Finally, it’s vacation time! Hotel reservations are made. Flight is booked. Outfits planned.
But what about the dog? While there are more dog-friendly hotels and airbnbs available these days, sometimes it is just not feasible to take our furry family members with us.
Gant is an emotional support animal, so he travels with us on road trips and visits to family, but if it’s a really short visit or just somewhere dogs are not welcome, it is important to find a trustworthy service that takes care of your dog (or any animal for that matter, but for this post, I’ll be talking about dogs), so you have peace of mind knowing your dog is in a safe, fun, and comfortable environment.
We have used a variety of different services, so I am going to break down the pros and cons of three types of dog sitting, so you can see which one would be best for you and your furry family member.
Photo Courtesy of The Crate Escape
Kennel and Overnight Boarding:
What it is: Typically, it’s a facility that offers overnight and day boarding. It has everything in one – sleeping areas, playtime with other dogs, daily feedings, and sometimes, they have cameras where you can check in through your iPhone or computer to see how they’re doing. You give them the food they’ll need and any necessary vaccination paperwork. They also usually don’t accept dogs under 4 months old. On special holidays, like Thanksgiving, sometimes they’ll give dogs a “special dinner”, with sweet potatoes and turkey. Kennels also typically put dogs by size in play groups.
Pros: Your dog gets playtime with other dogs on a consistent basis, whereas a sitter would have to take them to a dog park (if you trust them to do that) or tell them of other dogs to interact with. In addition, staff tend to be trained on administering medications and treating any minor cuts the dog may get during playtime. They can also provide grooming services, so your dog will look good at the end of their time!
Cons: Dogs can get overwhelmed with being with dogs all the time, so if your dog is more independent, it may not be the place for them. It can also be nerve-wracking for you and the dog, especially if it’s your first time using the service. One time, we were going out of the country and had to leave Gant in at a local kennel. While they got great reviews, and other people had used them, we were very nervous, as strangers were taking care of him. Yes, they are trained, but it’s still nice sometimes to leave them with someone you know and trust. Additionally, dogs who have a certain routine may not like the different schedules kennels run on. Plus, if your dog may have to pass a test to make sure they get along with dogs and people before the kennel approves taking them. If they don’t pass, you’re out of luck.
Pet Sitter – Either at your home or at theirs
What it is: A person who comes to your home or theirs, and watches your dog as if you were there. They follow the routine, rules, and feeding times you tell them. They either stay at your house or your dog stays at theirs. You usually search and find them on a pet sitting site, like Rover.com, which has reviews and you can talk to them before committing, as well as search for a range of rates, so you can find the one that works with your budget.
Pros: As mentioned above, the sitter follows your rules. They also keep the dog on their usual routine and in either your home or theirs, alleviating some of the anxiety of you being away. You can also do a meet and greet, and make sure they are right for you and your dog. If your dog is independent, has aggression issues, or just likes being the only dog, this is the best solution.
Cons: Having a stranger in your house can be anxiety-inducing, as they are in your house. You also need to make sure you cover everything they need to do while you’re away. I made a 3 page guide for our sitter! Yes, that may seem crazy, but you need to cover all the basis. Also, if they aren’t doing a good job, it’s difficult to find another sitter while you’re in the middle of your vacation. You need to make sure the sitter you choose is trustworthy, friendly with your dog, your dog LIKES them, and your gut tells you your furry family member is in good hands.
Friends, Neighbor, or Family Member
What it is: I think you know. A trusted family member, neighbor or friend watches your precious furry family member.
Pros: You trust this person. Your dog probably exudes with excitement when they see him or her. You probably don’t need to tell them much, as they’ve probably been around your dog many times. Plus, it’s usually free, or you can agree on a fee that’s comfortable for both of you.
Cons: Sometimes, they don’t listen to you, or forget what you said, even if you tell them not to feed them certain things. For example, one of my lovely parents (LOVE YOU!), fed Gant some olives, having no idea they are toxic to dogs, even though I said repeatedly not to feed him any people food. Thankfully, he threw it up at 3 in the morning. Just make sure they know exactly what the rules are.
I hope this guide is helpful to you. Remember, I’m not an expert, these are just my experiences, and advice from other dog-lovers. If you have additional tips let me know in the comments below!