Last Updated on 6 days by Dr. Shannon Barrett
Traveling with your dog can be a lot of fun.
There’s no guilt about leaving your furry family member behind and the joy of having them beside you for adventures.
However, only some places you stay have an ideal backyard for your dog. And finding a local dog park can be difficult. Assuming your canine companion plays well with others.
As a veterinarian, I am not a big fan of dog parks.
As digital nomads, we stay in a new place every month. Although we only try to stay in places with yards for our beloved Shepherd, some homes are better than others.
When I learned about Sniffspot, I was intrigued!
An app that lets me reserve a private backyard where I can play with my dog off-leash in hour increments. It’s a fun idea, especially for those who travel with their dogs.
Let’s explore some of the benefits of using Sniffspot to see if it’s as good as it sounds.
What is Sniffspot?
Sniffspot is an online marketplace where pet owners can rent out private backyards and other outdoor spaces from people in their local community.
Through Sniffspot, pet owners can find outdoor spaces to exercise their dogs without worrying about potential hazards or even other people.
This makes it great for dogs who may be shy or reactive around strangers or unfamiliar environments.
Why Should I Use Sniffspot?
The most significant benefit is the convenience it provides.
Instead of having to drive all over town looking for an off-leash area or dog park, you can search through the listings on Sniffspot to find a nearby space that meets your needs.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about crowds or dangerous terrain; every rental property listed includes pictures and descriptions.
If others have used the property, hopefully, reviews have been added as well.
Additionally, it is an excellent option for reactive dogs.
It’s also great if you have a high energy dog such as a Border Collie and your yard is not large enough to provide adequate exercise.
Renting a private yard offers a controlled environment away from potential triggers.
These secure spaces allow your canine companion to exercise and explore the world without the stress of encountering other dogs or distractions, fostering a more relaxed and enjoyable experience for both you and your pet.
How do Sniffspot’s private dog parks work?
1) Search by location
2) You can apply several different filters to your search
3) Should the property be fenced? If so, what is the fence height?
4) Do you need a large property or a smaller yard? You can choose from 0.25 acres to 10 acres or more.
5) How far are you willing to drive to access your dog’s ideal property? Any distance is an option.
After you select your criteria, you will be given a list of properties.
Hopefully, there are enough in your area that fulfill your requirements. It is a relatively new service, and it was started in 2018 and currently has over 7000 spots available.
New sites are added frequently. However, this is very location dependent.
When I searched in my area (Mt. pleasant, SC) with the following requirements:
Fence: Fully Fenced (Any fence height)
Size: Any size
Distance: 5 miles or less
Audible/Visible: No other dogs, no other domestic animals
I left all other filters blank
Only three spots were available. These are not 5 miles away; the closest would be a 15-20 mile drive.
6) Once you find locations that fit your criteria, you can view each location’s amenities and any reviews.
Booking a private dog park and its space is relatively simple. A calendar view lets you choose a day and time for your dog excursion.
7) Pay online and reserve your spot
What does it cost?
The cost seems very reasonable, and the rent ranges from $5-$15/hour, depending on the private space. Larger spaces with more amenities will cost more.
Who is responsible for Clean up?
The host is responsible for keeping your dog’s private space clean and safe. You are responsible for cleaning up after your pet while using the area.
Are Sniffspot dog parks safe?
Based on my research, they seem safer than public dog parks, but since each space is privately owned land, there is a renter beware caveat.
If and when I rent one of these spaces for my dog, I would prefer one with some reviews.
This isn’t always possible, but it is no different than renting an Air BnB, which we do every month. Here is how I plan to approach it:
- Read Reviews
- Read the description the owner has provided (see example below)
- Check a google map of the area to ensure the surrounding area looks safe
- Bring your portable water bowl and bottled water for your dog
- I recommend bringing your dogs’ own balls and toys
- Ensure your dog is up to date on vaccines (not just those required by Sniffspot).
- Check with your veterinarian and see what vaccines they recommend for the area where you will be traveling. For instance, if you are traveling to a place where ticks are prevalent, ask them if they recommend the Lyme vaccine.
- When you enter the space, look around for any holes in the fence or sharp objects where your dog could injure themselves.
Since most public dog parks do not require any vaccines, Sniffspot does require you to submit vaccine information when making a reservation.
Also, they need a 30-minute buffer between bookings and play to ensure no dogs meet—another pro over dog parks.
How Can Sniffspot Help Pet Travelers?
Following the guidelines above, this may be an excellent way for your pet to get much-needed exercise while traveling.
Dogs love being with their owners, but changing their routines can cause stress, and exercise is a perfect way to help alleviate some of this stress for both of you.
What are the cons of Sniffspot?
Although hosts must submit photos and descriptions of their private spaces, the yards don’t appear to need an in-person review to be listed on the site.
Therefore you are trusting that the pictures and descriptions are accurate when you make your reservation.
There are requirements listed on the website, including no poisonous plants in the space.
This is a great idea. However, I can’t identify all the plants in my yard, not to mention which ones are poisonous.
If you do ever have questions about the toxicity of any plants in your yard, check out the Pet Poison Hotline website.
That being said, there is also very little control over the plants growing at public dog parks.
The company recommends that hosts provide environmentally-friendly sanitizer to their guests so they can clean the water bowls and toys after using them.
Be aware that this is not a requirement. The same recommendation is made for concrete and hard surfaces; however, it is up to the host to carry out these cleaning procedures.
What is our opinion of Sniffspot?
It is a good option for those of us who like to travel with our
This is great for those dogs whose experience would be ruined by hearing another dog barking inside the house.
As a veterinarian, I have seen numerous injuries from dog parks, so I tend to avoid them.
As we continue our travels, I will check it out and update you on our experience.
Sniffspot, with its innovative approach, maybe a game-changer for dog owners seeking to steer clear of dog parks but seeking a safe and engaging space for their canine companions.
Run free, my friends.
Dr. Shannon Barrett brings an exceptional blend of academic excellence and professional expertise to the world of veterinary medicine. With a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Western University of Health Sciences, where she graduated with honors, and dual Bachelor degrees in Biological Sciences and Psychology, her depth of knowledge is extensive. A member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Barrett's insights and contributions to pet health have been featured in leading publications such as Rover, MarketWatch, and Newsweek.