Find a pet boarder near you

Find a pet boarder near you

Find a pet boarder near you

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

Is boarding your dog safe?

Yes, boarding your dog is safe when you find the right boarding facility.

While it can be difficult to leave your dog, there are many times when boarding your dog is safer than having a pet sitter. If your dog is older or requires medicine a boarding facility may be a safer place for you pooch.

The staff there can monitor your dog, administer medicine in many cases and have the expertise to know when a visit to the vet is necessary.

Of course, you should be comfortable with both the boarding facilities and staff before boarding your dog. Thumbtack helps you to narrow your search to a list of trusted pros so you can make the right decision.

Should you tip a pet sitter?

Yes, you should tip a pet sitter if they’ve gone above and beyond in taking care of your pet.

Tipping a pet sitter is a personal decision. In general, you can think of it like tipping in a restaurant. If the service was okay, tip the pet sitter between 10% and 15%. If the service was above average then tip 20% or more.

Remember that pet sitters are taking care of a member or members of your family. So if they’re doing a great job then tipping them seems like the least you can do.

What do I need to bring when boarding my dog?

It is recommended that you bring the following 6 things when boarding your dog.


Proper identification is a crucial part of dog ownership overall and more important when your pooch is staying somewhere else. Make sure you have a collar with an ID tag and, when possible, have your dog microchipped as well.

Emergency Contact Information

While we all hope that nothing will go wrong while your dog is boarded you want to be prepared. That means making sure that the dog boarding facility has your up-to-date emergency contact information. This information should include you, a backup and your veterinarian.


Bring any medicine or supplements that your dog will need while boarded. You will also want to include any accessories such as pill pockets or syringes as needed. While the boarding facility may have backup supplies, you want to ensure your pooch has everything they need while you’re away.


Your dog probably has a few favorite toys. Bring one, but not all, of those toys to the boarding facility so they have a familiar activity. While it’s great to have a toy that they enjoy, they can often go missing if they’re interacting with other dogs. So choose wisely.

Comfort of Home

A reminder of home can be a great comfort to many dogs. Do they have a blanket they sleep on regularly? Or maybe a towel or lovey that they cozy up with at home? Whatever it is, bring one along so they can always take snuggle up and relax.


The boarding facility will have food but they won’t have every variety under the sun. So bring your dog’s favorite food and snacks so that part of their routine won’t change. You might even want to bring a second type of food if you know your dog sometimes has digestion issues.

How do I prepare my dog for boarding?

There are 5 ways you can prepare your dog emotionally for boarding. Your dog will miss you but you can help ensure your pooch is less anxious before you’re reunited.

Spend Extra Time Together

Before you go, make sure you spend extra time with your dog. Play with them more. Go for more walks. Just generally be there for your dog before you’re away from them for any length of time.

Get Lots of Exercise

You don’t want your dog to be a bundle of nervous energy when you bring them to the boarding facility. Make every effort to get your pooch a lot of exercise. Tire them out before you go so that they’re less anxious and sleepier.

Bring Familiar Items

Bring familiar toys, treats and snuggies with you to the boarding facility. Your dog will miss you less if they have familiar surroundings and smells. It won’t replace the real thing but they’ll maintain a connection with you when you’re gone.

Calming Products

There are a host of calming products for your dog, from pheromones to other types of supplements. There are even some owners who say CBD oil makes all the difference.

The key here is to find the right product to take the edge off of this stressful time. Not all dogs will need this but if your dog is prone to separation anxiety then this can be a dog saver.

Stay Calm

Your dog is going to mirror back your own emotions. So if you are anxious and near tears as you drop them at the boarding facility they’ll be equally upset. Instead, stay calm and even upbeat while making the handoff to the boarding facility. Treat it like a vacation instead of a forced separation.

What is the difference between dog sitting and boarding?

The difference between dog sitting and dog boarding is about where your dog stays while you’re away.

When you board your dog you take them to the equivalent of a hotel for dogs. Your dog will be cared for by the staff and may interact with other dogs being boarded.

When you hire a dog sitter your dog remains at your home and the sitter visits to feed, walk and play with your dog.

Boarding a dog may be a better option for puppies that need more attention, dogs that are destructive or who have separation anxiety issues. Your dog will usually have more interaction with both humans and other dogs when boarded.

Dog sitting may be a better option for older dogs set in their ways or dogs from multi-pet families. In both instances, your dog may enjoy familiar surroundings and won’t need as much attention.

No matter which route you take, always make sure you’re hiring a reputable service, something Thumbtack makes easy.

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