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Boarding Your Pet While Overseas

Published on: May 4, 2018  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

Boarding Your Pet While Overseas https://www.starwoodanimaltransport.com/blog/boarding-your-pet-while-overseas

In some countries around the world, including the United States, finding a boarding kennel for your pet is no problem at all. Dog or cat, your furry companion can overnight in any number of facilities with varying levels of comfort and services. But what if your beloved pet needs a place to stay while the two of you are traveling overseas? Or what if you’ve moved to a new country and need to board your pet?  

Europe isn’t much different from the US when it comes to adoration of cats and dogs. So you might think finding boarding for your pet in Europe would be as easy as in the states. The truth is, you may find yourself frustrated at a lack of American-style pet boarding facilities. It simply depends on where you are. Here are some examples: 

United Kingdom

If your pet is a canine and you’re somewhere within the UK, you can check out DogBuddy. This website lets you search for boarding or day care facilities or a dog walking service. They claim their “30,000 experienced, vetted dog sitters have provided more than 500,000 fun and friendly dog nights. That’s almost 1,500 years of dog sitting experience!” 


Owner Maryanne Day, an American expat and certified veterinary tech, started Florence Pet Sitting

20 years ago, and it has attained legendary popularity. Pets don’t stay in kennels, they board with Maryanne or one of her staff members, in their own homes, all in the central part of Florence. Furry “customers” enjoy walks, playtime, and grooming. Pet parents get daily email updates, complete with photos. 


Expatica.com recommends four hotels in the Barcelona and Madrid areas, noting, “These are not your typical prison-lookalike kennels. Instead some of the places really live up to the hotel name!” Beyond Spain, the site also has European listings for pet boarding facilities in Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK. 


Though technically part of Portugal, the island of Madeira is a bit of a reach from the mainland of Europe. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderful place to visit, and it boasts a truly luxurious pet-stay facility called Dogtel in the capital town of Funchal. If you don’t speak Portuguese, the website may be a bit tough to read, but you’ll probably find English-speakers on staff in this tourist-friendly environment. 

Dogtel has everything from veterinary services and a spa/salon to daycare, training, and a swimming pool just for pets in addition to overnight boarding space. Two spaces, actually – Hotel Canino can accommodate up to 20 dogs, and Hotel Felino can accommodate up to 9 cats. And we’re not talking Spartan kennels, we’re talking the lap of luxury, or a plethora of “little luxuries” as the website notes. For pooches, the hotel even provides background music. 

Boarding alternatives

Thankfully, it is much easier to find doggie daycare facilities (and daytime drop-offs for kitties, too) in cities all around Europe. That means you will be able to spend some time sightseeing or shopping without your pet in tow. (Or in tote, as the case may be.) Or you’ll be able to unpack a few more boxes, if you’ve just moved into your overseas home, without distracting “assistance” from your beloved pet. 

If you can’t find a boarding facility and daytime-only care doesn’t fit your needs, you can always look for a pet-friendly hotel where you and your four-legged companion can share accommodations. Thankfully, these are, in fact, easy to come by almost everywhere throughout Europe. Another option increasing in popularity is in-home pet-sitting. Pet parents often prefer this because their kitty or pup can remain in familiar surroundings, reducing the chance of separation anxiety. 

Getting to know pet-sitters before you need one (perhaps by hiring them to walk your dog first) will give you extra peace of mind when it’s time to leave them home alone with your cat or dog. Even better, getting to know other pet owners in your new country will help you make new friends. And who knows? They may turn out to be future boarding resources as well. 

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