Pet Sitter or Dog Kennel Boarding – That is the Question

The lazy, hazy days of summer are upon us and many folks are looking to spend some vacation time away from home. Taking the dog is not always possible. Will you choose a boarding kennel or a pet sitter?

The decision has to be made as to what to do. If you do not have a trusted friend or family member to act as guardian, you are faced with two other options that both have pros and cons attached.

It is important to take your dog’s personality into account and how it’s likely to react to certain situations. Many dogs are more stressed at kennels than they would be staying in their own environment. Will you be able to depend on the kennel feeding your dog the food it’s accustomed to? Otherwise, dogs that are fed different food may experience upsets such as vomiting or diarrhea, conditions that can be compounded and made worse with the addition of “stress”.

Lots of dogs in a small area coupled with the stress of boarding can induce a viral infection in some dogs such as kennel cough, similar to lots of kids in close quarters passing around a common “cold”. Proper sanitation is critical for preventing the spread of contagious diseases. Cages and runs should look and smell clean, and the other animals currently being boarded should be clean and appear well cared for.

In case your dog becomes ill, how will it be addressed? Is there a kennel veterinarian on call for treatment, or will your regular veterinarian be contacted. You must be sure this is discussed with the kennel owner.

It is not recommended to board at an animal hospital for the simple reason that you increase the possibility of your dog coming in contact with other dogs’ illnesses that might transfer. If you are opting for the convenience of a dog boarding kennel, be sure to find a facility that you trust and, even better, that others have expressed trust in.

General safety and the friendliness and competence of the staff are most important. Not all boarding kennels are “great”. Some facilities do not give the dogs the play and attention they and you would desire. Extra amenities and attention in the way of treats, walks and play time can be optional “add-ons” to your base fee, so you need to consider these factors for your dog’s comfort and cost analysis.

Find a boarding kennel with a good reputation. Hopefully, you have gotten references and you can be confident that your dog is being monitored in a trustworthy location by professionals who understand their responsibility. The option to board your dog does eliminate the concern over having people you don’t know in your home.

Concern over strangers entering your home can be alleviated with a little advanced preparation. Seek recommendations from reliable people and check references.

The pet sitting situation offers you the advantage of someone checking your house, taking in mail and making your home look occupied in a normal routine. If you desire a higher level of service, you can often find someone who is willing to stay at your home. This gives your pet companion the added advantage of plenty of attention. Office and technical staff at veterinary clinics make good candidates for this purpose or they can often offer you reliable referrals. They or those they might refer are “animal people” and are able to properly handle medical problems should they arise.

Whether you choose a boarding kennel or pet sitter (the better choice, in our opinion, is a pet sitter), make sure you give clear instructions on what food your dog should be fed and any required medications. Whoever is left in charge of your companion should walk and play with the dog several times a day. Give clear directions on what you expect with regard to play time and interaction. Be sure you provide good contact information in the case of an emergency.

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2 Responses to “Pet Sitter or Dog Kennel Boarding – That is the Question”


  1. 1 Cindy June 25, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Very Nice article! It is very important to know you pet and decide what is the best place for them when you are gone. For some kennels are a great place for their pets to socialize. But for some pet owners who have dogs that do not realize they are dogs socializing can be a problem.
    Trust your gut and your pets response!


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