang for your buck. If have both a dog and kids you’re leaving behind on your travels, you can really kill two birds with one stone using Care.com as you can also find a personal qualified provider who loves caring for both kids and dogs.
With that, I’ll conclude this list of affordable pet care alternatives to dog boarding. What do you think are some of the best and most affordable pet care options out there? Share in the comments!
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