You have planned your dream vacation, or a trip to visit friends & family, a high school reunion…or a business trip. But, there’s an issue. You have a pet dog you to need to care for while you are away.
You start thinking of how to take care of your dog and be able to go worry-free. You come up with two alternatives: 1) the obvious boarding your dog in a kennel, or 2) leaving the dog with a pet sitter who comes into your home. You now have to pick out which is the better of these two alternatives.
Since both alternatives give you the freedom to get away from home and have your dog taken care of, the consideration of what is “best for you” becomes less relevant. Therefore, the focus of your decision is really about what is best for your beloved dog.
Alternative #1 is definitely doable. There are quite a number of kennels in the area at which dogs can be boarded. From local establishments, to chain kennels. Prices vary and conditions vary. For the most part the average kennel experience includes large periods of time in a cage of some sort and some ‘outside time’. Some of the higher quality spots have a lot more outdoor time than others, and dogs stay in rooms rather than in a cage.
With that said, in all of these, the dog finds itself in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar smells, unfamiliar neighboring dogs, and more. There is barking, crying, the potential fighting, all of which have the risk of creating unwanted stress for your dog. Moreover, you don’t know who the other dogs are, how they are cared for, etc. Are they bringing in unwanted diseases? Kennel cough? Worms? Will these affect your dog? In these locations your dog will also be one of many. The better the place, the lower the ratio of caregiver to dogs, but they are still one of a group, getting only partial attention.
Alternative #2, keeping your dog in your home is staring to sound more appealing. Your dog stays in your (and of course his/her) own comfortable and familiar home. No fear, no anxiety, no stress. Just another great night in their great life. The sitter is fully focused on your dog, and your dog only. No other distractions. And since you know the health of your dog, and you know your home, there is no new health risks that are introduced while you are away.
An in-home overnight sitting for your dog has a care giver spend the night at your home, allowing for quality time with your dog and a real presence at your home. During the stay, the pet sitter can also perform general home checks, pick up newspapers and mail, change lighting around the house, and ensure all doors and windows are locked and secure. In essence you are getting a dog-sitter and home-sitter in one. And while you may think that hiring an in-home sitter is much more expensive than a kennel – think again, you may be surprised. After all, an in home sitter has no real estate costs to cover like a kennel does.
But before you let someone into your home and to care for your dog, here are some tips on things you may want to look for:
First, make sure you know who you are letting into your home. Is it a person doing this as a part-time gig, hoping to earn a few extra dollars, or is it a trained professional focused on caring for your pet as their daily job. Make sure to go with a company that stands behind its services, and doesn’t just ‘farm out’ your needs to a contractor over whom they have no quality control or assurances to you. Ask to interview the company leader and the proposed sitter. Make sure to ask:
- Who will be taking care of my pet?
- Are they experienced? What type of pet care training have they done?
- Is this their main job and focus or a ‘supplemental income’ gig?
- If your pet gets hurt accidentally, does the sitter have any formal pet first aid and CPR training?
- If your sitter gets sick and suddenly can’t complete the job, is there backup? Another equally qualified sitter that can fill in?
- Is the sitter themselves fully licensed and insured with commercial insurance in case anything happens to them while on the job in your home, or is that risk on you?
Some of these questions may sound scary, but they are important and not outrageous to be asking. After all, this person will be staying in your home, caring for your beloved pet.
By the way, if you are thinking about asking a neighbor to do this or a friend’s child since that might seem to be cheaper, make sure you are comfortable with the answer to the ‘what if’ question. What if something goes wrong – Will they know what to do? are they insured? are they trained in first aid?
To conclude, if you have a professionally trained dog sitter staying at your home with you dog while you are away, you will be caring for your dog, your home, and enabling you to take that trip at ease with no concerns.
Have fun and safe travels!