Bags packed — check. Boarding passes printed — check. Taxi pick up scheduled — check. Arrangements for your pet(s) — uh oh! Making preparations for a pet’s care during your absence can be stressful and overwhelming, not only for you, but for your pets too. The debate between which is better – an in-home pet sitter or the kennel.
Traditionally, boarding has been the most popular solution for pet owners needing to leave their pets. Fortunately, cold concrete and steel runs or steel or plastic cages with no common social space and a rather depressing environment are no longer the norm. Pet hotels with all sorts of amenities are now more common. Shuttle service to and from the boarding facility can make boarding arrangements even easier, especially if you have a very busy schedule, as trips to and from the kennel can become tedious.
An even newer boarding concept has individuals entertaining dogs in their homes instead of at a boarding facility. Often those offering this option have dogs of their own so it adds a canine social element while providing a more “homey” boarding environment. Such arrangements for cats are more problematic and less available.
Pricing for these boarding alternatives vary tremendously depending on the amenities and level of service chosen. These add-ons can really run up the fees. The more personal attention given to your pet tends to reduce the stress of a new environment and strange human companions, so this added expense becomes compelling.
Many pet owners prefer boarding at a veterinary facility so that their pets have access to veterinary care. Although this seems like a great idea, most veterinary boarding facilities are the old fashioned, cold, sterile type. Because medical and surgical cases are a higher priority in veterinary hospitals, boarders are likely to be short changed on attention and care. Veterinary hospitals are typically inferior to non-veterinary facilities in terms of one-on-one attention and comfort.
Stress is indeed the biggest problem with boarding of any sort. Pets, especially cats, are uncomfortable outside of their normal environment. Often this stress results in vomiting and diarrhea, often bloody, for the majority or entirety of the stay. Fear and timidity may reduce appetites and often pets will lose weight when boarded. And of course there is always the risk of injury due to self-trauma or altercations with other boarders during social time.
Pet sitting is generally of two types: Pet sitters that come to the house at specified times to feed, allow bodily elimination, and exercise the pet are the most common. Other pet sitters will not only care for the pets but can live at the pet owner’s house so pets have constant companions, or at least night companions. They are also able to ensure that the pets are able to stick to their usual routine as much as possible, which can reduce a lot of the per’s stress.
Pricing for these services are also variable but tend to be priced at basic boarding levels with few pet sitters charging for amenities. Because the pets are in their own comfortable space many of these amenities are unnecessary for stress relief. Feeding a live-in pet sitter can add to the total bill, but is generally cheaper than add-ons at boarding facilities.
Pets can also show signs of stress when their owners are away but it tends to be less severe when they are in the familiar surroundings of their own homes.
Having sitters also has the advantage of protecting the pet owner’s home. Newspaper and mail collection by the pet sitters eliminate “away from home” signals to possible “bad guys.” A live-in pet sitter can create near normal household activity that also discourages potential robberies.
Live-in sitters can also take phone messages and care for indoor and outdoor plants without adding significantly to costs. Live-in sitters are more likely to recognize potential health problems sooner and can arrange for the pets to be seen by a veterinarian.
Source: Pet MD
So which is the better option?
While we, at Your Hound Pet Services, believe in pet sitting being the better overall option, it is completely up to you to decide what works best for you and your pets. Whether you choose in-home pet care or find the perfect kennel, you need to feel comfortable leaving and trusting that your dog’s care translates into love and attention. We offer services that can cater to both scenarios – pet sitters and a pet taxi to make sure you and your pet have the smoothest transition as possible.