The long-awaited time to travel again is finally here! But what happens when you can't take your furry friend with you?
A pet sitter or boarding can be of great help in such cases. What alternative is best for your dog, what are the costs, and what do you need to consider?
Here we tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a pet sitter or boarding.
We will give you tips on how to make sure your faithful friend is as comfortable as possible while you're away!
Whether it's a holiday or a business trip abroad, it's not always possible to take your canine friend with you.
There may be many reasons why a dog has to stay at home: the flight may be too long, the car journey may be tiring, the entry requirements for a foreign country may be very strict, or the hotel may not allow pets.
There is a wide range of alternatives for your furry friend to stay with you on holiday, especially in big cities and on social networks.
But where is the best place for your dog to stay – with a pet sitter or boarding kennel?
Boarding Kennel – A Good Alternative
Ideally, dogs should stay with family or friends during the prolonged absence of their humans.
But this easy option is not always available.
A room in a dog hotel or boarding kennel can be a good alternative.
Here, they stay in rooms or a kennel with other dogs or separately, depending on how well they get along with their peers.
Housing, Costs, and Staffing
For holiday care, you can take your dog to a dog sitter who offers care in their private home.
If you find a dog sitter who offers the possibility of your dog spending several days/weeks there, this is undoubtedly an optimal accommodation.
This way, your dog has family contact and a daily routine that is probably quite similar to everyday life.
Here, you can take your wishes and the needs of your dog into account individually. Some dog sitters also take in several dogs at the same time.
Unlike in a larger boarding kennel, however, the dogs live with you in your home.
They have family contact and go for regular walks – just like they are used to at home.
The accommodation's quality can vary greatly depending on the dog kennel: from clean, lovingly decorated rooms full of dog toys to desolate and dirty kennels, everything is possible.
There is also a big difference when it comes to the care staff. Some dog boarding kennels have family management that tries to give plenty of attention to all the furry ones, while others may have just one handler for six or more dogs.
However, complete attention and consideration of each dog's needs are not guaranteed when it comes to kennel boarding.
Prices, which vary widely, ranging from $20-60 per day. Keep in mind that a high price is not always an indication of good quality.
Choosing a Boarding Kennel
It would be best to inspect the dog boarding beforehand to ensure your furry friend is in good hands.
Are the rooms clean and bright, is the atmosphere relaxed and friendly, how many staff do they have and what impression do they give you, how do they treat the furry ones, and how often are they taken for walks?
Are they fed the food they are used to at home?
You can only answer all these questions by visiting the boarding facility and talking to the manager.
If the boarding house is not too far from your home, the best thing to do is pay a surprise visit, as there are also some owners of dog boarding houses who do not keep their promises.
Trust your Instinct and Trust your Dog
Apart from visiting the kennel and checking the cleanliness, the number of dogs per carer, and the type of food, it is crucial that you listen to your instinct and your faithful friend.
Dogs are pretty sensitive when it comes to who they can trust and who they can't.
How does your faithful friend behave in the kennel?
Is he curious and friendly with the carers, or is he nervous and shy?
Answers to these questions can help you decide on a pet sitter or boarding your dog.
A boarding kennel is not the right solution for everyone. Some are susceptible to changes in the environment, lack of attachment figures, and unfamiliar people and dogs.
These abrupt changes are stressful for some dogs. Think carefully about whether boarding kennels are suitable for your four-legged friend.
Your faithful canine friend may quickly build up trust with other people and likes to play with other dogs.
If this is the case, then a stay in a friendly dog hotel may be a good place for him. Your dog may even see it as a holiday.
If your dog is wary and doesn't adapt well to change, a dog sitter is likely to be a better option.
Dog sitters take care of one to a maximum of three dogs at a time, which guarantees individual treatment and excellent care.
The dog usually goes to live at the dog sitter's home during the absence of its family. Despite the change of environment, it remains in a familiar environment with a similar routine to the one it has at home.
If these features are important to you, then your choice of a pet sitter or boarding can be easy.
First Contact with a Dog Caregiver
Most dog sitters do not offer their services on a commercial basis but take in dogs in their spare time.
They are usually people who already have (or had) a dog and who enjoy spending time with the dogs.
As no special license is required, as in dog hotels or dog shelters, anyone can become a dog sitter.
That's why there is a wide range of experienced dog sitters.
Before leaving your faithful friend in the hands of a dog sitter, it is advisable to meet with him several times.
