Quantcast

Dog Sitting Networks – When You Need Some Help

Rover_Travel_Stats_InfographicGoing away on vacation and can’t find a friend or family member to dog sit? Well worry no more.

Like Airbnb and Uber, there are a number of peer-to-peer platforms for dog sitting services that have popped up.

A while back, we featured DogVacay. There are two others we recently came across and wanted to highlight for you: Rover and DogBnB. Like DogVacay, they also offer a nationwide network of dog lovers that will take care of your dog from boarding to walking.

 

Rover

roverRover has both a web portal and app which allows you to easily find a sitter near you, book services and receive photo updates from your sitter. In addition to connecting pet parents with sitters, the Rover platform offers complimentary premium insurance for all services booked through Rover, 24/7 customer support, vet consultation and sitter background checks.

To use the service, dog owners browse the “search” section of the site or app for potential pet sitters, which can be organized by zip code and available dates. Sitter’s overnight rates are displayed in search results and prominently on the sitter’s profile page. In-depth profiles of pet sitters are provided, complete with multiple reviews, availability, specific services and rates. Currently, Rover has over 25,000 approved sitters in more than 5,000 U.S. cities. Rover states that 95% of reviewed stays have received a perfect five-star rating.

After selecting a sitter that fitrover searchs your criteria, just direct message a pet sitter on their profile to schedule a meet and greet, confirm services and payment. Rover calculates the stay price based on a nightly rate, like a hotel, but if you’re picking up your dog late, your sitter might want to charge a day care fee.

Rover pet sitters are encouraged to send text and picture updates throughout the day, and if there’s a medical emergency, the site guarantees 24/7 access to a vet. Don’t worry about a sitter canceling — you’re guaranteed a replacement if someone falls through.

Rover offers a large variety of services, but the four main types of services are:
• Overnight care at the sitter’s home
• Overnight care at your home
• Dog walking. Although walks are usually included in the nightly rate, you can often book dog walking as a separate service.

Rover also has “badges” which might better help you to select a sitter. We think the most important badges are the Background Check, Training and Rover Pack badges.

The Background Check badge shows that the sitter has completed a voluntary background check. Rover offers them as a way to assure you of the sitter’s credibility and reliability.

The Training badge means that the sitter has taken and passed the Rover Sitter Success Training quiz—and has demonstrated the skills and knowledge it takes to give your dog the excellent care you expect and deserve.

Rover Pack badge is a mark of the sitter’s expertise, experience, and attention to customer service. This badge ensures the sitter:
• Has completed at least 10 stays.
• Maintains an average rating (by pet owners) of at least 4.5 stars.
• Keeps their availability calendar up to date.
• Responds to at least 90% of requests within 24 hours.

Doggybnb

DoggyBnBDoggybnb works differently than Rover and Dogvacay. Instead of searching a database of various potential sitters, Doggybnb requires you to invite people from your social network that might be potential sitters. They call this your “Woof Pack”. In fact, they’ve created their own terminology to describe their services, so if you don’t remember the difference between a “Fetch” or a “Woof” they’ve put together a glossary.

DoggyBnB offers a range of services including Feed, Walk, Watch, Board, and House Sit. Rather than searching for a sitter when you need one, instead you’ll send out a request to your social network that you’re looking for a sitter, including the date, time and how much you’re offering to pay for the service. They call this request “posting a Woof”. The request gets pushed out to your friends in the social network, including friends of friends.

DoggyBnB 1Interested sitters respond (i.e. “Fetch”) your request (i.e. “Woof”). Anyone that responds is either a friend or people you are socially connected to (i.e. friends of friends). You can review profiles, how you are connected and ratings to help you choose a trustworthy sitter.

Once the care is completed, the app will conveniently send the sitter payment.

We like the idea that you’re using a network of friends and saving time by not having to individually contact people (i.e. just request once and it goes out to the “Woof Pack”). On the flipside, if no one responds to your request (i.e. maybe you don’t have a very large “Woof Pack”) you’ll still need to go out and search for a sitter.

