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Frequently asked questions about dog sitting

When you are considering dog care options for your beloved pet, it is only natural that you will have lots of questions. At Barking Mad Dog Care, we believe that before you can make a decision it’s important that you have all the facts at your fingertips. As dog lovers first and foremost, we understand that leaving your dog in the care of others can be a real concern but having been established since 2000, we have years of experience in providing our customers with peace of mind.

We’re proud to tell you all about our local, complete dog sitting service and have compiled a list of our most frequently asked dog sitting questions with answers, to help answer any queries you may have. 

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What is dog sitting?

Professional dog sitting is an alternative option to kennels when leaving your dog with family or friends is not your preferred option. Family and friends can be great but it is an informal agreement and can often be a problem if their plans change. The Barking Mad dog sitting service offers a home from home, door to door, dog holiday service for your dog or dogs where you know you will have complete peace of mind.

Can I be sure my dog will be happy when we go away?

Choosing dog care can be such a difficult and emotional decision. Perhaps your pet has been part of your family since puppyhood and has never stayed with anyone other than relatives? Maybe they are a rescue dog with a traumatic past and you just can’t bear to return them to kennels, even temporarily?

As fellow dog lovers, we ensure that our dog sitting service offers complete peace of mind. Instead of putting dog owners and prospective dog home carers in touch like many online agents do, we provide a full, local, professional service with transport, insurance and a proven, personally executed checking and vetting process. Dogs feel really at home with our carefully chosen hosts, receiving one to one attention and living as part of the family.

Find out more here and have a look at our blog post on dog care options here

What is the minimum stay when dog sitting?

The minimum stay is normally just one night when using a dog sitter including Barking Mad. Once you have established a good relationship with a dog sitting service provider then you will get a good understanding of how they operate. For example, how much notice they require to match the perfect dog sitting host for your dog. Some dog sitting services will not operate on Sundays or Bank Holidays and therefore may require a 2 night stay or more. The best advice when looking for good quality dog care is to book well in advance to avoid disappointment.

How much should I expect to pay for dog sitting?

The cost of dog sitting will vary depending on a number of criteria including the level of service, the location, the professionalism and quality of the service and what is included. The price of dog sitting will also vary depending on whether there is one to one care from the dog sitter or if your dog will be housed with multiple dogs.

A sensible rule of thumb true in any walk of life is that you get what you pay for and if anything is too good to be true then it probably has hidden costs or is lacking in something that you may not find out until it is too late.

How much does Barking Mad professional dog sitting cost?

Barking Mad dog sitting prices very slightly depending on your location. Barking Mad offers excellent value for money and a very high level of service. Daily boarding rates start from £23 for one to one professional pet care. Registration and delivery charges also apply. Find out more here

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How do I choose a good dog sitter?

Not all dog care services are the same and as with many things in life you do get what you pay for! Make sure you ask the right questions e.g. Where will my dog be staying? Will there be other dogs there? Will my own dog's routine be maintained and will they be happy?

At Barking Mad we are all devoted dog lovers. Our mission is to provide first class care for your dog and change the face of dog care across the UK. Our award-winning dog sitting service puts your dog first. We provide unbeatable bespoke dog care through our wide network of dedicated, dog-loving host families.

Whilst we are dedicated to ensuring your furry friend receives the best possible care in your absence, we are also passionate about the wellbeing of your dog as a whole. This is why we are committed to seeking and promoting the best dog care services available to you.

Find out more here.

How do I pay for dog sitting?

Dog sitting is traditionally a cash business however at Barking Mad we accept a variety of payment options for our dog sitting service. We prefer BACS bank transfer however branches do accept cash, cheque, credit / debit cards and dog biscuits (not really). Please check with your local branch below.

If we didn’t find the answer you were looking for please contact us at or call us for a chat on 01524 220202.

Find your local branch and prices



What should my dog pack for their holiday?

When using the Barking Mad dog sitting service we recommend that your best friend takes whatever makes them feel comfortable and certainly their normal home comforts are essential to making them feel happy. Your dog will want to make sure they have their their bedding, toys, treats, bowls and normal food. Routine is also important, so Barking Mad will make sure their day to day is as similar as they are used to making for minimal disruption whilst you are away. We will even provide you with a free dog travel bag to carry everything in that is yours to keep when you get home.

What is Barking Mad?

Barking Mad is the UK's leading dog sitting service provider as rated by thousands of genuine and independently verified customers via TrustPilot. Take a look at our latest reviews below:

How is dog home boarding different to kennels?

Dog home boarding is quite different to traditional dog kennels in that dog home boarding or dog sitting service is provided in a private residential home and not on a commercial premises. There are many differences and benefits to choosing dog home boarding over kennels including:

How do dog sitters care for my dog?

How a dog sitter will care for your dog can vary enormously depending on the quality of the dog sitting service provider. Don't settle for second best! At Barking Mad we take great to ensure that the very best bespoke dog sitting care is provided for your dog in person every time. We do this by spending time with you and your dog meeting face to face so that we can understand your dog's individual needs. 

You can find out more here.

Will a dog sitter walk my dog?

