So you're thinking of going on a vacation and will need to find a place to leave your cat or dog. There are many options out there, but not all of them offer the same kind of security and comfort. This article will talk about some of the most common options and their advantages and disadvantages.
Keeping your Pet at Home
This is probably the easiest solution, but it also has its drawbacks. Depending on how well you know your pet (and if they are allowed to roam freely outside), this might not be an option at all.
However, this is where pet sitters come in: they can stay at your home and take care of your pet while you're away. Most pet sitters charge a daily rate - usually around $20 to $40 per day - and some even offer additional services such as giving them medicine, taking them on walks, or playing with them.
Pet Kennels & Pet Boarding
Another very common option. Most boarding facilities offer special packages and deals, and in general, you get what you pay for.
For example, the Pet Lodge offers a "Basic" package for $26/day where your dog can have some playtime outside of their kennel but won't be able to go on regular walks or play with other dogs. You can get a full day of care or more intensive training, including going on long walks for between $40 - $55 per day. Some pet sitters also offer similar services at higher prices.
Types of Pet Kennels and Pet Boarding
There are many types of pet kennels. Some look like cages; others resemble rooms with couches and TVs. The type of kennel you can get will be influenced by the prices, ranging from $15/day for a small cage to more than $100/day for deluxe suites.
When choosing pet boarding, it is very important that the place is clean (after all, your pet will be living there). In addition, the staff is experienced enough to deal with dogs who might become stressed or develop separation anxiety.
This is another option you should consider. Pet hotels are basically kennel/boarding facilities with an indoor playground for pets to play in. They range in quality and prices, just like pet boarding facilities, but the general idea is that your dog will get more than just a place to sleep at night.
Tips for Boarding Your Pet at a Kennel
Depending on the type of facility you're taking your pet to, there are a few things you should do before leaving to make their stay that much more comfortable:
When checking into a kennel or boarding facility, bring at least one familiar item, such as a toy or blanket. Something with your scent will make them less likely to feel stressed and increase the chances of eating their food (if they get nervous and stop eating, it's definitely not good for either of you).
Bring any required medications and talk to the staff about their experience giving medication. Some dogs freak out when someone other than their owner tries to provide them with medicine, resulting in stress for both parties involved. If they don't know how to provide certain medications, be sure to inform the staff to give them at the correct time.
When you drop your dog off, make sure you tell them how long it will be until they see you again (it's very likely that if it's more than 1 night, they'll get stressed). Also, try leaving behind a recent photograph or video of yourself - this one is essential for dogs who experience separation anxiety.
Hiring a Pet Sitter
This option is very similar to having a pet sitter come and stay at your house. The main difference here is that you will pay for their travel costs as well as their time. Usually, prices range from $20/day up to $100/day depending on the area and services offered (such as giving medication or taking your dog on walks). Once again, make sure you are dealing with someone experienced who knows how to deal with problematic dogs.
Pet sitters can be found online through sites like Sittercity, Care.com, Craigslist, or locally through newspaper ads or smaller classifieds. Of course, you should always ask references about the previous experience - whether it was positive or negative - it's always good to get an idea of what kind.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of all your options, but it should give you a pretty good idea and help you figure out which option best suits your needs. As we mentioned earlier, the higher the price, the more services, and amenities you can expect to receive, so always keep that in mind!
Good luck with whatever you decide to do, and we hope this article helps!
About the Author
Kirsten created The Pet Handbook with the aim of sharing her knowledge about pets, pet food, healthy habits, and more. All of her advice is based on years of her own experience with her pets, and feedback that she has received from grateful readers about her tips. If you want to know more please read the About Me page.