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Pet-Sitters vs. Kennels: Making the Right Choice

Pet-Sitters vs. Kennels: Making the Right Choice

In a perfect world, your furry friend gets to tag along on all your adventures, no matter where you go! However, in reality, this wouldn’t be very practical. There are simply some places where your pet can’t join you—be it the office, a business trip, family visits, a spontaneous weekend getaway, or that much-needed vacation.

In such instances, a significant question arises: Who will be the perfect caretaker for your pet? Ensuring that your pet receives proper care and attention in your absence becomes a top priority. As a result, the choice between pet sitting and pet boarding turns into a pivotal decision!

Let’s be honest, finding someone reliable to entrust with your pet’s care can be difficult. However, we will guide you through the decision-making process! In this post, we'll outline key factors and explore the unique benefits of pet sitting and pet boarding—helping you to decide what’s best for your fur baby. Our aim? To help you make an informed choice tailored to the well-being and needs of your pet and your peace of mind!


Pet Sitting

Have you ever considered leaving your furry companion in the care of someone else?

Pet sitting can mean relying on the kindness of a family member, neighbor, or close friend to become your pet’s temporary bestie—offering care, companionship, and dedicated attention in your absence! Since they may already be familiar with your pet’s personality, preferences, and any specific behaviors, it allows for a more caring and nurturing environment for your pet.

However, pet sitting can involve two other approaches! You can either hire a skilled professional or use a reputable pet-sitting business. They will care for your pet in the comfort of your home while you’re away—just like a babysitter. It’s a more personalized, one-on-one service! During your leave period, this individual may become a temporary resident in your home for a few nights or visit daily on a consistent schedule—depending on your requirements. They’ll take charge of your furry friend’s needs, from leisurely walks and interactive playtime, to ensuring your pet is well-fed, happy, and content. It’s a tailored experience, perfect for pet owners who aim to keep their furry companions stress-free and happy in a familiar environment. Just be sure to establish clear communication about your furry friend’s routine, medical requirements (if any), and any special instructions.

The goal? To create an atmosphere that closely mimics the love, care, and routines that your fur baby is accustomed to when you’re at home! If you’re worried—don’t be! Pet sitters will often provide real-time regular updates, including photos, videos, or messages, to keep you informed about your pet’s well-being! In the case of an emergency or problem, they will contact you right away.


What Pet Owners Should Consider Before Choosing Pet Sitting Services

Choosing a pet sitter as a care option for your four-legged friend requires careful consideration to ensure you are making the right decision that is not only best for you but also guarantees your pet’s safety and well-being.

Let’s take a look at several key factors pet parents should consider before opting for pet sitting!

Your Pet’s Personality & Needs

  • Consider your pet’s specific needs, temperament, and energy levels!  Is your pet sociable and outgoing, or are they more reserved and independent?  Are they shy towards new people, or can they be aggressive towards other people and pets?  Is your furry friend full of energy, or are they more laid-back?  Ensure you select a pet-sitting arrangement that aligns with your pet’s characteristics—choose a pet sitter whose energy matches your pet!  A good match ensures tailored care and contributes to a positive overall experience for your furry friend while you’re gone.

Experience and Qualifications

  • Do your research!  Search for a reputable pet sitter or pet-sitting business with positive reviews and extensive experience in pet care.  Ask for references from previous clients or check online to read reviews and feedback from other pet owners.  It's essential to ensure they have a proven track record of delivering professional, reliable, and high-quality services.  You can also check for any relevant qualifications and certifications.

Meet In Advance (In-Person)

  • Arrange a face-to-face meeting with the pet sitter!  This meeting will allow you to gauge their compatibility with your pet and observe their interactions.  More so, it lets you see how your pet responds to them—pay attention to your furry friend’s body language, reactions, and overall comfort level when around the prospective pet sitter. 

Clear Terms and Contract 

  • Clarify the costs associated with pet-sitting services!  Establish clear terms of the pet-sitting arrangement, including the payment schedule, cancellation fees, or any additional charges.  You must understand how much you are paying and what you are paying for!  Be sure to have a written contract that details the duration of the visit, services provided, and any specific instructions or requirements for your pet.  Services may include feeding, walking, administering medication, playtime, pet training, and any additional services your pet may need.  

