Whenever we approach traveling season full of fun vacations and explorations, the question arises: Who is going to watch the pets? Which is a better option, dog boarding facility or hiring an in home pet sitter? This struggle is faced by most pet parents as it can be overwhelming leaving your loved ones behind. Today I hope to help you decide which option will best suit you and your family's needs.
Your Pets Best Interest
To start, you may want to evaluate the length of time you will be gone as this can have a huge play in what you conclude. Having your dog in a dog boarding facility for several weeks at a time can (in most cases) become very stressful for the dog. I have worked in several dog boarding facilities and seen even the most playful pups become stressed out after a significant amount of time. An in home pet sitter allows your dog to be in their most comfortable environment - your home. You can also look into splitting the trip between both options if possible. Shorter trips are certainly not as big a concern and will come down to other factors listed below.
Next, it's time to understand your pets needs, age, energy level, medical concerns, social abilities, ect. A puppy may really enjoy a boarding facility with free play all day, and would also be a great way to get them socialized at a young age. An elderly dog may benefit more from staying home with a professional pet care provider. Remember, with boarding facilities they care for large amounts of dogs at a time while a pet sitter is there just for your dog. You know your dogs needs best.
If your dog is aggressive with other dogs, the best choice would be an in-home pet sitter. Though there are traditional kennels (dogs are kept solo from other dogs) there is a higher risk of them coming in contact with another dog in the facility. Personalized care at home ensures they will be kept solo.
In the end, its all your choice and you know your dog best. Taking all these things into consideration will help you significantly in deciding. Lets review a few more factors that will help you with understanding what you get with each pet care option, pricing, and how to find a top notch provider.
What to expect with dog boarding and finding a good facility
Depending on your city, there could be several facilities or very few. There are a few different options for dog boarding that are typically available. If you're in a small city you may not find all these options available.
The most common is a non-traditional boarding facility that also accepts dog daycare. This provides free-roam and open play areas for the dogs to run around together. The dogs are only kenneled for feeding times and for bed time at the end of the day. This provides a lot of exercise, socialization, and potty time for your pups.
There are also facilities that offer traditional boarding, sometimes in the same facility that offers non-traditional and even some vet clinics. Traditional means they are kept in their own kennel the whole stay. They are either let out for potty breaks or their kennel will offer indoor/outdoor space.
The last boarding option is if a professional pet sitter offers boarding in their own home. They typically only take up to 5-8 boarders at a time, so it's a much more personalized stay.
Regardless which option you choose, be sure you find a provider that has high standards, cleanliness, and a safe facility. It's important to do your research and visit these places before making a decision.
What to expect with a pet sitter and finding a good one
Pet sitters are a wonderful way to keep your pets comfortable in their own home. There is a growing amount of pet sitters nationwide, therefore, you should be able to find one in your area. If you happen to be in a small town it may be more difficult to find one, but don't give up hope. When I suggest you find a pet sitter, I mean finding a local professional pet care business and not using the tech apps like Rover.com, Wag.com, and Care.com or the neighborhood kids. Let me explain the reasoning for this.
Those large tech companies have been giving pet sitters a bad rep largely due to the fact that they let just about anyone sign up to care for peoples homes/pets. They do a simple background check on those who sign up, and offer very little training. This results in a lot of kids or teenagers who are looking to sign up and make extra money, they tend to not pay as much attention to details and understand basic pet first aid and CPR. This isn't always the case of course, I started on Rover.com before starting my business but I've seen far too many horror stories to feel comfortable referring to these companies. If I wouldn't use them for my own pup I would not recommend it to anyone. If you do chose to try these tech apps do good research in finding a quality sitter who takes their job seriously.
Doing a quick google search for "professional pet sitter" or "local pet care business" should help bring up some local options for you. Local businesses typically offer a lot more quality and flexibility as they do this as a career. Most will get CPR and pet first aid certified, carry full insurance, bonding if they have employees, and pay a great amount of attention to detail. After all, this isn't side income and they need to keep up their good reputation.
There are a few different types of services that these businesses typically offer. In-home overnight pet care is a very popular service where the pet sitter will stay in your home with your pets, this gives security to your house as well as your pets. If you aren't interested in someone sleeping in your house, most businesses also offer pet visits. This option is usually required to have at least 3 visits a day to be sure the pets are well cared for, some sitters will let 2 a day slide if they have a doggy door during the day. With either option the sitters will also help bring in packages/mail, water plants, ect. if they have the time to do so in your scheduled time frame.
Pricing is definitely a huge factor that plays into everything, especially if you're paying for pet care and your vacation. Pricing will differ from state to state, but I have found that hiring a professional pet sitter is usually the more expensive option. Keep in mind you get what you pay for. Dog boarding is usually less personalized but they get lots of exercise throughout. Pet sitting is much more personalized, comfortable, you get the security of your house, and can also add in plenty of exercise.
I hope this article has helped you get a little more insight into your options and relieve you from the stress of traveling while leaving your pets behind! I appreciate you reading this article and hope you share it with your friends that may also find this useful!