Visit him several times and observe how he treats your dog and how he reacts to his new friend. Especially when the handler already has another furry friend, you need to make sure that the dogs get along well.
Let the handler know what you expect from him before you go on holiday.
The more specific you are about food, entertainment, outings, care, and other activities, the better.
He or she can then be prepared to meet your requirements and expectations. Asking all these questions and requirements may feel uncomfortable.
Remember that you are doing it for the sake of your faithful canine friend.
After all, you'll enjoy your break knowing that your four-legged friend is well.
Prices and other Formalities
Apart from holiday assistance, most dog sitters usually offer hourly service, ranging from $20-30 per hour. This rate depends on the experience and care required.
If the dog stays for a couple of days, they usually calculate a daily rate. This daily rate can vary quite a lot depending on the dog sitter.
In addition to agreeing on the price, it is necessary to clarify whether the dog sitter has an insurance policy.
If the dog sitter offers his services officially in exchange for money, he should have dog liability insurance.
Some private liability insurances also cover damages caused by a dog. If this is the case, make sure you read the policy clauses carefully.
Apart from talking about price and insurance, it is important to discuss possible emergencies.
For example, what if the dog sitter suddenly becomes ill and can no longer look after your furry friend?
Who will take care of him?
What if the dog suddenly becomes ill?
Can the dog sitter take him to the vet?
Can he administer medication, and how much do you give him?
The more you plan, the more prepared you will be in case of possible contingencies.
Things to Consider
Proactive planning and a good understanding of the dog sitter or kennel manager are essential to ensure that your dog is in good hands.
That is why you must take care of the accommodation as soon as possible.
Especially as small dog boarding kennels only take a few animals and are often full during the holiday season.
Some business trips or hospital admissions are unpredictable and need to be dealt with quickly.
If you would be considering a pet sitter, here are some things to factor in:
Ask People Around You
Ideally, before you got your dog, you would have considered this and asked your family, friends, and neighbor if they could take care of your dog in case of an emergency.
If you don't have such contacts, the best thing to do is to have a dog sitter, whether you are going on holiday or not.
Ideally, your dog and the dog sitter should know each other beforehand and establish a bond of trust.
You'll find it much easier to leave your faithful friend with them than with an unfamiliar dog sitter.
Know the Home of the Future Caregiver
Some sitters can be reluctant to invite dog owners over before closing a reservation.
A good sitter will be happy to show where the dog will spend their vacation.
Viewing the space makes it possible to assess whether it is a quiet and safe environment. You will want it free of dangers and without the possibility of any accidents.
Explain the Dog's Special Needs to the Handler
A good sitter will always ask if the dog has any special needs.
It is necessary to inform the caregiver of anything special about your dog. Doing this ensures that the handler will be able to comply with the routine carried out in that regard.
If the dog is undergoing special training, it is especially imperative to notify the handler.
It would be a mistake to pause it for a few days because the owner has to leave.
That is why it is crucial to explain to the caregiver how they should act with him.
Or you may want to look for a caregiver with training in canine education.
If the dog is taking medication or requires daily injections, make sure that the sitter will follow the treatment.
Again you may want to seek a veterinarian-trained sitter.
And of course, do not forget to share if your pet is allergic to specific items or substances.
Check Where the Dog Will Sleep
Many dog sitters offer lodging services within their own homes.
Most will adapt to the dog's habits and allow him to sleep in the way he is used to carrying his bed without problems.
A good caretaker will never let guests sleep on the porch or garden shed unless instructed otherwise.
And, of course, you shouldn't let him sleep in a cage or on a dog bed.
Once you find a caregiver that meets all requirements, the dog and its owner will have gained a friend for life. They will become someone you can trust and rely on for many occasions.
Conclusion: Pet Sitter or Boarding
In addition to dog sitters and dog hotels, many animal shelters offer short-term accommodation.
For example, if you have a medical emergency.
Always be aware that the crowds of animals, the kennels, the unfamiliar workers, unusual routine.
Just the presence of other dogs can be pretty unsettling for a dog.
Your dog is used to the peace of his home. Placing your dog in a shelter should be your last resort.
To avoid stress for you and your dog, make it your business to find alternatives now.
Doing the planning ahead of any travel is a smart move.
Whether you plan a trip or not, you never know when you may suddenly need someone who can take care of your furry friend.