Communication During Your Leave 

  • Choose a pet sitter with proper communication etiquette!  Leaving your fur baby in the care of someone else can make you anxious, and as pet parents, you will want to receive regular updates about your pet’s well-being while you’re away.  Establish a clear communication plan with your prospective pet owner.  They can send you daily updates—including photos, videos, or messages—to reassure you that your pet is in good hands.  Ensure that you clarify your expectations regarding the frequency and methods of communication.  Remember—the key to a happy and successful pet-sitting experience is COMMUNICATION!

Security Measures

  • If the pet sitter will be staying in your home, discuss security measures!  A trustworthy pet sitter will take measures to ensure that your pet and property are safe and secure.  Discuss your expectations regarding locking the doors/windows, handling spare keys, setting alarms, mail retrieval, and other specific instructions.

Emergency Plans

  • Discuss emergency plans and procedures with your pet sitter.  Ensure they have your veterinarian’s contact information, access to your pet’s medical information—such as any conditions they may have, and know what steps to take in case of an emergency.

In the event that you choose to drop your fur baby off at the pet sitter’s or caretaker’s residence rather than having them stay home, consider bringing items that remind your furry friend of home! These could include a blanket or some of their favorite toys. This helps to create a sense of extra comfort and familiarity for your pet during their stay.


Pros of Hiring A Pet Sitter

There are several reasons why someone might choose a pet sitter instead of other options. For one, your pet can remain in the comfort of their own home—a primary consideration for many pet parents! This is especially important for pets with anxiety or attachment issues, as sudden changes in their environment can cause them to feel stressed or overwhelmed. At home, your pet can feel safe and secure, surrounded by familiar sights, sounds, and having access to all of their favorite toys, food, and cozy bedding. On the other hand, taking your furry friend to a boarding facility, a completely new environment, can be stressful for them and make it difficult to adjust. It can make it particularly challenging for pets not used to being around other animals or strangers taking care of them. Having a pet sitter come to your home can be less disruptive and more comforting.

Another benefit of pet sitting is the perfect dose of care and attention that your pet receives! Pet sitters can provide personalized care tailored to your pet's unique needs—whether it's adhering to specific feeding routines or handling medical requirements. Pets often thrive on consistency, and when you hire a pet sitter, they can follow your specific instructions to ensure your pet maintains their regular schedule. This may include activities like walks, interactive play sessions, and training tasks, which can sometimes be affected in a new environment. Compared to the group settings in boarding facilities, it's more individualized! With pet-sitting, your pet receives one-on-one attention, and for pets with special needs or those accustomed to specific schedules, this can be a comforting and stress-free experience.

Additionally, pet sitting can minimize your pet’s exposure to illnesses! The close living quarters of boarding facilities can promote the spread of potentially contagious infections or diseases, putting your fur baby’s health at risk. How? Well, with different types of pets from various locations staying in one facility, it increases the likelihood of disease transmission or injury. A pet sitter will prioritize your canine or feline companion’s health and well-being, reducing their risk of exposure to diseases or injury.


Here Are Some Potential Drawbacks of Pet Sitting

With pros, comes the cons. While pet sitting is a popular and often convenient choice for many pet owners, it does come with some drawbacks!

  • If your pet isn’t a fan of strangers, they might not be thrilled about having a new face in their home while you’re gone.  If your dog or cat is uncomfortable around strangers, it can interfere with how well the prospective pet sitter can do their job.  It’s the same if you were sending them to a boarding facility.  You will need to ensure that your pet is well-behaved and welcoming.  If that is not the case, a pet sitter may not be the best option!  
  • It can be costly!  Hiring a pet sitter can be expensive, especially if they stay overnight or visit daily.  Due to the personalized nature of the service, services added (such as grooming or training if offered), and the responsibility of staying in the owner's home, it can lead to a higher price tag.  Some may even add on extra fees if you extend the duration.  Not to mention, one-on-one sessions tend to be more expensive than group sessions!
  • Trust! Trust! Trust! Finding someone you can entrust with your home and your furry friend’s well-being can be challenging.  Keep in mind that the quality of care your pet receives depends on the trustworthiness of the chosen pet sitter and their reliability.  Be sure to do your research thoroughly!

