Does your heart ache at the thought of leaving your pet in a noisy, impersonal kennel when you leave town? While kennels were once the only option for jet-setting dog and cat owners, pets can now skip the stressful kennel setting and receive overnight care in a home environment instead. But what should pet parents look for when hiring overnight pet care, and how do you know your four-legged friend is in good hands? Read this guide before you hire so you can ensure the best for your pet.
Why Choose In-Home Care?
The stereotypical kennel features side-by-side pens and chain-link runs. The crowded, sterile environment is a far cry from home for dogs and cats accustomed to cozy furniture and one-on-one attention from their owner.
Many modern boarding facilities are doing things differently, with well-appointed kennels and add-on amenities like walks, doggie daycare, and grooming services. However, even the nicest kennels have a relatively high number of pets and a rotating staff, which can make the kennel a stressful, overstimulating environment for a family pet. Not to mention, most kennels close overnight, which means your pet is alone until the facility reopens in the morning.
When you hire a pet sitter or in-home boarding service, your pet is looked after by a single person in a home setting. You can hire a sitter to watch your pet in your own home -- a popular choice for cats -- or send your pet to stay in the sitter’s home while you’re away. Without confined kennels and runs, your pet is free to relax and go about its usual routines. Because sitters and boarders have fewer clients, your pet receives more one-on-one attention, and it’s easier to request personalized services for special dietary, anxiety, exercise, and medical needs. For instance, if your pup has food allergies, you can leave your sitter with your preferred food without risking your fur baby’s diet-friendly fare being mixed up with one of 20 other dogs’ kibble. Even though you’re leaving your pet with an experienced pet sitter, you’ll still want to take precautions. One way to keep your pup safe (and give yourself peace of mind) is to invest in a smart collar, so if he somehow escapes, you’ll be able to track him down.
How Does Pet Sitting Work?
When you hire a pet sitter, you’re hiring someone to care for your pet at home. Generally, this includes drop-in visits throughout the day with the option of paying the sitter to stay in your home overnight, so your pet gets the benefit of staying in a familiar environment.
How Does Pet Boarding Work?
When you hire a pet boarding service, your pet stays in the sitter’s home while you’re away. This arrangement minimizes the amount of time your pet spends alone, making it a great option for cats and dogs who thrive on human attention. However, sitters may have children, pets of their own, or be caring for other clients’ pets at the same time. As Chewy explains, this means boarding isn’t the best choice for pets who don’t get along well with others.
How to Hire a Pet Sitter or Boarding Service
You’re trusting your pet sitter with your cherished pet, and sometimes, your home too. That means you need to hire someone you can trust. Hire a sitter that has a background check and reviews from past customers.
Your pet sitter should be prepared to meet your pet’s needs. If you have a highly active dog, choose a sitter who loves to get outside for runs and hikes. If your pet has special veterinary needs, hire a sitter experienced with administering medications, such as a veterinary technician who pet sits on the side.
Your sitter should also be protected in the event that your pet becomes injured or ill, or your home is damaged during a pet sitter’s stay. Many pet sitters carry insurance, while others work through websites that carry group protection for their sitters. PetGuide.com suggests additional considerations to make when hiring a pet sitter. Of course, it’s always important to have insurance for your own pet so you’ll know you’ll be covered in the event of an emergency.
At the end of the day, in-home sitting and boarding offer a higher level of service for your pet than kennels. When you love your pet like a family member, the choice between a kennel and a pet sitter or boarding service is an easy one. You just may like the service so much that you decide to start a pet sitting side gig of your own!
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