Should I Board my Dog or Find a Pet Sitter?

An image illustrating the choice between boarding a dog or hiring a pet sitter. The image showcases a dog in her home, sitting on the couch.

When planning your vacation, it’s essential to make arrangements for your dog’s care. With so many different options available, such as boarding facilities and pet sitters, it’s important to consider your dog’s needs and daily routine. Explore the benefits and considerations of each option below to ensure the best care for your furry friend while you enjoy your well-deserved holiday.

1. Boarding Facilities & Veterinary Clinics:

Your dog may have a private sweet, a dog run, a bed from home, and appropriately timed daily meals and medications. They will also have the opportunity to play with lots of other dogs! They may have access to agility courses, pools, and toys. Many boarding facilities also offer training and grooming options! Amenities vary by facility.
If your dog needs many medications and constant care, boarding them at a veterinary clinic may be the best option for you. They will receive everything they need and will be surrounded by medical professionals if problems arise. However, they may spend more time in a crate than they are accustomed to.
Considerations for Boarding:
There are a few other things to consider when you board your dog. Especially if it is for the first time! Boarding your dog can be an excellent option if your dog is social! However, some dogs have a tough time being part of a pack. Most boarding facilities and pet sitters require an evaluation before your dog’s stay. Sometimes the evaluation doesn’t reveal everything. The atmosphere may change their personalities while they are at the facility. Some dogs truly enjoy having a lot of canine companions to play with! Others shy away or become aggressive. It is possible that your dog may become aggressive or exhibit unacceptable behavior as their stay progresses. At that point, you will be called to collect your dog. It is important to have an emergency backup family member or other trusted individual to be available to pick your dog up in the event of such an emergency. Otherwise, you will need to return from your vacation.

You will also need to consider transportation to and from the facility. Most locations will have set pick up and drop off times. You will possibly need to board your dog for an extra day before and after your departure and arrival dates if you can’t make it to pick them up on time.

Your dog will more than likely spend much more time in a crate or gated area than they are used to if they are at a large boarding facility. The attendants will also leave around 7-8 pm and not return until 6-7am. Dogs are typically left without a caretaker during the night.

Lastly, it is possible that your dog could return home with a respiratory disease known as Kennel Cough. Dogs can spread it to each other through airborne droplets, direct contact, or contaminated surfaces. It is highly treatable in most dogs, but it can be more severe in puppies younger than six months old and immunocompromised dogs.

2. In-Home Boarding:

There are many pet sitters that will take your dog into their home! Most sitters that provide this service will take only a few dogs at a time. Some will only board from one family at a time. This scenario allows for your dog to receive personalized care with limited exposure to other pets. A home away from home!


Considerations for In-Home Boarding:

You will need to ensure that the sitter is reputable, bonded, and insured, and consider their experience and certifications.

3. Boarding with Family or Friends:

This can be a great option for your dog! Especially because they are already familiar with your family and friends. Your pup will feel happy and comfortable!

Considerations for Boarding With Family Or Friends:

Your family may have scheduling conflicts that will not allow your dog to maintain their regular schedule.  You may need to arrange or hire additional caretakers for long workdays.

4. Pet Sitters:

An in home pet sitter will provide a variety of services. Each company and individual pet sitter will have a different selection for you. Some may provide overnight services. They will stay in your home with your pets at night. Some offer only drop- in services. They will visit your dog three or more times per day at times of your choosing. They will serve meals and medications, provide fresh water, walk or play with your dog, clean pet areas, check your mail and bring in packages, water your plants, adjust lighting and blinds, and assess your home for safety.

Considerations for Pet Sitters:

You definitely need to go with a reputable pet sitter or pet sitting company. Do your research! Are they bonded and insured? How much experience do they have? Are they certified in pet first aid and CPR? How do their reviews look? You are going to trust this person or company with your loved ones and your home. Be sure you feel great about your choice!
You will also need to determine what kind of pet sitter or pet sitting company you are comfortable with. A solo pet sitter will provide all of the visits and care. But if an emergency happens or they are sick, there is nobody to back this person up. That can be a sticky situation if you are out of state. Pet sitting companies that have multiple sitters available to care for your pets is another option! Reputable companies will ensure that all pet sitters have had a background check, professional training, and are insured. Visits are guaranteed. You never have to worry whether or not your dog is being cared for.


5. Family, Friends, or Neighbors:

You also have the option to have a family member, friend, or neighbor check in on your dog while you are away. This can be a wonderful option for your dog! But keep in mind that life happens. They may cancel on you last minute, not show up, neglect your dog, or even damage your property. It is also possible that the family member, friend, or neighbor may not have the required availability to provide the necessary potty breaks and schedule that your dog requires. Hiring a day time dog walker or pet sitter may be a good care supplement if that is the case.


Consider your dog’s needs, preferences, and your comfort level when choosing between boarding facilities and pet sitters. Research and select reputable providers, ensuring your dog receives the best care possible. Whether you opt for a boarding facility, in-home pet sitter, or trusted family member, have peace of mind knowing you’ve considered all options and made the best choice for your beloved dog! Enjoy your travel with confidence, knowing your dog is well-cared for in your absence!

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Brandy Emmert

Hi! I'm the proud owner of Four Seasons For Paws, a renowned pet care company that provides dog training, dog walking, pet sitting, and home security checks. I am passionate about leading a team of certified, knowledgeable, compassionate pet care specialists and trainers who love pouring their hearts into caring for our animal companions. I love having the opportunity to provide complete peace of mind for so many pet parents in our community! And I love sharing advice and educating pet parents on any and all things that can enhance their lives, and the lives of their pets. ❤️

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