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  • Elissa Bazley

Professional Dog Boarder Vs Friend?

With the new licensing requirements for dog boarders, we saw a huge reduction in home boarding services last year. Up sprang thousands of facebook pages encouraging owners to pair up and share the holiday cover. But what do these reciprocal arrangements really mean and what should you consider when entering into such a relationship?

As a professional home boarder, I can tell a story or two about some of the little monkeys that have stayed with me. When you’re receiving payment, you’re certainly more forgiving about a chewed corner here and a little mistake happening over there, but over time, these incidents have cost boarders many thousands of pounds to rectify. So, can I recommend the boarding buddy schemes or owners?




Well, the answer is yes, but, before you enter into such an arrangement there are many issues that need to be clarified:

  1. Insurance – If a dog has an accident, or causes one, will the owner’s pet insurance cover costs if they aren’t legally responsible for the dog at the time – according to the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the minute you take possession of the dog, you are legally responsible for it.

  2. Behaviour – there’s a huge difference between a dog staying with you for a couple of hours and being left with you for a fortnight, their behaviour, when it’s own mum/dad is out of the picture will change significantly. Most dogs, when left with a boarder become very needy for affection, often wanting to sit right on top of their new carer. How will your dog react to this, you may find they go off in a huff, become equally needy, or in a worst case aggressive – what happens if a dog fight takes place.

  3. Car insurance – are you insured to transport other people’s animals, have you got space in your boot for a second cage or alternative safe method of travel.

  4. Runaways – god forbid the dog doesn’t respond to recall when out, imagine if you were on holiday and received a call to say little Fido has been found wandering around the middle of the A404…because your number is the only one on the dog tag.

  5. Damage – who pays for any damage to your property, I assure you, if there’s more than one dog in the house left unattended, you’ll struggle to prove it wasn’t your own that chewed the cushions on the sofa.

  6. Sleeping arrangements – Do you allow your dog to sleep on the bed? What if the boarding buddy does and little Billy can’t settle and barks all night long. Your neighbours aren’t going to be best pleased!

OK, this paints a very dreary picture, but if entering into a Buddy scheme, I can’t stress how important it is for these issues to be ironed out upfront. So….I guess the cost of a professional boarder is looking a little less daunting.


Normally like gold dust, you must book as far in advance as possible. Finding a good reliable boarder is like finding a partner, they become part of your extended furry friend’s family, so ask around, get recommendations and keep them close. The great news, is that COVID 19 has forced many of us to cancel our holiday plans, so boarders may still have some availability.

Amanda Charlesworth

Owner of Happipet

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