What Do You Do With The Dogs When You Travel?

What do you do with the dogs when you travel? Oh my, my, my…I get this question SO often that I thought it was high time I set aside a full post for it!

Anyone who has been around here for awhile knows that Judy + Bill are our two chocolate Labradors. If you’ve never met them, let me introduce you…

What Do You Do With The Dogs When You Travel? - Rover.com - Communikait

Bill | Judy

The answer that most people might tell you is that they call a kennel and book them an appointment. I’ll be honest – I don’t trust kennels. Here in Hawaii, the majority of them are outside and/or don’t have AC units and overall it just wouldn’t be a great experience for my dogs. Never mind the fact that I can’t imagine them not getting one-on-one attention like they do at home for a week or longer while we are on vacation. Call me what you will, but I only want the best for them, so for us, that means a dog nanny or sitter.

What Do You Do With The Dogs When You Travel? - Rover.com - Communikait

Because we have a lot of military friends here, they’ve rotated in and out pretty regularly. We knew that with our travel schedule, we needed a constant for the dogs and it wasn’t fair to constantly be asking our friends – hey, can you watch the dogs?! After a lot of consideration, I turned to Rover.com. Have you heard of it?

What Do You Do With The Dogs When You Travel? - Rover.com - Communikait

Basically, it’s a site that allows you to look over dog sitters in your area and see if they would be a good fit for your family. The first time I logged on, I was really overwhelmed – what was I even looking for?! Thankfully, Rover makes it really easy for you to see the location and ratings of each sitter who is nearby, along with their photo and a list of services. In addition to over night stays, registered Rover sitters offer daycare, dog walking and can even come to your house to pop in on your pet if you’re working a long day, going out after work, etc. I knew I wanted someone who had experience, a history of using Rover with satisfied customers, a yard with a fence and a love of big dogs. Weird fact: People in Hawaii are pretty averse to big dogs. Most people are afraid and 9 times out of 10 when I walk Judy + Bill, people cross the street to avoid interacting with them. So strange. Anyway, I knew I needed a sitter who not only loved big dogs, but could handle them! Big dogs are AMAZING, but they can be a lot of work (see above) 😉

What Do You Do With The Dogs When You Travel? - Rover.com - Communikait

I sorted through the entire Rover database for my area, picked seven, interviewed them all, had “dates” with three of them, and then tested two out with a daytime play date with the dogs while I was present. The next step was letting the dogs do an overnight with the one I liked the most. From there, we booked her for longer stays and vacations. As you can see, I don’t take watching my dogs lightly! And if I’m being totally honest – neither should you. What I’ve learned is that there is no price tag for the sanity I have knowing my dogs are in good hands.

What Do You Do With The Dogs When You Travel? - Rover.com - Communikait

Here are my best tips for finding a dog nanny who can take the best possible care of your babies:

1. Identify what you need from them. Walking, dog sitting (in your home or theirs), pop-ins during work hours, etc. Be realistic with your needs so that you can be clear with your directions to the person!

2. Do your research. After your identify what you need, find a couple people who are up for the task! Ask them questions, get to know them, figure out if they would be a good fit. Do a trial run to see if it works with your pet. I’ve learned that just because someone “looks good on paper”, doesn’t mean they work out in practice.

3. It’s all in the details. I’m very detail-oriented by nature, but some people aren’t, so I leave very detailed descriptions of everything when I am away. What time the dogs eat, what they eat, how they eat, etc. These people can’t read your mind or know your daily routines, so it’s important to put it all on paper. Also be sure to include emergency contact information and your pet’s vet information just in case!

4. Pay ahead of time. One of the things I liked best about Rover is that the payment portion is all taken care of ahead of Judy + Bill’s stay. I put in my credit card and it is all set; the payment then goes to the sitter via a third party and I don’t need to worry about getting cash or writing a check. I also like it, because then Rover has my stay on record. If, God forbid, anything should happen during their stay, it’s documented. It’s just a nice security benefit!

What Do You Do With The Dogs When You Travel? - Rover.com - Communikait

Now, let’s talk…what do you do with your pets when you travel? Do you also use Rover? Have you even heard of it?




August 11, 2017


  • I really like this concept! It sounds like what I do for the kids! LOL

    • Kait

      You know me – nuts about my dogs! I was initially really wary of it, so I took extra precautions to make sure it was legit. Now I rave about it. Clearly, LOL!

  • I have heard of Rover and considered trying it recently! We’ve done many things. We’ve had dog walkers/sitters come to our house using a different service in Phoenix, we have had our friends come over and stay at our place, we’ve used boarding (only in Phoenix; I don’t trust Chicago kennels), and dropping our dogs off with family. I liked leaving them with family and having friends stay over the most, but when they aren’t available Rover sounds like it’d be a great idea! Also because I feel bad leaving our dog with family for more than a few days since it can be a lot of work.

    • Kait

      I honestly have had nothing but good experiences! If we had family out here, I would 100% go that route, but this is the next best thing. 100% recommend checking into it!

  • I need to look into this! I’ve lucked into a really good doggy daycare that hosts dogs overnight…Gatsby gets his own freaking cabana and private playtime outside…which is so nice to know when I’m on vacation, he’s enjoying himself too!

    • Kait

      How fun is that?! I get Gatsby (best name ever) is thrilled to go on his own vacay! That said, if that place is ever booked up, I can’t say enough good things about Rover!

  • Jen

    We have been very spoiled in the past. When we would travel to see family, Emma always went with us and Fishy was looked after by a friend. I’m glad we have good friends here that would watch them for us if we needed it. We are okay with boarding them at a vets office but that’s it.

    • Kait

      Yeah I am right there with you. We are hoping once we move closer to family + friends one day that it helps us out a little. I think J+B would freak at a kennel.

  • I’ve never heard of Rover but it’s definitely something I may look into. In New York we have a place that we love and that Bolt loves. It’s a kennel but the dogs all get to spend the day outside (or a large room indoors if it’s raining), and they get to play with other dogs (assuming they’re good with other dogs). He loves going because he loves being around other dogs and the people are so nice. It’s a cute little family owned place, and the owners house is attached to the kennel which I really love.

    • Kait

      Oh my gosh I would love that, too! I SO wish we had a reliable place like that around here, but nothing I’ve found even comes close to comparing.

  • Kaylin

    That first picture. I DIE.

    • Kait

      They LOVE having their photo taken, LOL!

  • I met my dog sitter through Rover too! She is really great. For one trip when she was unavailable she recommended a friend, who turned out to be awesome too. I agree with you. I prefer to have someone stay at my house with the dog instead of the kennel. I take Lucy there for day care when I’m super busy or if it’s below 0 for a bunch of days, but I don’t love leaving her there overnight.

    • Kait

      I feel the same way! Judy + Bill have never been boarded so I’m not entirely sure how they would react!

  • Lauren

    We board ours … but, to be fair, our kennel is pretty great. Lots of playtime, A/C (in the south? fo sho), even a little pool in the back yard. However, if I could find someone I TRUSTED, i’d love for them to stay with my baby at our house. Luckily for us, we have family nearby – so as long as it’s a night or two, we’re fine. Longer trip than that, we board.

    • Kait

      I think having a place that is reliable is KEY! Our dogs have never been boarded, so I’m not sure how they would react, but having family nearby is AWESOME too!