Going on vacation with your dog?

What’s Better: Pet Sitter or Kennel? 4 Pros & Cons of What to Do With Your Dog During Vacation

We want our pets to have the best of everything. But unfortunately, that doesn’t always include vacations. If you’re going away for any length of time, you’ll need to organize either a dog boarding kennel or a dog sitter for your precious pet (unless they can easily come with you!).

So, what should you know about boarding kennels and pet sitting? Which one is best? Which costs more? Let’s find out. 

The Difference Between Pet Boarding and Pet Sitting

A dog boarding kennel is a place where you can bring your dog to stay and be cared for while you’re away. Unfortunately, some boarding kennels aren’t exactly ideal. However, more elaborate “pet hotels” are also available. Your dog will be kept in a kennel and will be fed and walked daily, and possibly able to socialize with other dogs in an enclosed courtyard (it’s best to check them out before deciding on one!).

Pet sitters, on the other hand, come to you, either visiting your home several times a day to care for your pet or even staying in your home and house sitting as well (although this will cost extra). Some pet sitters take your pet back to their homes, which provides a more homely experience for your pet.

How Much Does It Cost? 

The prices for pet kennels can vary wildly, ranging from $25 to $80 a day. You’ll receive a base rate of care for the lowest price, but you can pay extra for certain amenities. The better quality the kennel, the more expensive it will be. 

So, how much should you pay pet sitters? Pet sitters tend to vary in price. Professionals are more expensive, whereas hiring a friend or family member can be much cheaper. Most dog sitters charge by the hour, and their prices can range from $15 an hour upward. 

The Pros and Cons of Pet Sitting

The following sections offer a few pros and cons of this option, helping you make the best decision for you and your furry friend.

The Pros of Hiring A Pet Sitter

  • Better for nervous dogs. Your pet can stay in their home, in a comfortable environment. Kennels can be stressful places!
  • One-on-one care. Rather than sharing the sitter’s attention with dozens of other dogs, your pet can enjoy one-on-one care and attention. Pet sitting is also a much better choice for a cat.
  • Less risk of injury. If your dog is socializing with dozens of other dogs, there is a chance they could get injured, even under the professional eye of a kennel owner.
  • Better bang for your buck. Pet sitters cost less than paying for amenities at a pet kennel but still provide love and care for your dog.

The Cons of Hiring A Pet Sitter

  • It can get expensive. Pet sitters charge by the hour rather than a flat rate, and hiring a live-in sitter can cost more than a top-rate dog hotel. 
  • Not all pet sitters are dog people. This may sound silly, but some professional pet sitting companies may hire people who don’t particularly like dogs and see it as just a job. 
  • Pet sitters don’t need a lot of qualifications. Hiring a professional-looking dog sitter doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re hiring an actual professional. Ultimately, you’re inviting a stranger into your home and introducing them to your dog. 

Dog Kennels: Pros and Cons 

Now, what about dog boarding kennels? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.

The Pros of A Boarding Kennel

  • A professional environment with a standard base rate. You know what you’re getting, and these are places equipped to handle lots of dogs.
  • Interaction with other dogs. If your dog loves other dogs, they’ll enjoy group walks and playtime at a kennel. 
  • Extras are available. You can pay for extra amenities for your dog, such as extra walks, playtime, and other treats. 
  • Your dog will be cared for. You are guaranteed that your dog will be fed, walked, and cared for daily.

The Cons of A Boarding Kennel

  • Some dogs hate kennels. Dog boarding kennels aren’t a match for every dog, especially nervous or unsociable dogs. 
  • Elderly or sick dogs may not get enough care. Kennel workers have to split their time with dozens of dogs, and may not have enough time to properly care for your dog. 
  • Some kennels are basic, boring, and dated. Essentially, your dog may well spend a lot of time in a small pen while they’re at a kennel. Some places are outdated and don’t offer much in the way of fun for your pet. 

Make Your Decision Based on What’s Best for Your Pet

Before you decide on pet sitting or dog boarding, take into account your dog’s personal temperament. Feel free to ask a local kennel for a tour of their facilities. Or ask somebody you know and trust to pet sit for you. At the end of the day, you deserve a vacation, and so does your furry friend! Find the best circumstance that suits both of you.

Photo by Helena Lopes