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Pet Boarding VS. Pet Sitter

Pet Boarding VS. Pet Sitter: The Ideal Vacation for Pets

Embarking on a journey can be a thrilling endeavor. However, for those of us who are pet owners, our vacation plans often come bundled with a particular concern What to do with our furry companions when we are away? There are times when taking our pets along on our adventures isn’t feasible.

Get Help From a Professional Pet Sitter - Portland Pet Stores

Whether it’s due to overseas travel constraints or visits to not-so-pet-friendly family, sometimes our beloved pets must stay behind. This scenario raises the important question of who will care for our loyal friends in our absence. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the current trends and choices in pet care while on vacation, focusing on two professional pet care options doggy daycare boarding kennels and pet sitters.

Your ideal choice will greatly depend on your pet’s temperament, age, health, and the services offered by the care providers. Experts at the American Kennel Club advocate seeking recommendations from trustworthy sources in your pet care network such as your veterinarian, pet groomer, or friends who are fellow pet owners. Once you have a list of potential care providers, it’s time to embark on thorough research.

Pet Boarding

It’s crucial to understand that not all boarding kennels are equal in the services they offer. They range from traditional kennels providing sleeping areas and outdoor runs to innovative facilities like doggie daycare that offer cabins for overnight boarders. For those looking for a luxurious experience for their pets, pet hotels or inns offer suites for dogs to sleep in. There are even doggie camps that offer a cage-free environment where boarders snuggle together on cozy beds or blankets.

Dog Boarding Services | Dog Boarding Facilities | Pet Palace

Typically, daycare/boarding and camp facilities hire a team of staff to supervise play sessions and interact with pets. In many pet hotels, a pet is assigned to a single attendant throughout its stay, ensuring personalized care. Pets might also enjoy additional services like walks, playdates, swimming pools, and even spa treatments, depending on the facility.

Boarding your pet can offer several benefits. Most boarding facilities provide round-the-clock staff supervision. Pets have opportunities to engage with staff and other pets throughout the day. This option also removes the need for a stranger to enter your home, which can be a concern for some. To assure owners, some kennels even offer webcam services for you to check on your pet.

However, boarding your pet comes with its own set of drawbacks. It can be costly, and some pets might find the boarding environment distressing. Play sessions, though supervised, can sometimes result in injuries. Moreover, being around other pets can expose your pet to potential illnesses.

In choosing a kennel, it’s essential that the facility meets all state licensing requirements and insists that all boarders are up-to-date on vaccinations, including for kennel cough (Bordetella). The ASPCA strongly advises a visit and thorough inspection of each potential boarding facility. When visiting, ensure that the kennel is clean, well-lit, ventilated, and temperature-controlled. Check for sturdy gates and fences, solid dividers for sleeping compartments, and whether dogs have access to raised beds. Trustworthy kennels should provide a clear boarding agreement, outlining your rights and their responsibilities. Be sure to ask about their emergency protocol and seek feedback from past clients about their experiences.

Pet Sitter

On the other side of the coin, pet sitters offer a variety of services. Typically, a professional pet sitter can visit your home multiple times a day, with some offering to stay overnight or host pets in their own homes. They provide a range of services, such as feeding, walking, playing with your pets, and even administering medications. Many offer additional services like bringing in the mail and alternating lights to give the impression of an occupied house.

What to consider when looking for a pet sitter | CBC Life

There are multiple benefits to using a pet sitter. Many pets feel more comfortable in their own homes. Pet sitting can be less expensive than boarding, and owners can set a schedule that closely matches their pet’s routine. The chances of exposure to contagious illnesses or accidents common in a boarding facility are also reduced.

However, hiring a pet sitter involves letting a stranger access your home. Some pets might not be comfortable with unfamiliar individuals entering their territory, and the potential for loneliness between visits is a concern.

When choosing a sitter, it’s important to opt for an established pet-sitting business that is insured and bonded. Reputable pet sitters should have pet care training and pet first aid/CPR certification. Many professional pet sitters are affiliated with associations like Pet Sitters International (PSI) and utilize pet-sitting apps that allow clients to monitor visits and dog walks.

When meeting with a potential pet sitter, confirm that the company conducts background checks on their staff. Discuss what happens in case of an emergency and be clear about your expectations. If you find it difficult to choose between sitters, look to your pet for guidance. Their comfort around a specific sitter might help you make the decision.


Regardless of the pet care option you select, consider conducting a few trial runs to ensure you’re comfortable with your choice. This will grant you peace of mind when you finally embark on your vacation. Lastly, bear in mind that reputable kennels and professional pet sitters tend to fill their slots quickly during busy seasons, so plan ahead and make your reservations in advance to avoid disappointment.

Ensuring our pets are safe and comfortable while we are awayisa key consideration in our vacation planning. This guide provides a roadmap to make the best choice for your beloved pet. Whether it’s a kennel, pet sitter, or doggie daycare, understanding your pet’s needs and thoroughly researching your options will help you enjoy your vacation, knowing your pet is in safe and loving hands.

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