Should you hire a pet sitter or is a professional pet boarding facility the better choice? It’s official, you just booked your long overdue vacation. Ahhh…you sit back, close your eyes. You can just hear the waves crashing. When you take in a nice long deep breath you can practically smell the fresh air and feel the cool breeze on your face. You just start to think about your poolside cocktail and then you remember….the DOG.
Great. It’s bad enough you have to be without the dog for several days, but how will you EVER trust anyone to take care of your dog the way you do? Nowadays there are SO many options, but it’s about what’s right for YOUR dog and what feels right to you. The following pet service options are available in most areas. Let’s explore the likes and dislikes of each so you can make an informed choice based on what’s best for you and your furry family member. You can also learn more here about how much your dog misses YOU while you’re away, by reading more here.
Professional Pet Boarding Options
Luxury Boarding Facility
Likes: Some of these centers are so nice, you’ll wish you could stay there yourself. Not only do they come with tons of extras like grooming, training, ball launchers, filled peanut butter kongs, and massages, they also have well trained and experienced staffing on hand at all times.
Dislikes: Depending on your budget, this option may be out of reach for some. Top notch care can come with a top-notch price tag.
What kind of dog does best with this option: Dogs who make friends easily and who prefer not to be alone do well in this environment. Those types who adapt well to change and like a taste of adventure and a vacation of their own so to speak will enjoy this type of stay. It’s best to be prepared with this style of boarding as well, learn more here.
Things to keep in mind: What type of staff training does the facility offer? How do they handle emergencies such as dog fights? What are the methods used for redirection when dogs make mistakes? In other words, do they use time outs, squirt bottles of water, shock collars? Be sure to ask. Also, very important! What is the dog/trainer ratio? How many trainers per dogs being monitored? Subsequently, does the facility have trainers on deck who are knowledgable in canine body language and behavior? This list of questions is important to consider when seeking care from a professional boarding center.
Like: Most likely these establishments have a long-standing reputation in your community. You should be able to get plenty of references.
Dislike: Traditional kennels certainly provide for your dog’s basic needs, but there may not be too many extras available like training, swimming, or socialization with other dogs. If they do, you found a good one!
Like: You get what you pay for, kennels are typically inexpensive. If they provide the bells and whistles be prepared to pay more.
What type of dog typically does best with this option: Traditional boarding is a great option for hunting breeds, easygoing, happy go lucky types who aren’t the type that are easily spooked or anxious.
Like: When you board your dog with your veterinarian you know the care will give you “peace” of mind.
Dislikes: Most of your dogs time will be spent in a cage, other than short walks for elimination.
Like: For dogs with any health issues, especially elderly dogs, this can be a great option since the veterinary staff will be closely monitoring your dog. This may help for future care diagnostics and recommendations to keep your dog healthier!
What kind of dogs do best with this option: Elderly dogs – hands down! Or those who have medical conditions or need medical monitoring.
Pet Sitting Options
Dog Walking Services
Dog sitters or sometimes called dog walkers will walk, feed and play with your dog. Many will offer waste removal and house sitting services like turning on the lights and bringing in your mail.
Likes: Your dog walker could be your neighbor’s daughter, your niece, the boy across the street or a professional company. Either way, finding help is usually not too difficult.
Dislikes: On the other hand, finding care during major holidays isn’t easy!
Likes: The price for this care is usually pretty competitive and priced fairly low depending on the service. Some walkers and pet sitters offer training or detailed reports so prices could get higher for those types of extra services or qualifications. Also, many companies are licensed, bonded and insured so they will most likely price higher than the neighbor.
What kind of dog does best with this option: Older dogs or dogs who are set in their ways and routine do well with this type of service option. Also, dogs who prefer not to socialize with dogs or people or dogs who do not do well in the car. Otherwise, this service might be a bit lonely for some.
In-Home Overnight Care
Some of the dog lovers in your community that we listed above may be willing to stay in your home and be your pet sitter for an additional fee.
Like: Your dog will be able to stay in the comfort of his or her own home.
Dislike: With the additional time at home comes the added risk of legal issues. Anytime you have service in your home, it’s best that you are seeking providers that are professionally bonded and insured.
What kind of dog does best with this option: Dogs who are used to having you all to themselves! Dogs with behavior issues such as dogs who are clinically diagnosed with separation anxiety or training issues that require special attention such as anxiety in the car. Homes with additional pets who require care too or elderly dogs who need to stay home.
Overnight Care in a Pet Sitters Home
Many pet sitters have a day job too, so what better than to have your dog stay with them instead of just having the sitter run to your house when they get off work!
Like: Most likely you pet sitter is a dog lover who will have their own pets too. So this means they will most likely be able to socialize.
Dislike: Socialization always includes risk.
What kind of dog does best with this option: Curious and excitable types who are happy go lucky and playful and always game for an adventure!
Friends or Family Members
When your friends or family watch your dog for you, this can be a big stress reducer for everyone.
Like: Nobody knows your dog like you, and your friends and family!
Disklike: Your friends and family aren’t professionals. Even if you are paying them, they will most likely not be able to recognize a problem the way a pet sitter would.
Like: Friends and family will keep in touch a lot! Text pictures and answer all your calls anytime!
Dislike: Accidents can happen and feelings can get hurt. Involving friends and family with our loved ones, is always a consideration when it comes to the care of our pets.
What kind of dog does best with this option: Shy or elderly dogs who do not do well with change.
There are many options when it comes to who will care for our pet. What we say at Wag, is that you should feel the “warm fuzzies.” You will know. Much like a parent seeking care for their child, you will know. It should and will feel right. Tour as many centers as you can or interview as many pet sitters as needed so you can compare. Find the care provider that makes you feel so comfortable you book trip after trip making up for lost time now that you found the caregiver you can trust!