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Pet Boarding vs Pet-Sitting: Decisions! Decisions!

Talkin' to your dog

You’re counting down the days to when you can finally skip out of town... buuuuuuut, you’ve got a little fury darling critter who won’t be joining you on this journey (those sad eyes won’t sway you?) and you need to make some arrangements for her care while your away. You don’t have a housemaid and your friends are jetting out as well, so what exactly ARE your options? Well, you’ve got two solutions: bring in a pet-sitter or book her into a boarding facility.

Regardless of which option you choose, the actual knowledge and experience of the handlers/caregivers and the organizations involved will make all the difference to just how you and your pet cope. And no matter if you choose a pet-sitter or a boarding facility, you really should try to get beyond the idea of love being enough. Certainly your pets need love while you’re away, but… there’s the other stuff, too ~ and the other stuff is equally, if not more, important. So, if the boarding facility or pet-sitter claims to LOOOOVEEEE pets, that’s really great! And you would expect them to, right? But, your dog or cat (or other pet) needs someone to care for her who does more than just love her; she needs someone who is fully trained to understand and recognize any issues or concerns that might crop up in your absence. Of course, you spend day in and day out with your pet and can most likely anticipate or interpret her moods, her actions and her way of “speaking”. Yet someone meeting your pet for the first time (or very infrequently) won’t have that same level of intimacy, so in the case of a temporary care provider, very real experience and a real knowledge of animals, their behaviors and their health needs to compensate for that lack of intimate knowledge you have of your own pet. A quality pet-sitter or boarding facility should be able to offer you that, and you should be looking for it. It goes without saying that you want your pet to have a great time, but you also need to know that those caring for her are capable of more than just having fun, and have "other stuff" in them than just love, however important that love obviously is.

Now, as with most things, there are pros and cons, even with quality organizations in mind, so chew on this:

    Pet-Sitting Pros

  • Familiar surroundings at home, so possibly less stress.
  • No "travel trauma" getting to and from a boarding facility.
  • Significantly less risk of exposure to community illnesses, such as cat flu, canine cough and worse.

The Cons

  • Thought to be less expensive than boarding, it often is not and can be more expensive.
  • Limited quality-control because care providers work mostly in isolation.
  • Your pet is unmonitored and alone almost the entirety of the 24-hour period.
  • You might feel uncomfortable having others in your home while you're away.

    Boarding Pros

  • Ongoing attention and care in a supportive environment by many Animal Handlers throughout the day and even at night.
  • Dogs and birds in particular, but also cats, ferrets and other pets benefit from a highly socialized environment.
  • Strict controls regarding vaccinations and general hygiene management keeps risk of illness low.

The Cons

  • Can be expensive.
  • Communal environment means higher risk of "catching a cold" or other illness (like kids at school).
  • More handlers and more pets can lead to lapses in procedure, quality-control and levels of care if the facility is not run at the highest level.

In the end, only you can make the final decision of what is best for you and your pet. So in doing your “homework” by gathering as much information about your chosen care provider (ask friends, neighbors, your vet, check online forums, and interview the person or visit the place), you should eventually reach an informed decision that leaves you (and your little peanut!) feeling (somewhat?) at ease with your plan.

If you’d like to get an idea of just what a Dubai pet boarding facility may require to admit your pet, have a look here: https://www.dkc.ae/what-we-do/boarding-daycare/prices-admission-requirements

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