It seems most pets have a sixth sense when it comes to travel, especially when they are not invited!
Your dog may try to cozy up to you the moment you pack your suitcases, or he or she may start to look lonely or somewhat depressed during this hustle and bustle.
Before going away, the most important decision for you is what to do with your pets. With many boarding options out there, it’s best to know what each one can do for you, your pet and your wallet.
The cost: $20 to $100+ per day (depends on the number of animals, length of stay, what needs to be done and if sitter is staying overnight)
Many dogs feel comfortable in their own environments, so by having a pet sitter come for the feedings, play times and walks is surely a good option. You need to decide whether you want the sitter to simply visit your house on a daily basis (or perhaps several times a day) to spend quality time with your pet, or maybe, have them stay in your house for the duration of your trip.
When a dog sitter visits your house, your pet is left alone and unsupervised for a long period of time, and for this reason, some people consider this option riskier.
In contrast, arranging somebody to live in your house while youíre away can offer better supervision with the least amount of disruption to a dogís daily routine. In-home care givers can bring in water plants, mail, and can also give your house a lived-in appearance.
When considering hiring an in-house pet care provider, you need to consider the unique needs of your pet and the experience level of the sitter. While family and friends may opt to take care of your dog at no extra charge, and may have a personal history with your dog, they may not have requisite training in dog care, particularly in things like recognizing early signs of distress and stress.
A reputable pet sitting service offers professionally trained, screened, insured and bonded employees, and itís important that theyíre well versed in every aspect of domestic animal care. Large pet sitting companies can easily accommodate last minute bookings, something which is not possible when you call a family member, a friend, or a single sitter service. This kind of flexibility and training comes at a price, however.
The cost: $25 to $100+ per day (depends on size of dog, length of stay, geographical location and if any add-ons are needed)
With traditional boarding, your dog will have its own cage to sleep, eat and lounge around. Your pup won’t be in the cage 24/7 — at a traditional kennel, your dog will be taken out for a few walks a day.
Other kennels also offer doggy daycare where your dog will have a chance to play with other dogs of similar size and temperament.
Like a pet sitter, the dog boarding facility with be well trained and will know how to react to just about any situation. Plus, at most traditional boarding centers, your dog will always have someone nearby.
In-Home Pet Boarding
The cost: $30 to $60 per day (depends on the number of animals, what needs to be done and geographical area)
In-home pet boarding involves bringing your dog to a pet sitterís house in your area, rather than a professional center, before leaving for your vacation. People who watch dogs at their home will often do it for the love of animals and for a little side money, so donít expect the luxurious services, such as grooming and pampering services, like the big boarding centers do. To find out what something like this would cost in your area, Rover.com can give you a good estimate.
With in-home boarding, your dog can socialize with other dogs under the supervision of a responsible pet care provider and will also get individual attention. Itís more affordable than pet sitter come and there is an added security of not giving up your house keys.
Questions to ask any dog boarder
1. Do you offer cage-free options?
You may not want your dog cooped up in a cage for hours while you’re away. So ask if they have cage-free options.
2. Are you a member of the PCSA?
The Pet Care Services Association (PCSA) members must comply with all applicable ordinances and laws, commit to quality pet care, and follow the PCSA Code of Ethics.
3. How often will you let my dog out of the kennel cage for some exercise?
It’s likely that your dog may not have the same kind of freedom that you allow him or her at home. But it’s important that the pets are out at least couple of times a day.
4. Is there any climate control?
If your pet prefers staying indoors, they may be used to some kind of climate control. Is the area set at a certain temperature? If itís too hot or too cold outside, how long will the dog stay out?
5. Do you have indoor or outdoor facilities?
Most facilities will have some sort of outdoor space for your pet to roam. See how large the area is and what the rules are.
6. Does your kennel have webcam access?
Webcams allow you to monitor your pets to see what’s going on.
7. How does your kennel handle emergencies?
See if they have access to quality veterinary services and how you will be notified in case something goes wrong.
Choosing a babysitter can take some time, so make sure you start making these decisions weeks before you head out of town. By doing so, you can be assured you’re making an educated decision.
Stephanie is from Howmuchisit, a database designed to help consumers find out what unknown things cost in life.