There are many options for boarding and pet sitting, depending on where you live. Even though there is no perfect answer, knowing your pet will help make the decision clearer as to which works best for your family.

What’s the difference? Years ago, the only option for pet owners was to board their pet at the local kennel. Pet boarding is taking the pet to a hotel except all the guests are pets. The boarding scene has changed a lot in past years. There are lots of activities and amenities from which to choose to ensure that your pet has a fun vacation too.

On the other hand, there is pet sitting. Typically, a pet sitter will stay at your home while you’re away, take the pet to their home, or stop by to care for your pets once or twice a day. Some pets do better with boarding while some do just fine staying, at home. It all depends on the pet, his needs, anxiety level, activity level, etc.

When to Consider Boarding Your Pet
Boarding is the best option if your pet is a youngster. You’ll rest easier knowing he’s getting plenty of attention, potty breaks, and social time needed to keep him happy and stimulated. Boarding is also a better option if you have a pet who gets destructive when unattended. Pets prone to separation anxiety will do better with lots of attention and stimulating activities.

When Pet Sitting is a Good Option
If you have multiple dogs, cats, and/or other pets, then pet sitting may be a good fit. Dogs who have a companion or two won’t feel as lonely as they would if they are the only pet. In addition, if your dogs are older, letting them stay in familiar surroundings will help prevent them from getting anxious or stressed. If you have house cats who like to do their own thing when you’re at home, having a sitter who can visit them once or twice a day may be all you need.

Other Considerations
You will want to know the reputation of whoever will be caring for your pets. After all, they will be coming into your home when you are not there. Always do your homework and check references. Always have an interview to discuss your needs and their experience. Ask people you know and your veterinarian if they can recommend a boarding facility or sitter they trust. Check review sites and social media to see what other people are saying.

The weather can be a factor when deciding between boarding or pet sitting. What happens if there’s a snowstorm and your sitter can’t drive to your house? Or has some other emergency. It’s a good idea to have a trustworthy neighbour who can get into your home and check on your pet just in case. Home monitoring systems are a big help in tracking the activity of a sitter’s visits and afford peace of mind that the pets are being cared for as scheduled.

If you’re using a pet sitter, ask for references and make sure they’re insured and bonded. Also, plan ahead in case of a pet emergency. Leave phone numbers for your veterinarian and at least one backup person who can make decisions about your pet in case you don’t have service where you’re going, or the sitter can’t get in touch with you for whatever reason.