Peer to Peer Pet Sitting and Pet Sharing

PugFor travelers with pets, there is a significant additional cost, and no small amount of anxiety, associated with taking a vacation away from home. While many dog kennels have improved their facilities and services, they are still associated with sad pets locked in small spaces pining away for their master’s return. And they aren’t cheap! The sharing economy offers some good alternatives for pet owners including house sitters, house and dog swapping, and dog boarding.

If you are going to do a home exchange, it’s worth looking for a swap partner who also has pets and is willing to swap pet care. This is free and you are already entrusting these folks with your home so it’s not a big stretch to also trust they will care for your pets like their own.

If pet swapping isn’t an option you could look for a sitter. Often people find pet sitters through friends who have pets. Usually these sitters are full time dog walkers and very skilled and experienced with the animals. Expanding the options for pet owners, there are some new peer to peer websites to help you find a good sitter. Companies like Dogvacay.com, Borrowmydoggie.com and Holidog.com match dog owners with locals. They include reviews, match you with sitters based on criteria you specify, and allow payment online through the website. Some even provide pet insurance.

Lastly there is the option of finding a house sitter to stay with your pet in your home. Companies like trustedhousesitters.com, staydu.com and Ilidor.com which will match home owners with house sitters, allowing for searches that identify people who specialize in caring for pets while housesitting.

I want to give an honorable mention here to citydogshare.org, a non-profit dog sitting co-op. Non-pet owners can share dog-resources (i.e. bedding) or time spent with other people’s dogs. And those who own dogs can swap dog watching and take advantage of the resources and time donated by other dog lovers. This is true sharing of pets, and a great opportunity for people who love animals but can’t have pets in their homes.

For a complete list of sharing economy pet sitting resources, check out the Pets category in my spreadsheet.spreadsheet

disclosure: I’m not a pet owner so I don’t have any first hand experience with these services. I’d welcome input from anyone who has tried them.

5 Comments

  1. As someone who does not have pets, pets are a deal breaker for me. I don’t want the responsibility on an exchange–and I want the freedom to come and go as well.

    That said, there are plenty of pet owners around and those with pet needs should target those people. In my experience most petless people feel as I do about pets on exchanges. Also, beware pet people who omit to mention their pets and then spring them on you at the last minute. I had one experience recently where people in The Netherlands were really after my home. There were a lot of emails over a period of maybe 4 months–and no mention of their two cats. Well, I finally relooked at their Homelink listing and saw the two cats. Their response was “It is in our listing.” While I was remiss in not examining their listing closer, they either did not look at my listing or chose to ignore what it said. My listing made it quite clear that I do not take pets. While no money was lost here because the exchange was ended by me in September for the next summer and no one had purchased tickets, I did not like the way my potential exchangers just omitted any reference to the cats.

    The moral of the story here is to read listings carefully BEFORE you ask someone for an exchange. Those getting an exchange request should also read the listing of the requestor carefully and specifically ask if there are pets.

  2. I’ve just started a new home exchange service that makes it easier for pet lovers to travel, and that lets you do a home exchange even if you don’t have a home to offer. Right now it’s free to join. Check out http://www.petlovershomeexchange.com

    • dawnzerly

      March 11, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Thanks Susan, I added petlovershomeexchange.com to my spreadsheet of peer to peer travel websites . I put it under the Lodging “house sitting” category because I thought that more closely described the very useful service your website provides. Pet owners and folks looking for a gig pet sitting in exchange for free lodging should definitely check out this website.

    • Susan
      A pet lovers home exchange site is a great idea. Since I travel with my dog, it would be great to find other pet lovers who are interested in exchanging their homes with me. How do I see the listings without joining? I’d like to know what the site contains before providing a credit card number.

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