The Pros and Cons of Pet Boarding and Pet Sitting

Our Manchester vets understand that leaving your dog or cat behind when you are heading out of town can be stressful. Is it better to hire someone to stay at your home and pet-sit, or would your pet be safer and happier at a specially designed boarding facility?

Leaving Your Pet

Regardless of whether you are heading out on vacation for a couple of weeks, or off on a business trip for a few days, you will need to find appropriate care for your dog or cat. Deciding what kind of care is best for you and your pet can be challenging but doing a little research into pet sitting versus boarding can help to make the decision easier.

Boarding Your Cat or Dog

Once upon a time, pet boarding facilities were grim, dingy places where animals stayed locked in their cages for long periods of time, but times have changed! Today's boarding facilities come in a variety of styles from pet spas to doggie summer-camps, and range in price from the affordable to the extravagant.

Now your dog can have fun socializing and playing while you're away, and your cat can have a relaxing vacation in a clean, fresh-smelling facility that comes complete with lots of love and pats.

When deciding which boarding facility to take your pet to, be sure to check out a few different places in your area to find the place that suits your needs and your pet's personality.

Facility Features

Price is typically a good indicator of the features available at any given boarding facility. If your pet will be treated to luxurious hotel-like spaces with sofas to lounge on and tv to watch you will likely pay more than a standard facility with roomy crates and fenced dog runs. 

Some specialized cat boarding facilities offer cat gyms filled with cat toys and lots of platforms to jump up onto and posts to scratch. Dog camps often give dogs loads of time outdoors exploring, and added facilities for swimming and playing with other dogs.

That said, extravagant facility features don't necessarily equal better care.

Level of Service

As with facility features, the level of service you choose will dictate the price you will pay for boarding your pet. 

Standard care for dogs at pet boarding facilities includes:
  • A clean, roomy kennel to sleep in
  • Time for your dog to stretch their legs before breakfast
  • Breakfast served in the kennel
  • Walk time or playtime in the middle of the day
  • Dinner served in the kennel
  • Evening bathroom break
Standard care for cats at a pet boarding facility includes:
  • Clean private crate with room to move and plenty of space for litter box
  • Frequent visits by staff to ensure that litter box is clean and that your cat has plenty of food and water
  • Clean bedding to ensure that your cat can lie down comfortably and watch the world go by
Other services commonly available at pet boarding facilities:
If you are looking for something a bit more special than a standard boarding facility, you can look for facilities that offer the following services:
  • Grooming
  • Training
  • Specialized veterinary care
  • Shuttle services to and from the facility

The Pros & Cons of Pet Boarding

Pros: Pet boarding gives your pet a standardized daily routine with meal times and exercise times on a regular schedule. Boarding also gives pets an opportunity to socialize with other animals, and many facilities have onsite veterinary professionals with experience in administering medications and other veterinary care.

Cons: The most obvious downside of boarding your pet is that they are away from their home. Some pets become nervous or anxious in new environments which could lead to altercations with other animals at playtime. Another downside of boarding pets is the risk of contracting contagious illnesses such as kennel cough in dogs or Feline Upper Respiratory Infection (colds) in cats.

Hiring a Pet Sitter

Professional pet sitters should provide you with a list of references as well as a list of their qualifications. Prices for pet sitters will vary based on the level of service you choose for your dog or cat.

Pet sitters can help to protect your home by keeping your home looking lived-in to passers-by. Your mail and papers will be collected and your home will generally look more lively. If you hire a live-in pet sitter you will also be able to rest assured that someone is caring for your home at night. Lights being switched on and off in the evening are a great deterrent to criminals.

Level of Service Provided by Pet Sitters

Typically there are two different types of pet sitters; those who visit your house twice a day to feed your pet and allow your pet to get outside for bathroom breaks, and those who stay in your home full-time while you're away.

Other services commonly available from pet sitters:
If your pet requires more care than just feeding and being let out a few times a day, many pet sitters offer additional services such as:
  • Walks
  • Grooming
  • Training
  • Housekeeping

The Pros & Cons of Hiring a Pet Sitter

Pros: The most obvious benefit of hiring a pet sitter is that staying at home can be less stressful for many pets. Other benefits of hiring a pet sitter include the increased security of having someone in your home, and pet sitters tend to be less expensive than boarding facilities.

Cons: Inviting a stranger into your home to watch your beloved pets can be uncomfortable, and certainly isn't for everyone. Another downside to hiring a pet sitter part-time is that your animal may get lonely during long periods alone, which can lead to destructive behaviors. Pet sitters can also be very busy and difficult to hire at peak holiday times such as March break.

Ultimately, choosing the best pet care method for your animals while you travel will come down to personal preference, price and availability in your neighborhood. With a little research into the services available in your area and within your price range, you will be able to find just the right level of care for your fur baby.

Our team of veterinary professionals at Hillcrest Animal Hospital offer overnight dog and cat boarding in Manchester. We strive to make your pets feel at home in our facility while you are away.

If you're looking for a clean, safe place for your dog or cat to stay while you're away, contact us today. We'd love to have your pet stay with us.