Nobody likes being away from their four-legged friend for long, but there are times when you just can’t bring them along with you. The good news is today there are more options for pet owners to choose from than there have been in the past. Now instead of chain link boxes, many kennels (including Fon Jon Pet Care!) offer numerous amenities for your dog to enjoy. In-home pet sitting has made major steps too—instead of just having your neighbor pop in to feed your cat, it’s possible to have your animal actually stay in a home while you’re gone. Which boarding option is right for you and your pet? Here are some of the elements that you should take into consideration when you’re choosing a service for dog or cat boarding:
How much attention does your pet need?
Though having an in-home pet sitter who drops by a couple of times a day to interact with your pet may be the least expensive option, even if you have a relatively low-maintenance animal this is a recipe for separation anxiety and behavior issues. Someone who actually stays with your pet 24-7 is the other end of the spectrum, in terms of attention level and price. That said, if you have a very young puppy (especially one who has not yet had all immunizations) or an elderly animal, this might be your best bet. A professional boarding facility is the middle ground here: At a full-service kennel like Fon Jon, you can choose ahead of time what kinds of activities your dog will engage in. Being cage-free during the day and getting to interact with other pooches is a great way for your dog to socialize and exercise, diminishing the chances of separation anxiety. While cats don’t generally want to hang out with other felines, they can be more comfortable in a cozy den than pacing around an empty house.
Do you trust the sitter?
Depending on what kind of pet-sitting scenario you’re looking at, there are different elements you need to consider before you write a check or hand over your credit card. A friend or relative who’s willing to watch your animal is most likely someone who you completely trust—but would he or she know what to do in the case of a veterinary emergency? Do you feel confident that she’ll always remember to give your dog his meds, or that he’ll make sure the cat doesn’t get out? A professional pet sitter will have more training and experience with animals. However, since it’s someone you don’t know, you are going to need to thoroughly vet the service beforehand. If you have someone staying in your home, you may want to do a background check. For any home boarding, you want someone who is bonded and insured, and who can provide you with references (which you should take the time to actually check!). If your pet will be staying at the sitter’s home, you need to visit with your pet. While it can be comforting for an animal to be in a home, a house that’s unfamiliar—or that is a poor fit with your pet’s size or energy level—can be stressful. A professional boarding facility can help you take the guesswork out of pet sitting arrangements. You should be able to tour the entire kennel (not just the parts they want you to see), get answers to your questions, and in addition to being able to ask for references you can check out online reviews.
What other animals will be there?
If a pet sitter is coming to your home, you can assume that it’s just going to be your pets. But if you are boarding your pet at someone else’s home, your dog or cat is unlikely to be the only animal there. Anyone devoted enough to animals to do in-home boarding is more than likely to have at least one pet of their own; before you make a commitment, you need to ensure that your animals get along. You should also find out whether there will be any other “guests” while your pet is staying there. At a kennel, you know that there will definitely be other animals. While cats tend to stay solo, cage-free is now the daytime norm for many dogs. Though that might make it sound like there’s more potential for friction, it’s the opposite—your pup has much more opportunity to find friends that suit his age, size, and activity level. Think of your dog like a kid: Boarding is like going to summer camp, while in-home boarding is like staying with your cousin for the summer. The latter can be fun… but only if you get along with your cousin.
In the end, the decision comes down to what’s right for you and your pet. If you are looking for reliable, pet-centric dog and cat boarding that San Diego pets (and their owners!) love, check out Fon Jon Pet Care. We’d be more than happy to show you around, answer your questions, and help you decide on a plan that suits your pet.