So, you’ve finally adopted the pet of your dreams. They’re loveable, plump, and everything you could ever want. But wait. Your boss is sending you on a business trip to Okinawa and little Popo can’t be left alone. All of your friends suddenly have allergies, and the local doggy daycare doesn’t allow tortoises. What do you do? Find a pet sitter, of course.
Which is better: pet sitting or pet boarding?
If you’ve ever had to put your zero-to-eight-legged best friend into a kennel, cattery, or another kind of pet-boarding facility, you know it isn’t easy. Besides the puppy dog eyes and aggressive hissing (from cat or snake), you may have to contend with extortionate prices and teeny-tiny, ant-sized cages.
Japan’s pet hotels, not to be confused with pet-friendly hotels, are some of the most professional boarding establishments in the world, but even they tend to favor the caged over the uncaged. Let your pet live stress-free in their own environment—isn’t being without you punishment enough?
English-speaking pet sitters in Japan
HappyWanNyan is an easy-to-use bilingual website that pairs you with your pet-sitter soulmate. By searching your postcode, you can make instant connections with sitters in your area. Simply click on a profile to see if they match your preferences, such as size, services, and cost, and make a reservation. Rest at ease, like a cat sun-napping, with their 24/7 support team and detailed customer reviews (a feature Tinder should employ).
- Location: Chiba, Fukuoka, Hyogo, Kanagawa, Kyoto, Osaka, Okinawa, Saitama, Tochigi, and Tokyo
- Services: House sitting, pet homestay/boarding, dog walking, bathing, feeding, and daycare.
- Animal Type: All pets welcome.
- Price: ¥2,000 to ¥4,000 for daycare, ¥3,000 to ¥5,000 for boarding, ¥5,000 to ¥7,000 for house sitting, around ¥1,500 for walking, and ¥700 for bathing.*
* Prices may change depending on each individual sitter and pet. Every transaction includes a Trust and Safety Fee which is 5% of the booking. A portion of this fee goes to animal welfare charities.
With sitters across the globe, Pet Backer is an international website that aims to lather your pets with love and attention while you are away. There’s no need to hunt around; input your dates, needs, and pet type (from unassuming ant to cuddly Great Dane) and within minutes you’ll receive five quotes from surrounding sitters. Their strict requirements, complementary insurance, and customer support will have you purring with delight. For those needing more comfort, you can also track your pet’s bodily functions via their convenient app.
- Location: 100 sitters across Japan.
- Services: House sitting, pet boarding, dog walking, bathing, grooming, feeding, pet-taxi, and daycare.
- Animal Type: All pets welcome.
- Price: ¥2,000 to ¥7,000 for daycare, ¥2,000 to ¥5,000 for boarding, and ¥2,000 to ¥10,000 for house sitting.*
* Prices may change depending on each individual sitter and pet.
Scratch each other’s backs with the TrustedHousesitters community. Share a simpatico relationship with travelers by offering your home while you are away in exchange for pet sitting. Sign up, create a profile with your home’s description, and you’ll soon be flooded with applications looking for a free stay in Japan. It’s a win-win. Don’t fret: background checks are mandatory, plus, you’ll have access to a free 24-hour vet line.
- Location: Nationwide.
- Services: House sitting.
- Animal Type: All.
- Price: Basic Owner, ¥13,999/year; Standard Owner (with home protection, money-back guarantee, and support), ¥17,999/year; Premium Owner (aforementioned plus airport lounge passes and cancellation insurance), ¥27,999.*
* Annual membership required.
Japanese-speaking pet sitters in Japan
Tip: If none of these tickle your fancy, you can search for qualified and trained sitters in your area using Pet2211.
Sewakl holds a database of qualified and professional pet sitters who go through many hoops before joining the team. Your fuzzy children aren’t likely to be disappointed with their new playmate, but if you are, there is a 100% money-back guarantee. There are no hidden costs or extra supplements for breed or size (you won’t be paying more for your pure-bred Pomeranian.) Plus, you’ll receive a diary filled with their daily adventures.
- Location: Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Hyogo, Osaka, Kyoto, Aichi, and Fukuoka.
- Services: Pet sitting, dog walking, and daycare (no overnight stays).
- Animal Type: Dogs, cats, and small animals.
- Dog Price: Basic plan/60 min (incl. walking and daycare), ¥4,400; Care-only plan/45 min (incl. feeding and cleaning), ¥3,740; Walk-only plan/30 min, ¥3,300; and for every additional 15 minutes, ¥660.
- Cat and Small Animal Price: Basic plan/45 mins (incl. feeding and daycare), ¥3,740, and for every additional 15 minutes, ¥330.
If your life consists of endless lint rollers, hairballs, and ruined sweaters, you’ll fit right into Nyatching: an ever-growing community of cat lovers. Make connections with those in your neighborhood and lend a paw when they need it through a communal cat sitting service. While dogs are able to meet up during outings, home-dwelling cats tend to fall behind. Now, you can make a profile for yourself and your kitty and connect virtually with photos, gatherings, and updates.
- Location: Nationwide.
- Services: Communal and professional cat sitting and care.
- Animal Type: Cats only
- Price: Free.*
* Your local neighbor might only charge in freshly baked cookies, but professionals may have a fee on their profile.
Compare pet sitting services
|Service||Daycare||Pet Boarding||House Sitting||Animal Type||English Support||Suitable for:|
|HappyWanNyan||¥2,000 to ¥4,000*||¥3,000 to ¥5,000*||¥5,000 to ¥7,000*||All||Yes||Short and long trips|
|Pet Backer||¥2,000 to ¥7,000*||¥2,000 to ¥5,000*||¥2,000 to ¥10,000*||All||Yes||Short and long trips|
|Sewakl||Basic plan for dogs/60 min: ¥4,400
Basic plan for cats and small animals/45 min: ¥3,740
|N/A||N/A||Cats, dogs, and small animals||No||Short and long trips|
|Nyatching||Free**||Free**||Free**||Cats only||No||Short trips|
* Prices may change depending on each individual sitter. The above has been calculated based on an average.
** Some professional sitters may charge.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but these sitters will soften the blow. If you just came for the cute pictures and don’t actually have a pet, take a glance at our guide on adoption and another on costs.