Guest Post: Pet Sitters vs. Boarding – Which is Better?


Leaving your pups behind when you travel is difficult enough without having to worry about who’s caring for them while you’re gone. You don’t want to leave your dogs in just anyone’s hands, but at the same time, cost is a factor. As a dog owner, you have three main options:

  • leave them with family or friends
  • board them
  • hire a dog sitter

But which is the best option? Let’s assume that leaving your dogs with family or friends takes care of both the trust factor and the expense, and focus on the other two possibilities. Is it better to board your dog, or hire a pet sitter? Each has its pros and cons.

Boarding Pros

  • Many vets offer boarding services. If your pet is injured or becomes ill while you’re away, he’s already in a place where he can be cared for, and receive any pet meds he may need.
  • If the boarding facility offers daycare or playtime, your dog doesn’t have to spend the entire time in a cage or run, and can interact with other dogs.
  • You don’t have to allow a stranger access to your home to care for your dogs.

Boarding Cons

  • It may be more stressful for your dog to be alone (without you) in an unfamiliar place with strangers handling him.
  • Your dog is more exposed to infectious diseases like Bordetella, also called kennel cough.
  • Boarding can be expensive, especially if you do want to add on extras like playtime.

Dog Sitter Pros

  • Your dog get to stay in her own home where she’s comfortable, which reduces stress.
  • There is no exposure to other animals, reducing the risk of infectious diseases.
  • Some pet sitters will perform other small household tasks such as retrieving mail, watering plants, dusting, etc.

Dog Sitter Cons

  • You must allow a stranger access to your home; even if they’re bonded and insured, this can be cause for trepidation.
  • Aside from the short time period the pet sitter will spend in your home, your dogs will be there alone, which can be stressful for them.
  • For the convenience of having someone come to your home, dog sitting can be a bit expensive. Costs vary from dog sitter to dog sitter.

The decision of whether to board your pets, or hire a dog sitter is one you must make after doing some research, weighing all the pros and cons, and deciding what is best for your pet and you. If you do decide to hire a dog sitter, choose one that is bonded and insured. You may even want to try to find one who is a member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. For boarding, check online reviews and ask around to find reputable facilities that will take good care of your pets. If all else fails, find a pet-friendly hotel, and take your four-legged family member with you!

Jackie Roberts is a writer for 1-800-PetMeds, and loves to help and support the pet community. You can find Pet Meds on Twitter or connect with Pet Meds on Facebook.

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