We know how important it is to have somewhere safe to leave your dog when you travel and we understand you might have additional questions about the DogStays service. To help make things clearer, here are answers to some questions dog parents frequently ask us.
1. Is DogStays like a dog boarding or kennel?
DogStays is not like a traditional dog boarding or kennel and your dog will not live in a place which has many dogs or any cages. Through DogStays we want to offer your dog a ‘home-like’ environment even when you are away. So, we will connect you with a suitable dog sitter in our network and the dog sitter will look after your dog in their home or your own home.
2. Does DogStays also offer this service for cats and other pets?
The DogStays service is currently only for dogs, but in the future, we hope to be able to offer this service to all kinds of pet parents.
3. Where will my dog stay during the booking?
Most dog parents prefer that their dogs stay at the dog sitter’s home while they travel. However, if you prefer the dog sitter staying in your own home while you travel and looking after your dog there, this is also possible. Please mention this in the ‘additional information’ section when you fill out the DogStays Booking Request Form (can be found here), which is the first step of the booking process.
4. How is the dog sitter selected?
We understand that the choice of dog sitter is important and we try our best to connect you to a sitter specifically suited to your dog’s needs. To do this, we will ask you some very specific questions in the Booking Request Form, before connecting you to someone.
Lifestyle match - to better match the sitter’s lifestyle and daily schedule with your dog’s needs, one of the questions we ask you is if your dog is used to being alone at home and if yes, usually for how long. Different dogs have different needs for people to be around and this question helps us make sure we can match you to a sitter who is at home at least as much as your dog needs.
Socialization preferences - to ensure that the sitter’s home environment is suitable for your dog and does not contain any stressful elements, we ask for details about your dog getting along with other dogs as well as cats.
Situational factors -to find the most suitable option, we also ask you how your dog reacts to stimuli in the environment like the presence of children in a home or new people.
Neutered - lastly, to avoid any surprises later, we also ask you if your dog is neutered before we connect you with a dog sitter.
We will connect you to a dog sitter only after the above criteria match, but the final choice is always yours. You and your dog will meet the dog sitter which will give you a chance to ask the sitter any questions you have, see the home your dog will stay in and also observe firsthand the chemistry between your dog and the dog sitter. After this, you have the option to confirm the booking or ask us to connect you to a different dog sitter.
5. What do you check for before a dog sitter joins the DogStays Sitter Network?
The process of joining the DogStays Sitter Network has been designed to be thorough and comprehensive - during which we look at multiple aspects of each potential dog sitter’s life and experience.
Step 1: We first connect with potential dog sitters to better understand WHY they want to look after dogs. If we feel comfortable after this initial interaction, we take the process forward.
Step 2: Next, dog sitters are asked to complete a detailed Sitter Information Form through which they tell us details about their experience with dogs, their daily schedule, their home environment, size and structure of their home, about other people living in their home, etc. This helps to give us context about the dog sitter and allows us to discuss details like green spaces for walking/playing, areas of the home like balconies, the presence of children in the home etc.
Step 3: To make sure the home environment where the sitter would look after dogs is suitable, we also ask dog sitters to share multiple pictures of their home with us.
Step 4: As a security measure, we also collect some documentation from dog sitters including a copy of an identification document and a proof of address (please note that these documents are only collected for DogStays’ own records).
Step 5: Every dog sitter signs and accepts a detailed DogStays Sitter Agreement. In this agreement dog sitters commit to taking full responsibility for the safety and well-being of your dog, keeping any information shared by DogStays or you confidential, and also commit to looking after your dog according to the information you share with them through the DogStays Information Form, which is an important step in our booking process.
While we take these steps to help ensure the safety and security of all our doggy guests, it is ultimately your opinion that matters the most. We cannot guarantee the suitability of any dog sitter and you need to make the final decision yourself after you and your dog meet the dog sitter.
6. What is the price for the service?
Please refer to our pricing page for this information.