DoggyBnB also has another feature to set up doggy playdates. “Sniffer” is a feature that allows dog parents to see an owner/dog pair in their proximity to set up playdates, make new friends and/or even find someone you might like (similar to Tinder). You can filter based on gender, age, doggy weight range and location. You can swipe right if you are interested in meeting the owner/dog pair, or left if you are not. If you both approve each other, you’ll get a notification that a match has been made.

paws
For full disclosure, we haven’t used Rover or Doggybnb ourselves, but they look like great service options. Have you used Dogvacay, Rover or Doggybnb? Let us know! We’d love to get your feedback!

The Torus Dog Water Bowl – Innovative Drinking Solution

Bailey testing the Torus

Bailey testing the Torus

The Torus Dog Water Bowl has a few new innovations over your standard water bowl.  The Torus (Latin for ‘hollow circular ring’) stores water inside the walls of the water bowl and holds up to 2 liters of water. We had Bailey, the boxer, from our Dogsized Product Tester Team, try out the Torus.

The bowl has knob which lifts off so you can insert the water filter before you add water. Water stored inside the walls ensures an ample supply of water, protected from dust and contaminants. The low profile also means no spills.

torus dog water bowlThe knob can be set to 3 positions:

Tap: First insert the water filter. Then you can use tap water to fill up the Torus with water (note water will not flow into the drinking well during filling).

Lock: The Torus bowl is in the locked no-spill setting and can be carried to your dog’s usual drink station at home or be loaded into your car for traveling without spillage.

Drinking: To release water for drinking align the cap arrow with the dog symbol. Water will flow into the drinking well until the water outlet slot closes. As your dog drinks, water in the drinking well will be automatically replenished.

Torus Water Dog Bowl review from Bailey the Boxer and her parents:

TorusWe think the Torus water dish has a creative design to allow your dog to have fresh and filtered water, both at home and on the go. The design allows you to store your pups water within the walls of the water dish, and release it into the bowl when ready. This is quite convenient for traveling and monitoring your dogs water intake.

For a NYC dog, some of the downsides are that the Torus is large, bulky and quite heavy when filled. While traveling, it’s certainly a nice feature to be able to store the water in the bowl, but we’re not sure the convenience replaces the ease and versatility that a collapsible rubber bowl and bottle of water provide when traveling. If you live in the burbs and have a large car, this might be less of an issue.

Torus water dog bowlAt home, the Torus is convenient and its bulk is less of an issue. We used the bowl to regulate the water intake of out 4yr old Boxer, who drinks any amount of water in the bowl, no matter now much or little.

A turn of the knob allows you to refresh your pet’s water supply, while keeping track of total water consumed through the day, or you can leave it open so fresh water continues to enter the drinking area when the water level drops. If you need to monitor or limit your dogs water intake, you can turn the knob to lock the automatic refill. Also remember that once water goes from the storage area to the drinking area, you cannot automatically put it back into the storage area.

It’s definitely a creative solution for the dog owner that monitors their dog’s water intake.

paws

2 sizes torusThe Torus comes in a 1 and 2 liter size (note 1 liter not yet available in U.S. – coming soon),
as well as, a variety of colors.

paws

Our List of Top Pet Friendly Hotels

pet-friendly-hotelsPet friendly hotels are essential for those of us that travel with our dogs. Traveling with your dog can be a lot of work to plan, so we’ve come up with a list of pet friendly hotels groups to make travel plans with your dog easier.

Some of these hotel groups will give your dog first class treatment from luxurious beds and treats to assistance in finding a dog walker.

