If you’re considering taking a trip or have a romantic getaway planned for Valentine’s Day, chances are you’ve considered a pet-sitting or boarding service to take care of your pet while you’re away. So how do you decide what is the best choice for your pet?
Vet’s Office vs. Boarding Facility
What you get with a Vet’s office is a professional, veterinarian-run facility that allows your pet immediate access to emergency care if needed. You can pay for additional walks/exercise & there’s an added feeling of security that your pet will receive “extra special care” by virtue of being at the vet. Many dogs do get stressed visiting the vet. A prolonged stay might take that stress to a new level. The stress on your pet due to other nervous, barking dogs and being exposed to “kennel cough” (even if vaccinated) are also factors to consider.
Boarding facilities typically have all the bells and whistles: doggie daycare, pools, special treats & toys, trail walks, soothing music at bedtime and cameras to monitor your pet. Where there are many dogs to monitor, oversight can happen: from dog fights erupting that can injure your pet, picking up a cough, stress from other dogs & strangers and losing weight from not eating due to these stressors.
Large Companies vs. A Dedicated Pet-Sitter
Companies like dogvacay.com or rover.com allow you to conveniently sign up online, browse sitters & specify your preference for a pet-sitting location. You can choose a sitter based on their profile, compare rates and reviews. The most important question is: How well do these companies really evaluate their sitters? A recent horror story emerged from a former client of dogvacay.com when the pet owner launched a social media campaign to find her beloved dog – who was lost while in the care of the company’s sitters. Her dog had been missing for 2 weeks before the sitters notified her. During that time, they continued to send her daily updates that her pet was “just fine”. After discovering her dog had gone missing, she immediately launched a Facebook campaign to find her dog. Good Samaritans located her beloved pet not long after. According to the former client, the sitters were not background checked by the company and had a criminal record.
With a dedicated, go-to sitter, you can take your time to conduct your own background investigation & speak to other current clients. Individual sitters also offer overnight visits, which allow your pet to stay in their most familiar environment and lessens stress (on you and them). My personal, go-to sitter is Pop-Ins Pet Nanny. She is experienced with all types of pets, reliable & flexible (with 8 perma-pets & additional fosters at any given time, this is the best scenario for me). A potential snag you may run into with a one-person operation: due to demand, booking desired dates might be a problem, so book in advance.
So, have a great trip and don’t forget to bring your pet something back!