 A good quality professional dog sitting such as Barking Mad will walk your dog just as you do, maintaining their normal routine including the number of dog walks they are used to each day.

Will the dog sitter have insurance?

Not all dog sitters are the same so always check if the person or organisation you plan to entrust with the care of your dog is fully protected. Barking Mad provides complete peace of mind and ensures your dog will be fully insured whilst you are away.

Do you need pet insurance?

There are many unforeseen risks associated with owning a dog. At Barking Mad we believe pet insurance is an essential part of responsible dog ownership.

In the unfortunate event of illness or injury, your dog’s care should not be compromised through concerns over the cost of treatment.

We know that you want the very best for your dog and encourage you to seek a reliable pet insurance policy. With the correct insurance in place, you will receive financial assistance with the cost of unexpected veterinary bills.

When experiencing the stress of your companion being unwell, the last thing you need is to be worrying about how to pay the next vet bill or how to find the money for essential medication.

How do I choose the best pet insurance?

Not all pet insurance plans are equal and it is essential to shop around for the most comprehensive cover.

It is important to compare insurance products in detail to fully understand exactly which conditions and services are covered. Here are just some of the key questions to ask about insurance policies:

As you can start to see from the above, finding the right pet insurance policy can be both confusing and time consuming.

Petplan is the UK’s favourite pet insurance provider with over 36 years of experience. They have made it easier to find the right cover for your dog.

Petplan offers different levels of cover to suit all dogs and budgets, including their Covered for Life® and Petplan Essential® policies. All Petplan packages offer comprehensive benefits and their policies are consistently promoted by vets.

Four good reasons to select a Petplan policy:

Would you like 4 weeks’ free insurance?

Petplan offers an introductory 4 weeks’ free pet insurance. Cover for injury starts immediately upon activation, with illness cover starting 14 days after you activate your policy. Click here to find out more.

Once you have the correct insurance in place and have booked your dog’s holiday with one of our experienced dog sitting host families, you can sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that you’re providing the very best care for your companion.

Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and ages and deserve individually tailored care.

At Barking Mad we love them all.

Can I meet the Barking Mad dog sitting host?

The first step to using Barking Mad is a home visit, where you will meet your local dog holiday representative, who will have complete responsibility for your dog while you are away. We will spend time with you to really understand your dog’s needs so that he/she can perfectly match your dog to the right host family. Our host families have all been vetted, checked and trialled personally by us and he/she is on call 24 hours a day to support them.
Our customers and hosts don’t meet personally. This is to protect the security of both our hosts and our customer’s dogs.

Are your dog sitting hosts vetted?

All of our dog sitting hosts are vetted personally by the business owner or staff member. Hosts must meet a strict criteria in order to host for Barking Mad.

Can I drop my dog off at the host house?

No. We provide a transport service as we find it greatly reduces separation anxiety for the dog (and sometimes the owner!) and also because a return trip to a host family home could be some distance.

Is the Barking Mad daily rate dependent on what time my dog is picked up and dropped off?

No, we charge the same amount per day regardless of collection and delivery times.

Does my dog need to be vaccinated?

Barking Mad do require your dog to be vaccinated and up to date with their annual booster however the Kennel Cough vaccine is not a requirement

Will there be any other dogs in the host home?

There will be no other customer’s dogs in the home. Though some of our hosts do have dogs of their own if your dog would like a playmate. It's your choice.

Will my dog be left alone?

On occasion our hosts may have to attend to daily chores or errands but dogs would not be left for any more than 3 hours. However we do have some hosts who are at home at all times.

What happens if my dog falls ill?

Our host will contact the Barking Mad business owner who will attend to the situation with immediate effect using the dog’s usual vet whenever possible.

If I move house, am I still registered with Barking Mad?

Yes. Provided we have a Barking Mad service in the area of your new home we will be happy to continue providing our service.

Is food provided for my dog?

No, your dog will bring his/her food with them as we wouldn’t want to upset their tummies with a change of food.

At what age do you take puppies?

Provided they are house trained and sleeping through the night as well as being fully vaccinated, we can take puppies at any age

Does Barking Mad provide doggy day care?

No, we offer overnight stays only.

What is the minimum dog sitting stay?

The minimum stay is one night.

I have two dogs, can they go together?

Yes they can. It's not a problem but please do remember to book as far in advance as possible as we do get very busy and we hate to dissappoint. 

Do I need to trial my dog first?

Unless your first dog holiday stay is a short one, we do prefer your dog to have a trial sleepover with their dog sitting host to ensure they settle well and to give you reassurance your dog is going to be just fine when you go away for a longer period of time. This is essential if your first main holiday is going to be for 7 nights or more.

How much notice do you need before my holiday?

This can depend on both your dog’s requirements and the time of year. But generally the more time we have the better chance we have of sourcing a suitable host. We can sometimes accommodate last minute dog holidays however many of our customers book several months in advance to make sure their dog secures their favourite dog holiday host.

Do you house sit?

We don't provide a house sitting service.
We do however come to your house to pick your dog up and take them to stay with a suitable host in their home.

If we didn’t find the answer you were looking for please contact us at or call us for a chat on 01524 220202.