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Dogs on vacation. (Source: Your Spoiled Pets)

Getting out of the city, be it for a long weekend or for a lengthier jaunt is always a relief, but if your furry friends aren’t coming along for the ride, it begs the question of how best to care for them while you’re away. Luckily, NYC is nothing if not an amenity-filled city and you’ve got plenty of options to make sure your favorite pet is well provided for while you relax away from home.

Cat Sitting

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A good sitter would know this cat is NOT a morning person.

Most cats are pretty self-sufficient. If your trip is merely a long weekend, you can likely get away with simply leaving out some extra food and water. However, should your trip be longer, consider cat sitting. Depending on your cat’s social needs, most services let you book 15-minute to hour-long visits wherein service providers will stop by your apartment and play with your cat, as well as check their food and water situation and adjust as need. Some things to consider when looking into a cat sitting service include:

  • Can you schedule visits of different lengths on different days or is there pre-set visiting schedule?
  • What is their standard course of action if it appears something is wrong with your cat and he/she needs medical attention?
  • Will the service provider share daily reports on the cat? What about pictures?
  • Do sitters scoop or change litter boxes?

Places like Kitty in NY based in Chelsea or Brooklyn Cattitude are highly-rated cat sitting services you may want to look into, but there are tons located throughout all five boroughs so that you can find the best sitter for your favorite feline.

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Rocket, an Australian Cattle Dog, who enjoys walks at Dog Beach in Prospect Park

Dog Walking

Dogs are a bit more high maintenance than cats – no surprise there. Depending on your pup’s energy level and personality, you may be able to get away with simply using a dog walker. This option is only recommended for overnight trips. If your vacation is longer than a single night, you should figure out different accommodations for your pooch. If you do go this route, consider questions such as:

  • How long are the walks? Can you vary the lengths of the walks?
  • Will the same person do all of the walks?
  • Can the walker provide you with updates and pictures?
  • Will your dog be walked alone or with other neighborhood pups?
  • What is the course of action if your dog appears to need medical attention?

Any reputable dog walking service will (and should) have a response to all of these questions and be able to tailor services to fit your furry baby’s specific needs. Companies like Wag! make ordering a walk for your dog as simple as ordering takeout from your phone. Many of the pet boarding providers listed below also offer dog walking services. Check them out.

Dog Boarding

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Brooklyn pups on a walk (Source: Prospect Bark)

Longer trips likely mean you’ll want to consider boarding your dog. Similar to dog walking and cat sitting services, questions about emergency medical attention and reports on how your pet is doing are essential to ask. However, boarding services also introduce a whole additional range of considerations. Some services rely on crates and primarily keep the dogs in their care separate from one another, while others utilize a pack mentality and allow all the pups to play and sleep together.

You’ll want to consider your own dog’s temperament and how he/she gets along with other canines when choosing between the two. Another relevant consideration is the type of supervision boarded dogs receive: you’ll probably want a boarding service that provides 24-hour supervision, but not all places do this, so be sure to ask!

Our Picks for Top NYC Pet Boarders

Some local vetted (pun intended) options include:

  • Bay Ridge Pet Sitter: Overnight boarding at the dog sitters home. Crate-free group boarding is also available at Bay Ridge Pet Sitter’s facility capped at three dogs per night. Rates for in-home pet boarding are $45/night.
  • Biscuits and Bath: Full-service boarding, dog walking and veterinary providers with multiple locations throughout Manhattan. Dogs are separated by size and temperament and have the option to sleep in a group corral or individually in crates.
  • D Pet Hotels in Chelsea: High-end pet accommodations in Chelsea offering private rooms for pooches as well as the option to have meals prepared by a private chef and private transportation to and from the hotel.
  • NY Tails:  UES-based dog walking and boarding providers with options for in-home or in-facility care. Pooch transportation services offered. Rates start at $65-day with three walks.

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    Pup pals (Source: Paws In Chelsea)

  • Paws In Chelsea: Round-the-clock, supervised, crate-less boarding accommodations in Chelsea. Paws In also offers pet transportation and cat sitting. Rates start at $70/night for dogs and  $60/night for cats.
  • Prospect Bark: Brooklyn-based, in-home boarding at either your home or the the sitter’s home. Service includes two walks, attentive super vision and convenient drop off and pick up schedule. $65/night.
  • Your Spoiled Pet: Crate-less boarding in Williamsburg. Cat sitting also available. Rates start at $65/night.

Alternative Pet Boarding Options

If a kennel doesn’t seem like the right place to board your pet, there are a couple other options you can consider.

  • Rover: Rover is an online portal where you can search for dog walkers and pet sitters who either will provide in-home care for your pooch while you’re on vacay or will welcome your pet into their home. On Rover, you can search for pet sitters in your area, check out their profiles and ratings and see their rates. Many will indicate if they specialize in certain kinds of breeds.

  • Eva’s Play Pups Countryside Day Camp: For the most doting of pet parents, there is an incredibly cute alternative to traditional kennels and pet-sitters. Eva’s Play Pups Countryside Day Camp is exactly what the name suggests – a camp in the country for your doge to visit while you’re on vacation. The  camp is located in the Poconos and offers 52 acres of fenced in fields as well as a swimming pond. Doggies are under the supervision of our Canine Camp Counselors during the day and then sleep in group “cabins” at night. Eva’s provides transportation to and from the city with multiple pick up locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Rates start at $65/night. Still wondering what a doggie day camp is all about? Watch the Oscar-worthy home videos above and below:

Finally, don’t forget to consider your vet. Many larger veterinary clinics offer boarding services and will even give a discounted rate for to their regular patients. The added benefit of using your vet is if something goes wrong: a vet that is familiar with your animal and its medical history will treat him/her, ensuring the best care.

Friends and Family

Professional services for your pets are appealing, but the cost can add up. If you’re hoping to divert more of your disposable income to your actual vacation, don’t forget to consider friends and family members nearby. Is there a co-worker who squeals every time you bring Fido into the office who wouldn’t mind dog sitting for a week in exchange for a nice bottle of wine? How about a younger family friend who’d love to take advantage of your nice, grown-up apartment for a week in exchange for walking the dog? Take inventory of those around you who love your animals and make use of it. Just remember to say thank you: a fridge full of groceries for an apartment-sitter or a new houseplant for a co-worker housing your cat can go a long way.

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