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Skip the Kennel and Send Fido on Vacation Instead
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Skip the Kennel and Send Fido on Vacation Instead

Emily Price, Gawker Media

Image credit: E.Price

Next time you book a vacation for yourself, you should book one for your pooch as well.

My dog, Tucker, is under the misperception he's a human. In general he's pretty well behaved - that is until you put him in a bedroom or crate when you have friends over, then he's going to bark his face off because clearly you've accidentally excluded him from the party. It's a feature combo that's made me hesitant to board him at a traditional kennel, so I relied on a rotating list of friends to watch him when I travel... until I discovered DogVacay. The app recently merged with a similar app Rover , and allows you to essentially book an Airbnb-like experience for your pup when you're away.

It's been around for a while, but still find myself suggesting it to friends as a kennel alternative almost every week.

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For me, it's been a lifesaver. While I have friends that would be happy to take him for the weekend, I worried that I was asking them too often. And then there's the element of compensation. I'd always pay friends, or buy a nice dinner or gifts from my trip for friends that refused the cash, but there's always an element of "Was this enough for that?"

With Rover, hosts set their own prices, so you always know you're paying someone what they think is fair for watching your pooch, and that they're up for doing it - not just reluctantly helping a friend out. You can also pick and choose a place for your furry friend to stay based on your pet's needs and personality.

Profiles have pictures of the hosts, their home, and reviews from previous guests. You'll also be able to read details about their potential stay such as how many walks they'll take, whether other dogs will be around, and where they'll sleep at night.

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When Tucker was younger, I would always have him stay with a family that had four kids and huge backyard for him to play with them in. Now that's he's gotten older and prefers to spend his days napping, I found Richard, an older retired man who appears to love having a buddy to watch TV with for a few days.

Sitters are all vetted by service, and pet insurance is included. So, if Tucker breaks a leg or gets stung by a bee while I'm not around, his sitter can take him to the vet without worrying about the cost. Most hosts also send you photos of your furball while they're staying with them, so you can see how much fun they're having without you.

In San Francisco, prices typically range from $30-$75/night, which makes the service roughly the same cost as a kennel, or cheaper, depending on where you typically board your pooch. For me, it's totally worth it to not worry about him scared and alone in a cage while I'm traveling and know that instead he's hanging out with his BFF catching up on their Netflix.

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