When you're a dog owner who is about to set off on a vacation, you have two main choices when it comes to providing care for your pet while you're away: keep him at a boarding kennel or have a friend watch him. While every situation is different, there are a few advantages to boarding your dog that you should keep in mind while making your decision.
Your dog will never be unsupervised.
Chances are your potential dog sitter has other things going on in his or her life and cannot watch over your dog 24 hours a day while you're gone. Dog boarding facilities, however, typically have someone on staff all day and night so your pet is never alone. You don't have to stress that he or she might get injured while someone is away or develop an illness that goes unnoticed for hours because the sitter is at work.
The environment is safe for dogs.
When you have a sitter watch your dog at his or her own place, you can't guarantee that the place has been made safe for dogs. The sitter might have a house plant that's dangerous for pets, items that are left within reach that your dog can chew, and other hazards. However, a pet boarding facility is made to be safe and hospitable for dogs, so you don't have to worry about your furry friend encountering something dangerous in the environment.
Your dog will get to socialize.
Most dogs miss their owners when they go away, at least for the first few days. Your dog will be distracted from this sadness, however, when he or she gets to engage with all of the other dogs at the boarding kennel. Most kennels take dogs for walks in groups and let those that get along play together. With these new canine companions, your dog's boarding stay will be more like his or her vacation. If you leave your dog with a sitter, however, he or she won't get this interaction and will be more focused on missing you.
Kennel employees have a lot of experience recognizing when something is wrong.
The average pet owner does not spend as much time with animals as a kennel worker, who works with numerous dogs on a daily basis. Thus, your pet sitter, unless he or she is exceptional, is more likely to overlook signs that something is wrong with your dog. He or she may be less familiar with signs that something is wrong than an experienced kennel worker. When you board your dog, you can count on the experienced staff to notice quickly if your dog seems "off" and obtain the necessary care.
If you have an exceptional friend or family member who is experienced with pets and knows your dog very well, then leaving him with a pet sitter may be a wise choice. However, if this is not your situation, boarding your dog is generally better than leaving him or her with an acquaintance or sitter who's not well-versed in dog care and behavior. Contact a service like Wags and Tails Kennel to learn more about dog boarding.