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House and Pet Sitter for Longer Trip

Finally retired and we would like to take a long Eurail Style trip all over Central and East Europe but we are tied down with pets. We will leave them for tops 3 weeks with a drop in sitter (feeds the cat and dog and walks the dog). We are not comfortable with more than that time. Has anyone had experience with long term (6-8 week) house and pet sitter? What websites are the best?

Posted by
7046 posts

Is it possible to have someone house sit while you're away, as opposed to just dropping in? I don't know how long your pets have been without your company on prior trips, or how they will react. I don't have pets of my own but have house/pet sat for long trips (about 2 weeks max) and the pets seemed to be fine and didn't show any discernible anxiety (although they really seemed to enjoy the company). I'm not sure if you have that option or could be a family member or a neighbor or someone who really likes animals, etc.

Posted by
247 posts

Family and friends are the best resource if you have someone who could stay with your pets and watch over your home while you're gone. Or if you have dogs, do you have a friend/family member who is also a dog lover who could let your dogs "join their pack" while your away?

Barring that, is sometimes a good resource for finding pet sitters. Some pet sitters will "kennel" dogs in their own home (aka let them join their family) for longer stays. Cats usually don't require as much attention and would probably do ok in your home with a pet sitter visiting 2-3 days a week to care for their needs and give them some attention.

There are websites like that are for hiring a longer term house sitter. I don't have personal experience with seems really odd to let a complete stranger stay in my house...but I suppose for some people this works out quite well. I've considered this option very seriously in the past, but have managed to beg and/or pay friends/family to help instead.

The worst option in my opinion is an actual boarding kennel. My dogs hate the kennels and are stressed after just 1 overnight. I'd hate to think how depressed they'd be after several weeks. :(

Posted by
2979 posts

We have used a "drop in " sitter for a cat but I would never do it for a dog---they need company.

Posted by
506 posts

Three weeks was the longest we had left our little house dog, who thought she was a person. But we had an older retired lady who was just happy to stay at the house 24/7 and just enjoy a larger house, good TV and our little dog. The dog I can tell you was probably better when we got home than with us. Our house sitter did exactly what the dog needed and kept each other company. She house sat for us until our dog passed away at 15 years old last December. If you can find someone like that, retired, maybe lives in a small home, apartment and wants a good get away. We paid her $30.00 a day. At this point we are probably not going to have any more pets because we travel a lot more and like the freedom.

Posted by
795 posts

We have pets and a house and travel for long periods of time. We use House Sitters of America. They can line you up with someone who will live in your home rent-free and take care of things, protect the house from intruders who notice it is empty, and take care of your pets and plants. You can place ads for free and choose who you want. You don't pay them anything- they get to live in your home for free- while you have the security of knowing your property is protected and your pets are watched over. Here is their site- What if your house caught on fire? Imagine your pets trapped in there and dying in agony because their sitter only dropped in here and there? This is why we hire housesitters.

Posted by
31564 posts

should house sitters and pet sitters receive a tip? What about drop in ones?

Posted by
162 posts

I have used I was also a host for that website and loved having a "guest" for 2 weeks. Another suggestion is do you know anyone, friend or relative that would come and stay? I wouldn't recommend a kennel for that long, but taking your kids to someone else's house would be fine. Check out dogvacay!

Posted by
219 posts

Hi llwil,

This has been our toughest issue when traveling on longer trips such as Europe. We have two little doxies who are the loves of our lives and used to being around people (us) all the time. I originally thought family would help (even willing to pay them) but changes in life situations now prevent that. We lucked out and found a couple who actually dog-sit in their home; the dogs can even sleep on their bed and they send us videos and photos so this worried "mom" can vacation with peace of mind. I found them through word of mouth asking many other dog owners. My back up when they are unavailable I found on a website called and they have been good as well. I would love nothing more than to find someone to house-sit in our home and watch over them while we are away but we live out in the country and haven't had any luck doing that. I totally feel for you and wish you good luck! There is a real niche out there for house/pet sitters that is not being filled. Maybe dogvacay will work out for you.
Happy Travels

Posted by
2251 posts

My dog/cat/housesitter is a vet tech who works at the vet clinic I have been using (supporting??) for years. You might check with your clinic for someone similar who will stay in your home. Or ask your vet for recommendations; maybe post a 3x5 card there (if allowed). She charges $10 per pet per day and given her education and expertise, I feel that's a real bargain. Although she did have to cope with an infestation of bats 2 summers ago when we were in Nice..........Fortunately, she still comes when I ask!

Posted by
335 posts

I too use a vet tech that does pet sitting on the side. There are 2 techs at our vets that do this. But maybe it's the area I'm from, they charge $40 p/day whether you have 1 pet or 4. They do come & stay at the house though.

Posted by
66 posts

Have you tried DogVacay? It's like VRBO or Airbnb for dogs.