Pet Boarding

Pet boarding is a professional service where owners can leave their dog or cat in a care facility dedicated to looking after pets. These facilities—often known as boarding kennels, pet resorts, pet boarding facilities, pet hotels, or even veterinary facilities—offer a safe, secure, and supervised environment for pets. They provide temporary accommodation for your fur baby while you are away and work to ensure your pet is well-cared for! Trained and experienced staff members are present to provide full-time supervision. They will diligently monitor your pet to ensure they are safe, healthy, and secure!

Pet boarding facilities typically have various amenities and services. For instance, your pet will receive regular meals, fresh water, exercise, and a clean living space. While some facilities provide secure enclosures and well-designed spaces for your pet to move around, more luxurious facilities may offer additional services like spa treatments, gourmet meals, themed suites, and webcams for you to check in on your pet!

These facilities will typically offer a variety of activities to keep your pet entertained and happy, such as walks, supervised playtime, and socialization—group activities with other pets (if allowed by the facility). Some may even have veterinary services on-site or arrangements with nearby clinics.

The aim is to create a safe, comfortable, and engaging environment for pets during their stay. It's an alternative to hiring a pet sitter or relying on family and friends to care for your pet when you leave!


Prior to Selecting A Pet Boarding Facility, Consider These Tips!

Selecting the appropriate pet boarding facility is vital for your pet's well-being, but let's face it—it can be challenging to find one that meets your requirements. So here are some tips and factors you should consider!

  • Visit the facility in person to assess its cleanliness, hygienic practices, and maintenance.  It should be clean, sanitary, and secure.  Additionally, check for proper ventilation and adequate lighting.  Get a feel of the environment!  It should be spacious.
  • Inquire about the knowledge and qualifications of the staff caring for the pets. Are they friendly?  Can they handle the needs of different types of pets?  Is staff on duty 24/7?  Consider these questions.
  • Research the reputation of the facility.  Read online reviews and testimonials from pet owners who have used their services.
  • What are the health and safety protocols of the facility?  Inquire about their vaccination requirements and confirm whether pets are required to be up-to-date on vaccinations.
  • Find out if the boarding facility has outdoor exercise areas for your pet to play, stretch, and move around.  Inquire about how much time they are able to spend outside their kennel.
  • Ensure there is adequate supervision and attention given to each pet.
  • Do they provide updates?  Discuss communication methods and ensure they are willing to provide regular updates.
  • Carefully review the boarding facility’s contract and policies, including fees, cancellation terms, and any additional charges.  Ensure they can house your pet for the planned dates of your travel.


If your pet is more social, doesn’t have anxiety or separation issues, and is able to easily adapt to new environments, pet boarding facilities may be a good option for you!


Making the Decision!

When deciding between pet sitting and boarding, consider your budget and pet’s needs. Regarding budget, both options have associated costs that determine the overall pricing. Additionally, you will need to factor in additional costs, such as transportation or special services that your pet may require. However, while the cost is significant, it is equally important to prioritize your furry friend’s well-being and ensure they receive the utmost care and attention while you’re away. Therefore, your budget—and duration of absence— will influence the type of services you can afford and the quality of care provided to your furry friend!

To make the appropriate decision, you will also need to consider your pet’s temperament and socialization preferences. While some pets thrive in social environments, others may feel more comfortable in the familiarity of their own home. More so, some pets are able to adapt easily to new environments while others can experience stress or anxiety. If your pet has special needs, such as medical requirements, mobility, issues, or specific dietary restrictions, you may find that a pet sitter may be the more suitable option.

Nonetheless, you know your pet best! It is important that you do your due diligence to ensure the option that you choose is most suitable for you, your pet, and their needs. At the end of the day, their health, well-being, and happiness is what matters most! Soothe your concerns knowing you’ve made a thoughtful decision that places your fur baby’s welfare at the forefront!


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