Pets are a part of your family, but you still don’t necessarily want to take them with you when you travel. Since you can’t (and shouldn’t) leave your pets alone to fend for themselves while you’re gone, you need to find someone to watch and feed them when you’re gone. That’s where boarders and pet sitters come into play. Deciding which you want to do can be a tricky decision. We’ve outlined what you need to know about both boarding and pet sitting to help you make the best decision for you and your pets.
Boarding is one of the more popular options for watching pets. While this may conjure up images of dozens of animals locked in small crates and cages, that isn’t necessarily the case nowadays. Some pet boarding facilities are like resorts for your animals, with individual rooms, play dates, pools, spa treatments and more.
Boarding is typically a cheaper option than hiring a pet sitter, since they care for lots of animals at a time. It’s also a great option for social pets that like to be around a lot of other people and animals and would enjoy making a few new friends. However, some pets may get stressed by all the other animals and noise when staying in a boarding facility.
It’s not a good option for pets that need a lot of attention or activity. Extra walks or playtime can cost extra and drive the price up considerably. If you have a pet that needs a lot of one-on-one or medical attention, a boarding facility may not be for you.
The great thing about hiring a pet sitter is that you have a lot of control over who and what your pet interacts with. If you have an animal that is shy, skittish or unfriendly towards other animals or strangers, a pet sitter may be the way to go. You can also introduce your pet to the sitter beforehand, so that she’s not a stranger to your pet when she comes to the house.
Pet sitting is great because your pet can keep their normal routine. They’ll be fed at home, go for walks in your neighborhood, and sleep in their own beds. This is really beneficial for dogs with separation anxiety or who get thrown off for a long time when they deviate from their regular routine.
It’s also great if your pet has an illness or is susceptible to illnesses or has a weakened immune system. Lots of animals in one place increase the likelihood that your pet could catch something.
You can hire a professional pet sitter, or have a family friend or neighbor come watch your pet for a few days. If you have a pet that needs a lot of special attention, such as an older animal, you can even have someone stay at the house with him overnight.
Who you hire and their experience will determine how much pet sitting costs, but it’s almost always more expensive than boarding. At a minimum, you’ll probably pay about $50 a day for someone to come to your house multiple times a day.
Ultimately, which one you decide is up to you. You know what’s best for your pet, your family and your budget.