Kennels vs Pet Sitters

Sep 24, 2018   Tracey Aston   Hiring a Pet Sitter

You've earned this vacation! You've worked hard all year to be able to get away and destress. Or maybe your cousin is getting married out of state. Or you are required to travel for your career. All of these have one thing in common – what to do with your pets while you're away from home.

In the not so distant past, boarding your pet at the local kennel was your only option.  Thanks to pet sitters, pet parents now have another option for their pets. Even with the advances local kennels have made, some even advertising themselves as doggy spas, there are still many things to consider when choosing to kennel your pet vs having a pet sitter.

The most obvious consideration is your pet will be around many unknown animals. This can expose them to many communicable diseases, like kennel cough, Canine influenza, Canine parvovirus and even fleas, ticks and mange.  Pet sitters allow your dog to stay at home, and be in their own safe environment without the risk of being exposed to unknown diseases and parasites.

Depending on your pet, being around other animals in a strange environment can be a huge stressor for them.  They will be inundated with new sights, new noises, and new smells and surrounded by unknown animals and staff. Like people, all animals are different. Some animals thrive in a new social situation and love the stimulation of making new friends, while others are reduced into an anxious and shaking shell of themselves.  If you have a shy or anxious pet or your pet doesn't do well with change and is prone to stress, a friendly face in a known environment can be a perfect situation in your absence.  A pet sitter will most likely ask to meet your pet beforehand and spend time with them. A known person will make your pet feel more comfortable and less stressed. A pet sitter will not only provide the food, water and bathroom breaks, they will play and cuddle with your pet, provide exercise such as dog walks, enrichment activities or mental stimulation, reassuring and relaxing them.  Pet sitters will also provide a presence in your home while you're gone and can take out your trash, get your mail and be aware of any incident at your home like a power outage, pipe break or flooding.

Another issue with boarding pets is the animals to staff ratio!  Even the most diligent kennel worker can't be everywhere at all times. As a pet parent knows all too well, it doesn't take long for Fido or Kitty to get into something, or somewhere, they shouldn't. It only takes a second for a fight to start, or a laceration to happen or an accident to occur. Stressed animals in unfamiliar environments can react much differently than when they feel safe on their pillow. Pet sitters provide one-on-one attention for your beloved pet and eyes will be on them at all times during the visit. Some pet sitters even provide overnight services and can watch your pet during the night.  Pet sitters are trained in pet first aid, CPR and medical issues, trained in pet behavior and different types of breeds.  Kennel workers have minimal training, not always up to date on pet first aid and not always adequately staffed to rush your pet to a vet in case on emergency. 

Allowing your pet to remain in their routine and in their environment reduces the amount of stress your pet will be feeling, doesn't expose them to infectious risks and keeps them safe in their own home. Pet sitters form bonds with their human and fur clients and have a vested interest in keeping their friends safe from harm. Pet sitters are insured, bonded and worry about your pet and keeping your home safe. Pet sitters will go above and beyond to give your pet the best possible service in their own home environment and give you the peace of mind to enjoy your time away.

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