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The Pet-Sitting vs. Boarding Debate

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So, your trip is all planned. Cool. Feelin' smug? Cool. Now look down - see Rover's big beautiful inquisitive eyes? And check out your Miss Feline over yonder - she's thinking about something. And then there's Goofy the Goldfish zippin' round and round and round that bowl just a little more emphatically than usual!

That's right folks, they're all wondering the same thing: What are you doing with US while you're gone?!

Let's see - they can stay with friends, housemaids, vets, pet-sitters or in a boarding facility (otherwise misleadingly known as "hotels" or "resorts"). But let's focus on the old "boarding versus pet-sitting" debate. (Oh, and since we're all about boarding, we beseech you to forgive us any biases which might creep in. )

Regardless of all else, the actual knowledge and experience of the handlers/carers and the organisations involved will make a big difference to you and your pet. We like to put it this way: "Love... but other stuff too", by which we mean that the love and attention an animal gets needs to be underpinned by real knowledge and experience regarding animal health and behaviour. A quality pet-sitter or boarding facility should be able to offer you that, and you should be looking for it. Of course we all want our pets to have a great time, but we also need to know that those caring for them are capable of more than just having fun, in exactly the same way we expect our children to be watched over by knowledgeable, responsible adults.

As with most things, there are pros and cons, even with quality organisations in mind:

    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.
  • Limited quality control because carers work mostly in isolation.
  • Your pet is unmonitored and alone most of each day and night.

    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 others, benefit from a highly socialized environment.
  • Strict controls regarding vaccinations and general hygiene management keeps risk to 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.

 

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