Boarding kennels or pet sitters?

The choice is yours. How the year has flown! In just few months’ time many of us will be able to take a breather from another busy year, and some of us can even look forward to going away on a well-deserved holiday. As pet owners, we need to ensure that our pets are properly cared for if we can’t take them with us. If you are considering either a boarding kennel or a pet sitter, this is what you need to know.

A home away from home – boarding kennels

Sadly, our going on holiday is a great disruption to our dogs’ lives. Spending time with us is, after all, their favourite thing! This is why, if you choose to make use of a boarding kennel, it is important to ask the right questions, so that you can confidently leave your dog in their care. This will give you peace of mind, knowing that your dog is in safe hands even if something might go wrong at your house. The best boarding kennels will be booked well in advance, so do not leave this for the last minute. Start researching as many facilities as possible, after which you can narrow down your list and arrange to visit the kennels that appeal to you the most.

Checklist

Make sure that you have clarity on these matters before booking your dog’s kennel:

√ Are the facilities clean?

√ Are the facilities safe, with security measures in place?

√ Is the staff knowledgeable about animal care and do they enjoy interacting with the boarders?

√ What feeding routine is in place?

√ Can you bring your own food and bedding, and possibly something personal that smells like home?

√ What measures will be taken if your dog has a medical emergency?

√ Will your dog be given his medication if he needs any?

√ What is the policy regarding dogs from the same family? Do they stay together?

√ Are you aware of and satisfied with the facility’s operating hours, booking procedures and rates?

√ Does the facility ask for vaccination records? It is extremely important that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and that your boarding kennel asks for proof of this, as it will prevent the spread of disease among the boarders.

Staying at home with a pet sitter

You might simply not have the heart to leave your furry friend at a boarding kennel, and prefer to have him stay in his home environment. In this case a reputable pet sitter might be a solution for you. This option comes with several unique benefits:

  • Your dog stays in the environment that is familiar to him, thus preventing the stress of strange smells and sounds.
  • Your dog’s routine can remain largely unchanged.
  • The presence of a pet sitter in your house could discourage potential burglars.
  • Pet sitters often offer services in terms of helping out should you have a crisis at your home, such as a fire.

You might have concerns about having a stranger in your home. This is why it is important that the person you hire is from a reputable, trustworthy agency if you don’t know him or her.

5 tips for choosing your pet sitter

  1. Use a reputable agency rather than someone random from the classifieds. It is advisable that the agency has a full team of approved sitters, so that there is always someone available for you – even if your chosen sitter gets sick!
  2. Look at a sitter’s previous experience and reviews. At StudentCo, for example, you can look at sitters’ profiles – here you will find client reviews, reference feedback as well as pictures of pets they have looked after in the past.
  3. It is recommended that you have a personal interview with your chosen pet sitter to see how he or she gets along with the human and animal family members.
  4. Give precise instructions – the more detailed your instructions, the better your pet sitter can look after your pets and home when you are gone.
  5. If you are planning a long holiday, consider a weekend ‘test run’. That way, any unforeseen glitches can be worked out in time for your longer vacation.

Tips courtesy of StudentCo

Enjoy your holiday!

An alarming number of animals are left behind without care when their owners go on holidays. As responsible pet owners, we realise that our pets love us all year long, and making sure that they are properly cared for while we are away is the least we can do. Knowing that your animal friends are in safe hands will give you the necessary peace of mind to fully enjoy your break from work. Start making plans for them today!

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