Entrusting a stranger to look after your beloved pet is a difficult decision for any owner to make. Who's more qualified, the kennel facility, or the pet sitters you find through apps such as Rover and Wag? How can you be certain that your furbaby ends up in good hands?
What to Look for In a Kennel
While the rates for pet hotels tend to be higher than those of a sitter, the best facilities offer services that your neighborhood dog-walker can't! Most kennels provide professional bathing, grooming, training, along with live surveillance that can be accessed from your phone. You're able to see who interacts with your pet the most and observe how they're responding to the stay.
Don't depend on online reviews for an honest peek into the facility you're interested in. Take a tour and see for yourself! Is there rat poop in the drains or along the floorboards? Are the individual runs clean and free of urine or feces? Do the animals have proper bedding? Are senior dogs getting the extra attention necessary?
Make sure that the building is up to date with Fire Marshal regulations and ask to see where the extinguishers are located. Some locations keep one or two staff members on-site during the evening, but it’s not uncommon for companies to send all of their employees home after a certain time in the evening.
This is something to seriously consider if you're not comfortable with your pet being alone for an extended period away from home.
Working With a Sitter
You may have to set up your own surveillance system if you hire an in-home pet sitter, but at least you know exactly who is coming and going. Keeping your furbaby at home also means that they won't have as much exposure to diseases like kennel cough and distemper. Both are highly contagious, and outbreaks have occurred in boarding facilities.
Give your sitter a mini-interview. Ask them about their experience with animals. If your pet has any special needs, find out whether or not they'll be comfortable with the requirements. Unlike boarding facilities, you may have better like with the accuracy of online reviews. Look for someone who has repeat clients, lots of photos, and a good reputation within the community of the app or website.
Keep in mind that a cheaper rate doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting an awesome deal. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. It’s no different when hiring someone to look after the thing you love most!
Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the judgment about what's right for you and your pet. In terms of safety and comfort, where do you think your dog, cat, or otherwise will feel the least anxious in your absence? When you examine each scenario, which option makes you feel at ease?
Take a few nights to sleep on it so that you can make an informed, well-thought-out decision.