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Pet Sitting vs. Boarding: Which Is Better For My Pets?

White Maltese standing up looking toward the right.

The fact is you can’t always take your pet with you. Sad but true, there are times when it just isn’t practical. That’s when you have to wrestle with the question of which is better for your pet―boarding or hiring a pet sitter?

As a loving pet parent, this can be an excruciating decision for you. But, your priority has to be what is best for your pet, particularly when considering their overall wellbeing.

In short, do your due diligence―get the information you need, including client references, so that you can make an informed decision. And no, it doesn’t matter if you’re going to be gone for a weekend, a week, or longer. The important thing is that your pets are well cared for in your absence―no matter how long you’ll be gone.

It also doesn’t matter if you have a single pet or multiple pets, or whether you have dogs, cats, rabbits, or any assortment of pets. What matters is that your pets’ specific needs are taken care of how they are accustomed.

So, the question remains- pet sitting or boarding, which is better for my pets?

Boarding Option

If you are not comfortable using a pet sitting service that sends a person to your home multiple times a day to care for your pets, then consider boarding your pet at a professionally run boarding kennel.

Don’t ask a friend, neighbor, or relative; that’s a bad idea.

Why, you ask?

Because history has proven itself that while the first time a friend or family member cares for your pets while you’re away, frequently the second or third time they say yes, the level of care decreases or the resentment begins.

We always say- hire a professional.

It’s just not right to stress a personal relationship with that responsibility and liability.

What are the pros of boarding my pet?

  • Likely cheaper than a pet sitter.
  • May offer add-ons, such as one-on-one time for your pet and a staff member, for additional fees.
  • Will meet your pet’s primary care needs.
  • You can lock up with everyone out of the house and not worry.

What are the cons of boarding my pet?

  • Some pets can become very overwhelmed in a boarding environment. The new sites, sounds, and the number of other dogs can create fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS). Not all pets thrive in this environment. For shyer, more submissive pets, boarding environments could cause mental strain or kennel stress.
  • Stress when boarding is the number one reason most dogs end up with a sour belly and end up with bouts of diarrhea.
  • One-on-one attention is hard to come by. With so many other pets, boarding staff don’t have the time to provide the level of care most pet parents want for their pets while they are away.
  • There is the possibility of your pet catching contagious diseases and parasites such as kennel cough, distemper, fleas, ticks, or worms.
  • Younger dogs can learn unwanted behaviors such as barking for attention, lifting their leg inside, becoming destructive when left with other pets who demonstrate this type of behavior.
  • Boarding a puppy can cause them to digress on their potty training and behavior training.
  • Pets are not exercised as often as most need it. Potty breaks can be relatively short, shared with other pets, and located in smaller areas around the facility rather than large open spaces or around a neighborhood.
  • Pets may be caged or penned with other pets or in cages or pens by themselves, leading to stress for those dogs not used to this kind of confinement.
  • Often boarding facilities do not have staff monitoring their residents overnight, using only cameras.
  • Requires transporting some pets who experience car sickness or stress when leaving their own home
  • Your pet’s chance of injury from self-trauma or altercations with other boarders.

Pet Sitter Option

The key is to hire the services of a trusted, locally owned, and operated business. Look for a dedicated pet sitter that is appropriately licensed, bonded, and insured.

Pet Sitter Pros

  • Minimizes your pet’s fear, anxiety, and stress.
  • By staying home, your pet’s exposure to disease is decreased.
  • Your pets remain safe and comfortable at home with all their creature comforts.
  • There are no changes in the pet’s routine or environment.
  • Shy or more submissive pets feel more secure in their own space.
  • No need for transportation.

Along with providing your pets with meals and freshwater, other services that are often also included in pet sitting are

  • Exercise, playtime, and socialization
  • Grooming, brushing, and baths
  • Medication administration for those pets who require it
  • Litter box, bird, and small pets cages cleaned
  • Bowls and pet areas cleaned
  • Housekeeping such as collecting the mail, newspapers, packages, alternating lights and blinds, and watering indoor plants

Pet Sitter Cons

  • Typically more expensive than a kennel.
  • Likely will need more than two visits per day for dogs.
  • For some pets, having a stranger in their home could cause issues.
  • Some pets can get lonely when being left alone at home.

In Conclusion

Whether your pet is a cat or dog, the key things you have to consider are your pet’s age, health condition, vaccine status, obedience, behavior, and special needs. If you aren’t sure whether or not your pet is up on all vaccines, check with your vet.

Be sure to do your due diligence when considering the options for your pet. Always look for a pet sitting or boarding business that is locally owned with excellent references. You’ll be glad you did for your peace of mind and the wellbeing of your pet.

Do you have more questions about which is better for your pets- boarding or hiring a pet sitter? Reach out to us; we are here to help. Also, learn more about how we can help you when you travel- we care when you can’t be there!


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