So you are ready to go on that much needed vacation, but you don’t know what to do with your pets. What is the difference between Kennels and in home pet sitting and how should you decide what is best for your four legged family members? We understand our services are not for every pet. Here is an honest comparison to hopefully helping you make the best decision for your four legged kids.
Age: If you have a young puppy who never runs out of energy boarding could be a great option because he will have a variety of friends to play with as opposed to pet sitting. Unless you have multiple pets or would like a pet sitter to take them to the park or go on walks every visit. If you have an older dog with low energy levels and would like to be left alone to sleep most of the day then in home pet sitting might be a better fit, so they can relax and not be bothered by other dogs.
(Is this the look you get when you are packing? Give your pets a vacation too!)
Personality: Does your dog have a “get along with everyone” personality or would they just rather do their own thing? Are they shy and afraid of new places? If you have a pet who is shy and doesn’t like change you want to make this as stress free as possible for them. You don’t want to see them hiding every time you pack your bags because they know they have to go somewhere too. As far as cats go I can’t speak for them all, but my cat is the most laid back, people friendly, always has to be around cat. As soon as I took him to a friends house to watch him he hated it. I have never met a cat who liked to be somewhere other than his home and especially around a lot of other cats and dogs!
Routine: Does your pets have a routine they do every day? Of course they do and we need to make sure they stick to their routine to minimize undue stress while you are away. They come lick you on your face 5 minutes before your alarm goes off or your cat belts out what sounds like a mix between a broken record and possibly him dying right around the time you usually feed them. I personally don’t want my cat to eat earlier than 630 am because I know he will be relentless the day you feed him any earlier. At kennels usually they have certain feeding times for everyone and certain times they go out for breaks and to play. With a pet sitter you can customize the visits to follow your same routine.
Free roam: Does your pets have free roam of the house? If so, going to a boarding facility could be restricting for them. There are kennels that have cage free kennels (which are enclosures with a door, so little rooms) which are really nice but it’s still only limited space, so if your animals aren’t used to being confined it could turn into a problem while you are away. This especially goes for cats. If you kennel your pets already then a kennel could be a good choice because you can check out cage free kennels and it’s like a doggy hotel!
Car rides: If your animals get car sickness or just hate being in the car this could be quite a task for you on top of all the other stuff you have to do to prepare for your trip. Will the facility be open when you get back in town or do you have to plan your trip so you get back before they close or will they have to stay an extra night? If you have a pet sitter you just come home and unpack!
Multiple pets: Don’t lie. How many do you really have? The average person has 2-3 pets and the cost to board them (price based on #) could be pretty high and some places won’t allow you to put them in the same room for safety reasons. If you think your pets would like to be boarded and you would like them to stay together some places do offer up to 2 in one room, but you will just have to look around. When it comes to in home pet sitting a lot of companies charge extra after 2 pets, usually $2-$3 more per visit per pet extra pet and some don’t charge at all. If you have 5 cats and 4 dogs (yes I have seen this) this too could get pricey but probably not as pricey as taking them to a boarding facility and think of trying to transport all of them!
One on one playtime: This is really just up to you. Boarding facilities may offer one on one playtime or they may just offer playtime (with all the other dogs) and have a extra fee for one on one play time. Of course with in home pet sitting the main focus is your pets.
“Aggressive Breeds”: Notice I put the quotations around aggressive breeds because there is no such thing. All dogs can be aggressive and some even have it in their nature more than others but it really comes down to the owners. Did you know that some pet sitters and boarding facilities don’t even work with the media labeled “aggressive breeds”! As a pet owner and my pets being my kids you know how bad this frustrates me! I don’t want my kid being left out because of what breed they are and if you have one of these breeds make sure you do enough research on the pet sitter or facilty to see that they do work with these breeds and treat them as any other breed. If you are experiencing aggressive behavior or are just looking for a great trainer make sure to visit Gone to the Dogs Obedience School, Lana is awesome!!
Allergies/sickness: If your dog has allergies going anywhere might be a bad idea. Being in an unusual place might irritate their allergies and cause stress on them which can worsen their symptoms. One of my client’s has a dog with 42 known allergies and she remodeled her home and yard to accommodate for him-what a good mom! Also kennels do require your pet to be up to date on vaccinations but being around a lot of dogs can cause kennel cough even though they have the shot. Just like us, when we get the flu shot it doesn’t mean we won’t get a mild cold or flu it just means we won’t get the full blown flu. Same goes for dogs with kennel cough. Some pet sitters require up to date records and some don’t and it depends on if you want the sitter to take your dog to the park or walks then most will require you to have up to date records. Side note: if you do get your pets up to date before you go out of town please do this a few weeks in advance and not the weekend before, because they can have a bad reaction to the shots while someone is not around.
Your home: This one isn’t thought about a lot because maybe you don’t have plants or know your neighbors are always home to keep an eye on suspect activity around your home. But what about your mail and paper? You could put a stop to it, but then you would need to go pick it up when you got back. Or just problems that may go unnoticed while you are away for a extended length of time? Just an example: One of our clients AC stopped working another had a city leak and turned their lawn into a shallow pond. In my experience it’s always nice to know someone is in and out of your home and checking in on things.
Cost: Kennels range from $25 a night to $75 a night and can come with charges like administering medications, one on one playtime, extra potty breaks (for older dogs or puppies), larger rooms, and sometimes a web cam (optional) charge. If you want to see costs of in home pet sitting check out How Much Does In Home Pet Sitting Cost?
I hope this has been helpful in finding the right care for your pets while you are away. Please let us know what you think below and as always if there are any questions you have please feel free to give us a call!