HouseMyDog wants to transform the dog minding industry

By: August 19, 2014
James & Timothy McElroy, founders of HouseMyDog.com James & Timothy McElroy, founders of HouseMyDog.com

If you are a dog owner you will be familiar with the issue of where to keep the dog when you are away from home. Now, a new solution to the problem has arrived and it’s gaining in popularity with both dog owners and the dogs themselves.

HouseMyDog, described as the Airbnb for dogs, is an Irish start-up with big plans to disrupt the ‘kennels and cages’ approach to dog minding.

Connecting dog owners with dog minders
HouseMyDog is an online community that connects dog owners with vetted and experienced dog minders. “It is no secret that kennels suck and dog owners (and their dogs) don’t like using them,” says James McElroy, co-founder of the company. (James’ brother Timothy is also co-founder)

“We created HouseMyDog to fix that. Dog owners can say goodbye to kennels and cages and travel with peace of mind knowing their dog will be cared for by a loving minder in a real home.”

Since launching in January 2014 the community has grown to over 2,000 members in Ireland and the UK.

HouseMyDog has also been selected as one of 500 start-ups for the Dublin Web Summit Alpha program (out of 9,000 applicants), and has recently advanced to the second round of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition.

So, how did the two brothers come up with the idea? Is it in other markets? “We weren’t happy with the available dog boarding solutions for our own dog, Holly, and found that over 65% of dog owners we spoke to also wanted a cage-free alternative. In our research we came across comparable services in the US, and we felt that European dog owners were being left behind,” says James.

The two brothers took the leap and founded the platform and the community. First, they had to recruit dog minders and put in place a system that made sure the right kind of people became minders.

“HouseMyDog takes the safety of our community very seriously. All of our minders must complete mandatory verifications including email verification, address verification and a full minder profile that includes photos, qualifications and a description of who they are the care and services they will offer guest dogs,” says Timothy.

HouseMyDog takes a three percent commission on every booking and James says the plan is to fine tune the business in Ireland before expanding it across Europe.

“If we can someday offer a viable alternative to kennels, with loving minders in real homes, for all European dogs than we would consider that mission accomplished,” says James.