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Boarding Kennels vs Pet Sitting

We all love holidays, but our pets are one downside of the annual vacation. Especially if you’re going abroad, you won’t be able to take your dog with you.

So, what can you do?

Now you need to decide how your dog will be cared for while you are away. Not everyone has the option of asking a friend to care for their pets, and care costs can get expensive. Essentially, you’ll have two options - pet sitting or boarding kennels.

So, what are the pros and cons of both? Which is better for your pet? Let’s find out.

Pros and Cons of Boarding Kennels

Boarding kennels are designed to keep your pet in a safe, social environment while you’re away. They’re usually professional businesses and must meet a set health and safety standard and animal care.

However, boarding kennels deal with a lot of animals at once, and this can reduce the amount of interaction your pet will enjoy. So, what are the pros and cons?


  • Boarding kennels are usually cheaper than pet sitters.

  • Boarding kennels are run by professionals as a business, and in a good boarding kennel, the staff needs to have experience in caring for animals.

  • You’re guaranteed a certain level of care for your dog.

  • Your dog can enjoy socialization and outdoor time.


  • Boarding kennels provide very little one-on-one care for your dog, as they have a lot of animals to care for.

  • If you decide to go for extra features and levels of care for your pet, this can be expensive.

  • Nervous dogs may suffer in boarding kennels, and old or sick dogs may not get the care they need.

As with anything to do with your beloved pet, you should thoroughly research any boarding kennels before you book your dog in. Check out online reviews and if possible, ask people who’ve put their dog in that particular kennel about their experience.

Pros and Cons of Pet Sitting

If you decide that your precious pet needs an extra level of care, you might want to try pet sitting. Whether you pay a friend, relative, or neighbour to take care of your pet or go to a professional service, pet sitting involves somebody coming to your home to care for your pet every day. What are the pros and cons?


  • Pet sitters provide one-on-one care. Your dog will likely get more attention, love, cuddles, and care than they would at a boarding kennel.

  • Your dog can stay in a familiar place while you’re gone - this is good for anxious dogs.

  • You can check in with your pet sitter as often as you want, and make extra requirements (for example, two walks a day instead of just one).

  • Sick or old dogs can be better cared for by a pet sitter than they can at a boarding kennel.


  • Pet sitting is expensive - most pet sitters charge by the hour, and it’s especially expensive if you want them to stay overnight.

  • Your dog may get lonely and won’t have so much socialization.

  • Not all pet sitters love animals - some pet sitting services don’t ask for animal care experience in their workers.

If you choose to go with a pet sitter, either choose someone you know and trust or do a lot of research into a professional pet sitting service. Be prepared to pay a lot of money, especially if you’re away for a couple of weeks!

Which Is Better For Your Pet?

Overall, pet sitting is usually a better option for dogs. They can stay in their home, among comfortable surroundings and smells. Then, they also get one-on-one care, personal attention, plenty of walking and exercise, and lots of love and attention!

Of course, this is assuming that you get a good dog sitter. Some pet sitters simply see it as a job, and may not have strong opinions on dogs at all. In even a standard boarding kennel, you can be sure that your dog will receive a basic level of care. However, some pet sitters may not care for a pet properly, omitting walks and cuddles.

The base rate of pet sitting is more expensive than boarding kennels, but if you factor in all of the extras you can buy for your dog in boarding kennels (which are usually what they would get at home), the prices are more even.

When Shouldn’t You Send Your Dog To Boarding Kennels?

While both pet sitting and boarding kennels are suitable for most dogs, some dogs won’t do well in boarding kennels. Here are some reasons why you should consider pet sitting over boarding kennels:

  • Your dog is very anxious.

For an anxious dog, going to a boarding kennel is a special kind of hell. Their beloved owner is gone, and they’re in a new place, full of confusing sounds and smells. This can make them even more anxious, and your dog may refuse to eat or interact.

  • Your dog is ill.

Unvaccinated dogs aren’t allowed in boarding kennels. If your dog is ill, you may not be able to take them to a boarding kennel. Also, if your dog has bad health and needs lots of medication and special care, they may not get it at the boarding kennel.

  • This is the first time you’ve left your dog.

If this is the first time you’ve left your dog - ever - you might want to consider going for a pet sitter first, preferably someone your dog already knows. This can ease their anxiety and make the separation easier.

  • Your dog isn’t comfortable around other dogs.

If your dog is aggressive towards other dogs or just gets anxious around them, a boarding kennel is not a good idea. They’ll be surrounded by other dogs, and may even be released out into a large enclosed area for exercise.

Essentially, it’s up to you to decide what sort of care your dog needs. Weigh your dog’s personality, health, social needs, and your own finances before you make any decisions.

Oh, and do plenty of research, of course!

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