7. What is included in the booking price?
When you pay for the DogStays service, you are paying for your dog getting personalized care in a home environment and according to your detailed instructions. The dog sitters that join our network are people who feel a deep love and empathy for dogs and they commit to caring for your dog exactly as you do at home. We believe patterns and schedules are very important for dogs to feel comfortable in a new environment and therefore, the DogStays service is designed to help the dog sitter create the same environment that your dog enjoys at home. To help the dog sitter do this, we have designed the DogStays Information Form which helps you tell the dog sitter about your dog's habits and schedule in detail. This includes everything from feeding, walking, playing, grooming etc. and are all part of the service provided in the booking.
Dogs can be sensitive, especially to new foods and we feel it is safest if your dog eats only what he/she is used to. So, while all the love, care and attention for your dog is included, the daily supplies required by your dog are not covered in the price. You must provide these to your dog sitter at the start of the booking. This includes food, grooming supplies, bedding, crate, medicines if required and anything else you use to care for your dog at home. To make sure you don't forget anything, we have created a handy ‘Checklist’ to help you pack at the time of dropping your dog off. We will share this checklist with you when we confirm your DogStays booking.
8. What happens once I meet the dog sitter and confirm that I am comfortable leaving my dog with him/her?
After you and the dog sitter meet and you both confirm you are comfortable, we will process the booking.
To confirm it and block the dog sitter’s calendar for your dates, you will need to pay a booking amount (equal to 20% of the total booking cost) to DogStays via bank transfer and you will also need to complete the detailed DogStays Information Form for your dog which will tell the dog sitter HOW to care for your dog while you are away (it includes details like eating habits, walking schedule, medical history etc.). This will make sure the sitter is prepared before the booking starts. We will send you an email which will include the invoice, all other details of the booking and a link to the information form. To help you pack for your dog at the time of drop off, we will also share a checklist with you.
Once you make the payment and complete the form, your booking will be confirmed in the DogStays system and the dog sitter’s calendar will be blocked.
9. Is there any other way to pay the Booking Amount apart from bank transfer?
At this time the Booking Amount can only be paid via bank transfer.
10. Is it possible to pay the remaining amount to the dog sitter via bank transfer?
The remaining payment needs to be made to the dog sitter directly and should not be transferred to DogStays. Different dog sitters have different preferences and we recommend asking your dog sitter how he/she prefers payment when you drop your dog off. This will make sure there are no surprises at the time of pick up.
11. My dog has very specific food and toilet habits. How do I tell the dog sitter about all these things that are particular to my dog?
After you confirm your booking (and before the booking starts), we send you a link for the DogStays Information Form. This form is very detailed and is designed to help you tell the dog sitter all about your dog, including eating habits, walking schedules, any special needs, reactions to other dogs or other animals, medical history, vaccination details etc. Once you complete this form, it is shared with the dog sitter. By completing this form in as much detail as you can, you can make sure the sitter has all the information needed and does not have to ask you questions while your are away.
Just in case there is anything additional you think of even after you have already left for your trip, you will always be connected to your dog sitter via the phone, so it will be easy to share additional information. You can even share this information with us at DogStays and we would be happy to pass it on.
12. How can I be sure my dog is being taken care of by someone knowledgeable?
Many of the dog sitters in our network are or have been dog parents and their knowledge comes from their personal experience with dogs. Some of them also have professional training. However, each dog sitter is different and we encourage you to ask the sitter as many questions as you need to when you meet him/her, so you can be comfortable before you confirm the booking to us.
To help you get started, we have made a list of some topics which might be good to discuss with the dog sitter when you meet him/her:
The sitter’s previous experience with dogs
The reason the sitter wants to look after your dog in his/her home
Other family members in the sitter’s home and how they feel about dogs
Additional details about walking your dog and toilet habits - on leash/off leash situations, any training you would want the sitter to be aware of
Anything the sitter needs to be careful of around new people, children or strangers
Any specific habits of your dog the sitter should know about according to you
What you would want the sitter to do in an emergency - for example, would the sitter be able to take your dog to the vet in case it is required and how
These are just some suggested topics and you should discuss whatever you feel is necessary for you to be more comfortable with the sitter looking after your dog.
13. What will be the frequency of updates I receive about my dog?
One of the questions in the DogStays Information Form is about how frequently you wish to receive updates from the dog sitter so you will be able to choose the frequency most comfortable for you. Also, you should feel comfortable to ask your dog sitter for an update at any time, but please be sensitive to your dog sitter too.
