You work hard every day and you deserve a break just as much as the next guy. So, what’s holding you back? It’s those pleading eyes, isn’t it? You love your little fur baby like crazy and trusting someone to take care of him while you’re away is a really tough decision!
There are typically two options when it comes to overnight pet care. Should you hire a pet sitter or board your pet at a kennel? Here’s a comparison of both options to help you make the best decision and give you peace of mind.
The Pros of Hiring a Pet Sitter
Many pet owners prefer to use the services of a professional pet sitter for multiple reasons. First and foremost, a pet sitter comes to your home to care for your pet, which means your baby gets to stay where he feels the safest and most comfortable.
Your pet sitter can follow your pet’s normal daily routine, alleviating stress, and anxiety while you’re away. His diet and exercise routine is uninterrupted, and any medications can be administered by a trained professional as required.
Pet sitters are also trained to work with animals of all different personalities, and they know how to tailor your pet’s care according to his habits, fears, likes, and dislikes. Since they’re working with your pet one-on-one, they’re more likely to spot any signs of illness and seek medical care immediately.
Since the same pet sitter comes to your home every day, your pet will get to know their care provider. They aren’t exposed to a revolving door of people and animals they don’t know. A pet sitter also provides one on one love, attention, and exercise, which is something you just can’t expect at a busy boarding kennel where one person is responsible for many animals at once.
The Cons of Hiring a Pet Sitter
The only con to hiring a pet sitter is that your pet may miss you while you’re away, but that’s inevitable no matter which option you choose. However, there’s no doubt that he’ll be much happier at home than he would be in a strange place. And, with the right pet sitter, your baby will be perfectly content to soak up the attention of his new friend until you get home.
The Pros of Boarding at a Kennel
Sometimes, boarding at a kennel is a little bit cheaper than hiring a pet sitter because the kennel owner pays just one or two people to care for many animals at once. Some dogs who are very outgoing may also enjoy being in a new place surrounded by a lot of activity and other pets. However, if you want your dog to have one on one playtime or exercise, most kennels charge an additional fee for the service.
The Cons of Boarding at a Kennel
Unfortunately, the cons of boarding your dog at a kennel far outweigh the pros. Boarding at a kennel exposes your pet to a completely unfamiliar environment and routine. These new sounds, sights, and scents can be terrifying for many animals.
And, just when they begin to get used to the people caring for them, the shift changes and they have to get used to someone new all over again. Caretakers at a boarding kennel are responsible for many animals at once, so your pet isn’t likely to get much if any, one-on-one attention. If your pet isn’t eating, becomes ill, or is injured, it may be overlooked by busy staff.
Not only that, but the animals in the facility are also coming and going continuously. Some may be aggressive or have alpha personalities, possibly terrifying your pet even more, or even doing physical harm.
There’s also a high potential for exposure to airborne illness, such as kennel cough, canine influenza, or feline upper respiratory infections, according to the experts from Bond Vet, an NYC animal hospital. Parasites like fleas and ticks can also be a real problem at crowded boarding facilities.
The stress of boarding also increases the potential for stress-related illnesses such as stomach upset and diarrhea. Sensitive pets often refuse to eat while they’re at the kennel, especially if the kennel feeds a different food than what they’re used to eating at home.
Even worse, many animals become panicked in this type of environment and may injure themselves trying to escape confinement. Worse yet, they may even manage to escape the facility entirely and become lost.
Pet Sitting vs Boarding: Here’s the Bottom Line
Sadly, there are a lot of serious risks involved when it comes to boarding your pet at a kennel. On the other hand, when you hire a pet sitter, your pet may miss you a little while you’re away, but everything else in his life will remain constant and stress-free.
Most animals are creatures of habit and they prefer to be in their own territory. For most pets, staying at home, even when you’re not there, is so much better than being trapped in a strange place without you.
At the end of the day, hiring a pet sitter is a better option than boarding because there’s less stress for you and your pet. Whether you have a dog, cat, bird, small animal, or reptile, most animals are happiest in their familiar environment. It allows your pet to hang out in the place where he’s most comfortable and feels safest while you enjoy your vacation.
And, as a pet parent, you’ll feel better knowing your baby isn’t scared in a new place, surrounded by animals and people he doesn’t know.