We have no relatives nearby and didn't feel comfortable asking neighbors to babysit our dog for long trips, since she needs lots of exercise and company, but we didn't want to use 'kennel' boarding at the Vet's or Petco or Petsmart which seems too institutionalized for our dog.

DogVacay is people willing to 'housesit' your dog at their home (often times with their own dogs for company) for a daily fee.

You can check out reviews from previous users and best of all, arrange for a Meet & Greet session with the 'sitter' with your pet (and theirs) to see compatibility etc... After a few of these 'MeetNGreets' where I ruled out some because various reasons (house was too small, low fence where my dog could escape, resident dog seems nervous, etc..) I was comfortable with leaving my dog with a dog fanatic lady who had a fenced yard, willing to keep my dog to a schedule of 2X daily walks, and she sends me videos and picture daily (her service). I paid about $30 a day (high for our area, there were people charging half that) but it was worth the peace of mind knowing our family member was well taken care of exactly as we wanted. Our dog loved the stays at her DogVacay 'boarding'.

Posted by
3861 posts

The home exchange company that we use has an option for those seeking pet/house sitting or offering pet/house sitting. Someone would come to stay in your home for no fee. We have never used this option as we usually do straight exchanges. You would develop trust via emails, Skype calls and references prior to committing to an arrangement with the house/pet sitter. Our exchange couples/families have all been wonderful and we have been using this agency every summer since 1995. They have been around for more than 60 years (back in the printed catalog and fax days). You can look at their listings for free, you just can't see names and addresses unless you pay a fee to join.

Posted by
4086 posts

Now for another perspective. We live out in the desert. It's about 30 miles from the closest real grocery store. I cant even get a service or anyone to come to the house to clean, so getting someone to come here to take care of our dog, including walking him on unpaved roads in an area where you are likely to see coyotes, javelina, jackrabbits and an occasional rattler, is highly unlikely.

We have left him with two different friends who also had dogs when they absolutely insisted. In spite of short trial runs, it was not good for them or him.

We are lucky that there is a kennel in town (Creature Comforts Pet Resort) that takes excellent care of him for a reasonable cost ($20 per day). He is such a regular that the staff all know him. He likes going there so much that he runs to them when we arrive and I barely get to say goodbye.

Last year he spent a total of about 14 weeks there. The longest stretch was 6 weeks while we were in Europe.

We started out with a different kennel. It is a place where law enforcement dogs are trained. We liked it fine until he came home covered in ticks -- after being groomed for us. That was the last time he stayed there.

So, whether it's a pet sitter in your house or leaving your pet in someone else's home or finding a good kennel, it may take a couple of false starts to find the best option.

Posted by
527 posts

I have two dogs and always worry about them while away on trips. We have used boarding kennels, never at pet store or vet, I would not want either of my boys to be kept, all day in a small cage. We recently moved and I discovered a fabulous kennel, Rover's Resort. I stopped by unannounced one morning and requested a tour. They promptly led the way back and allowed me to walk throughout their property. No area was off limits. They only requested I not pet the animals. This open door policy made me feel reassured both my boys would be taken care of, all the dogs seemed happy and the business is well maintained. They even have a facebook page and post pictures of all the pets. Plus, will respond to emails promptly. My guys are always excited when we turn into their drive, they know where they are going. They rush in and head back willingly. They are always happy to see us, but never have acted traumatized by their stay. They have stayed from 1 night to 2 weeks.

You might have a similar kennel in your area that you could drop in on to check out. You could also to a test run, allow your pets to be boarded for a night. You could also take them to day care, if kennel provides this service.

Posted by
1218 posts

My 2 cents - I am a pet sitter, I board dogs in my home (cage free) and my clients love that their dogs can run free. I also do house visits, but would not recommend for more than a few days. Pets need love and attention. I would board them in a home---Not a kennel where they will be in a cage!!

You can google in your city, or use craigslist - be careful! - to find reputable agencies that are licensed, bonded, and insured.

On the other side, I recently spent 3 weeks in Europe and had a friend of a friend stay in my house to take care of my dogs and house. Still was a worried mom, but got texts and pics often!

Check out with Sit-N-Stay as they are voted as one of the best pet sitters by Atlanta Magazine. They provide many services such as Pet Sitting, In-Home Pet Sitting, Dog Walking and Overnight Pet Sitting.
Apart from this, they have an on-call veterinarian 24 hours a day, animal first aid certified, bonded & insured. I hope this much information will help you to know decide on choosing the pet sitter helps.

Posted by
48 posts

I had great luck with You can pick someone from a bunch of applicants to stay in your home and watch your pets for no charge (the sitters see it as a free place to stay on vacation). All sitters have reviews and you can pick ones that also have had background checks if you feel better about that. Good luck!

Posted by
3956 posts

The security of your house is a related issue. A residence left untended for weeks at a time risks theft, water-pipe breaks, et cetera, none of which your house insurance will be happy about. My cat wrangler also takes care of the daily mail, newspaper delivery, and both indoor and outdoor plants.