14. Do I need to drop off and pick up my dog or is this a service that you provide?
We encourage all dog parents to drop off and pick up their dogs from the sitter’s home. It gives you a chance to personally drop off supplies for your dog and also helps your dog enter his/her temporary home feeling calmer since you are there. The sitter also gets a chance to meet you before you leave for your trip and ask you any additional questions he/she might have after reading the Information Form. Finally, it’s just so much nicer to say goodbye to your dog in person and maybe give him/her some last minute treats before you leave :-)
However, just in case there is any reason you cannot drop off and/or pick up your dog yourself or arrange for this yourself, please let us know when you confirm the booking and we will try to make an alternate arrangement for you. Please note that this would be at an additional charge.
15. What all do I need to drop off when I drop off my dog?
We know you are likely to be busy packing for your own travel at the time of drop off and we want to help you make sure you don’t forget anything the sitter will need to care for your dog. Therefore, as part of the booking process, we will share a detailed ‘Checklist’ of suggested items with you which is a guide to help you pack for your dog when you drop him/her off. Please remember that this is a generic list and if there are specific supplies that your dog requires, you must remember to include these yourself.
16. My dog only eats a certain brand of dog food. How will the dog sitter arrange this?
To avoid any allergic reactions to new food and ensure dogs only get the food they are used to, you must provide your dog’s food in sufficient quantities for the duration of the booking. You can drop this off along with other supplies when you drop your dog to the sitter’s home. In case any additional quantity is required, the dog sitter will purchase the same after checking with you and you need to reimburse the cost of this when you pick up your dog after the booking.
17. What if I need an extension of stay due to a personal emergency?
In case you need to extend your trip beyond the original booking, we request you to please contact us immediately and let us know the new pick up date and time. We will then check if change is possible for the dog sitter as well, change the booking details if it is and finally confirm the additional cost to you.
18.How long will my dog be left alone during the day?
Different dogs are used to being alone for different periods of time in the day and we will look for an option that suits what your dog is used to. Therefore, this is one of the questions we ask you when you complete the Booking Request Form at the start of the booking process. How long your dog is left alone for depends on the information you have shared with us in the form, the dog sitter’s schedule and your discussion with the dog sitter at the time of the meeting . Some of the sitters in the network have full time jobs, some work from home, some have flexible timings and others don’t have a job. You can share this information with us when you complete the form we also encourage you to discuss this with the dog sitter at the time of your meeting. It is important that you highlight it for us and for the dog sitter, in case something is absolutely not comfortable for you or your dog.
19. What if I meet the sitter and do not like him/her?
In case you meet the dog sitter and do not feel comfortable leaving your dog with him/her, you can be perfectly honest with us. We would then request for your feedback and will try our best to find you a different option for your travel dates.
20. How do you ensure the safety and security of my dog while he/she is at the sitter’s home?
While you are away, the sitter is in charge of your dog's safety and we have designed the DogStays Information Form to help your sitter look after your dog as best as possible. This form helps the dog sitter by telling him/her what to do, what not to do and what to be careful about.
In addition, we share with each dog sitter a list of dog-sitting tips and suggestions which are based on our experience as dog owners and dog sitters. These are designed to help the dog sitter be sensitive to the needs of your dog in a new environment. We also provide links to the emergency services for pets in Luxembourg as well as information for the 24/7 veterinary clinics in and around the city in case of an emergency.
21. What happens if I need to cancel my booking?
For all bookings starting between the 1st of January and the 30th of November we will give you a full refund of the booking amount if you cancel your booking at least 30 days before the start date. If your booking is starting in December, you need to cancel your booking at least 60 days before the start date of your booking to get a refund. This is because of the holiday season in December and the volume of booking requests during that time.
Just in case your dog sitter cancels the booking, we will try and find you an alternate dog sitter or we will refund you fully.
22. Where can I read how other dog parents felt about the DogStays service?
You can look at what other dog parents had to say after their bookings:
We hope these answers have helped you understand the DogStays service and process better :-)
If you are ready to make a booking, please click here and complete the Booking Request Form so that we have all the information we need and can start looking for a suitable dog sitter for your dog.
Woof and have a lovely day!