Choosing the best dog care option when living abroad
Being an expat in the Netherlands is an amazing experience, but it's not without its challenges. Particularly for dog owners who have no one to look after their precious pooch when they plan a trip or need to work late. Vera from DogBuddy gives her top tips on finding the best option to help you and your dog enjoy life in the Netherlands to the fullest.
First things first, what are your dog care options?
In the Netherlands, there are generally three choices:
1. Family and friends
An obvious port of call is to ring up family or friends to see if they'll take care of their favourite doggo. However, as an expat, you might not have the luxury of having a network of family and friends around you (yet). You could always try to ring next door and ask for a neighbourly favour, but bear in mind, they may not have the dog care experience to match your dog's particular needs!
2. Traditional kennel
Kennels are a traditional option for when you can't get a hold of friends or family, and the neighbours aren't available. Kennels offer a secure location, with staff who are used to handling different dog breeds. There is, however, no guarantee of constant interaction with humans, and this could cause stress for your dog in what will be new and unfamiliar surroundings.
3. Home dog boarding
You can also avoid the stress of caged dog kennels and let an experienced dog sitter take care of your canine companion while you’re out of town.
Nowadays, you can easily choose from many local, insured and reviewed dog sitters through handy apps. These sitters are often expats themselves who miss the company of their own dog at home. With a dog sitter, your pooch will enjoy regular walks, plenty of playtime and the company of a friendly, trusted dog lover, in the comfort of the sitter's home.
But how do you decide on which option is best for you and your dog?
Things to consider when choosing dog care
When picking a dog care option, there are several factors to consider – ones affecting you (such as cost and convenience) are of course important, but they don’t cover the whole picture!
Your dog’s unique needs
Here are a few key questions to ask yourself when deciding amongst the various care options:
- Is your dog sociable with other dogs or do they prefer individual, one-on-one care?
- Are there any special medical or dietary requirements that need to be catered for?
- How does your dog react to new environments?
- What are they like around new people?
- What will they need to feel safe and happy while you’re away?
Your dog is a part of the family, and just as you would ensure the person taking care of your child is aware of their individual needs and habits, it’s important to ensure that the person caring for your dog is informed so they can provide the best possible care.
While your dog’s health and safety is always top priority, affordability of care also plays a crucial role. The table below outlines the average cost for a week of dog care in the Netherlands:
|Dog care||Average cost per week|
|Traditional kennel||€105 - €315|
|Home dog boarding||€140|
(Sources: http://www.hondenpension.org/, https://nl.dogbuddy.com/)
The prices for traditional kennels are usually fixed and non-negotiable, while with home dog boarding, you can typically negotiate certain costs with the sitter, especially if you’re looking for a more extended stay.
Preparing your dog for the best experience
Prepare your dog for the best experience possible:
Meet & greet
To make the transition as easy as possible for your dog, it's a good idea to introduce your dog to the kennel or your sitter and visit their home before your holiday to make sure it’s a good match and everyone feels comfortable.
Schedule & habits
Ensure that you inform the care provider of your dog’s schedule and habits and ask if it would be alright to pack your dog their favourite toy or t-shirt to sleep with, so they feel more at home.
Food and medical information
Don't forget to include how much and how often your dog eats, along with their preferred food and list any allergies or dietary requirements. Before your holiday, check that your pooch is up-to-date with all their vaccines and current on all flea and tick preventatives.
Lastly, it’s important that the kennel or your sitter has the right contact information in case of an emergency. Provide them with your local vet’s number, as well as the best way to reach you while you’re away.
Owning a dog should be a walk in the park
As a dog-owning expat, you’ll make new friends while playing in the park and have a fun (and often international) community of dog lovers around you in no time. While it can be hard to be away from your dog while you work or travel, with the right dog care option you can relax in the knowledge that your pooch is in safe hands and having a holiday of their very own.
DogBuddy is Europe's leading dog sitting community, connecting dog owners with loving, local sitters for overnight home boarding, day care, and walks. Check out their website and free app to help you breathe easier, knowing your furry best friend is safe and well cared for while you work, play, and travel.
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