 

Pet friendly hotels Kimpton Hotels
If you’re looking for a great pet friendly hotel to stay, our number one choice is Kimpton Hotels. They welcome any pet, regardless of size, weight, or breed for zero fees or deposits at all Kimpton hotels. They are stylish boutique hotels and if you don’t know the “Kimpton” name, you might know some of their hotel names: Hotel Palomar, Hotel Monaco and the Muse. Some of their hotels even have dogs on staff!
pet-friendly-hotels Loews Hotels
All their properties have a Loews Loves Pets program. Upon check-in, every pet receives welcome gifts including a name tag, bowl, and special treats. In case you forgot something, they can loan you pet beds and other items. Your dog hungry? They have room service pet menus. They also provide dog-walking routes, pet-sitting or pet-walking services, as well as a list of local pet-friendly restaurants.
pet-friendly-hotels Starwood Hotels – Sheraton, Westin and W Hotels
The Sheraton, Westin and W Hotels welcome dogs brand-wide in the U.S. and Canada. We’ve heard that at the Westin, not only do you get a heavenly bed, but your dog gets a “heavenly dog bed” too! It’s easy to search for all Starwood Hotels that allow pets: go to Advance Search and check “Pets Allowed” under Hotel Features and Amenities.
pet-friendly-hotels Marriott Hotels
While not all Marriott Hotels allow pets, they do have over 1,200 pet friendly hotels. You need to go to their “Pet Friendly Hotels” page to either search by location or use the filter to search for a pet friendly hotel. We didn’t notice the “pet friendly” option on their normal advanced search.
Pet Friendly Hotels Trump Hotels
Offered in both New York properties, Chicago, Las Vegas and Waikiki, the Trump Pets program will fill your best friend’s belly with gourmet treats and provide them with a plush dog bed. Dog-walking services can even be arranged through the concierge or Trump Attaché.
pet-friendly-hotels IHG Hotels – InterContinental, Hotel Indigo, Crowe Plaza, Holiday Inn
As with Marriott, not all IHG hotels allow pets, but at least they do have a Pets Friendly Hotels page so you can look for pet friendly hotels across their brands by location.
pet friendly hotel Best Western Hotels
Best Western has an easy search functionality to find their pet friendly hotels. Best Western pet friendly properties will allow up to two dogs in a rented room, with a maximum size of 80 lbs per animal. When making reservations, they recommended that you call the hotel directly if you have specific pet related questions and to guarantee availability of a pet friendly room.

We’ve read that some Hilton and the Mandarin Oriental hotels allow pets. Unfortunately, neither of them had website search functionality to easily find pet friendly hotels.

We continue to update our pages, so please let us know if you have any other dog travel friendly resources you think will be helpful to the Dogsized community.

 

DogVacay – an Airbnb for your dog

dogvacayGoing on vacation and can’t take your dog? Is your typical dog boarding place all booked? You should check out DogVacay. It’s essentially the same business for dogs as Airbnb is for people.

How Does it Work?

1. Find a Dog Sitter in Your Neighborhood
They have thousands of trusted and insured dog lovers in their network across the country and are ready to watch your dog like a member of their family. Simply search your city and state and begin browsing through DogVacay Hosts in your area.

2. Schedule, Book & Pay Online
Rates start at $25/night and all reservations include FREE pet insurance, 24/7 customer support, and daily photo updates.

3. Bring Your Dog to your DogVacay Dog Sitter
Knowing your dog is being loved and cared for in a cage free environment while you’re traveling can really put you at ease. The Vacay Dog Sitter will send you daily photo updates of your dog so you know they’re happy. It’s also great to know that  your dog is covered by the DogVacay Guarantee which includes free pet insurance, 24/7 Concierge Service and emergency support.

Can you meet the host before before you leave your dog with them?

While DogVacay provides Dog Sitter photos, verifications, reviews, and you can email the potential DogVacay Dog Sitter. It’s possible to schedule a Meet-N-Greet. Choose a Dog Sitter that suits your needs and DogVacay will share with you the host’s contact information and you can arrange an in-person meeting before your stay.

dogvacay

For full disclosure, we haven’t used DogVacay ourselves, but it really does look like a great service option and they have quite a lot of news about them for you to review at http://dogvacay.com/press . Here’s a little video that explains their services: