Pet Care Blog

Pet Sitting or Pet Boarding - Which is Right For You?

Our Memphis vets know that leaving your dog or cat behind when you're heading out of town can be stressful. Should you hire a pet sitter, or is boarding a better option for you and your fur baby? Today our vets weigh-up the differences between these great options.

Pet Care 

It doesn't matter whether you're heading out on vacation for a couple of weeks, or going away on a business trip for a few days, you will need to find appropriate care for your pet. Our vets know that deciding which kind of care is best for you and your pet can be challenging, but by doing a little research into the options that are available, you should be able to find a service that is just right for both of you.

Boarding Facilities

It's certainly true that pet boarding has a bit of an image problem. It wasn't long ago that, many pet boarding facilities and kennels were dark, grim places where animals were kept locked up for long periods of time. Now those days are gone, and pet boarding facilities come in a range of styles and price points.

Rather than being locked in a cage, your pup could be having fun socializing and playing with other dogs, and kitty can have a relaxing vacation in a clean, fresh-smelling facility that comes complete with lots of love and pats.

Whether you are looking for an extravagant spa to pamper your pooch or a clean but modest facility to keep your cat contented, there is a wide variety of pet boarding facilities around the greater Memphis area to choose from.

Convenient Location

To find the right fit for your pet, spend some time visiting boarding facilities in the area that suits you best. Starting your search in the neighborhood that's easiest for you to access could make heading out on a trip, a little bit easier. If you don't see anything suitable near your home, begin expanding your search area a little at a time until you have a few good options to choose from.

While there is bound to be one kennel, doggie daycare, or boarding facility that suits your needs best, be sure to have a second choice option for those times when you need to travel but your facility is fully booked or closed.

The Right Features at The Right Price

When it comes to boarding facilities, often it's a case of 'you get what you pay for. Price is generally a good indication of the features available at that facility. If your fur baby will be luxuriating in hotel-like spaces with sofas to lounge on and tv to watch, you will likely pay more than a standard facility with roomy crates and fenced dog runs. Dog 'camps' sometimes cost more but typically give dogs loads of time outdoors exploring, and added facilities for swimming and playing with other dogs.

That said, our canine companions aren't the only ones who can enjoy a relaxing vacation while we're are away! Some specialized cat boarding facilities offer specially equipped cat gyms complete with platforms to jump up onto, posts to scratch, and toys to play with. Your cat could be having a fun adventure while you travel.

Level of Service

It's important to note that the level of service you choose will likely dictate the price you will pay for boarding your pet. These days, standard pet care in boarding facilities offers pets a clean, friendly place to stay at affordable prices. 

Standard care for dogs at pet boarding facilities typically includes:

  • A clean, roomy kennel for your pup to sleep in
  • Time for your dog to stretch their legs before breakfast
  • Breakfast served in the kennel
  • Walk time or playtime in the middle of the day
  • Dinner served in the kennel
  • Evening bathroom/exercise break

Standard care for cats at a pet boarding facility includes:

  • A clean, private crate with lots of room for kitty to move around and plenty of space for litter box
  • Frequent visits by staff to ensure that each cat's litter box is clean that kitty and has plenty of food and water
  • Clean bedding to ensure that your cat can lie down comfortably and watch the world go by

Other services commonly available at pet boarding facilities:

Pet parents looking for something a bit more special than a standard boarding facility, will easily find facilities that offer pet grooming, training, specialized veterinary care and shuttle services to and from the facility.

The Pros & Cons of Pet Boarding

Pros: Pet boarding gives your animal a standardized daily routine with meal times and exercise times on a regular schedule. Schedules can be reassuring for many pets while their owner are away. Boarding will also offer your pooch an opportunity to socialize with other dogs, and many facilities have onsite veterinary professionals which can be ideal if your pet requires medications or special medical care.

Cons: The most obvious downside of boarding your pet is that they are away from their home. Some pets become nervous or anxious in new environments, particularly without their owner near-by, which could lead to altercations with other animals at playtime. Another downside of boarding your animal is the increased risk of them contracting contagious illnesses such as Kennel Cough or Feline Upper Respiratory Infection, (although making sure your pet's immunizations are up to date can help to mitigate this risk).

In-Home Pet Sitters

If you're considering hiring a professional pet sitter, request a list of references as well as a list of qualifications from your applicants. Prices for pet sitters will vary greatly based on the level of service you choose for your animal.

Hiring a pet sitter not only ensures that your furbaby is cared for in their own home, it can also help to protect your home by keeping your house looking lived-in.

Pet sitters will typically ensure that your mail and papers are collected, and your home looks more lively. Hiring a live-in pet sitter will also mean that you can rest assured that someone is caring for your home and your pet at night. 

Levels of Service Provided by Pet Sitters

There are two standard types of pet sitters; those who visit your house twice a day to feed your pet and allow your pet to get outside for bathroom breaks, and those who stay in your home full-time while you're away. Prices for these services will vary according.

Other services commonly available from pet sitters:

If your pet requires more care than just feeding and being let out a few times a day, many pet sitters offer additional services such as:
  • Walks
  • Grooming
  • Training
  • Housekeeping

The Pros & Cons of Hiring a Pet Sitter

Pros: For many pets, being at home is less stressful than visiting an unfamiliar boarding facility. Other benefits of hiring a pet sitter include the increased security of having someone in your home, and pet sitters tend to be less expensive than the cost of boarding your pet.

Cons: Inviting a stranger into your home to care for your furbaby can be uncomfortable, and certainly isn't for everyone. Another downside to hiring a pet sitter on a part-time basis is that your animal may get bored or lonely during long periods alone, which can lead to destructive behaviors. Pet sitters can also be very busy and difficult to hire at peak holiday times such as spring break.

Remember, the best time to look for the right service for your pet is before you need it. Trying to find care for your animal while working to a tight deadline is bound to cause extra anxiety. 

At Southwind Animal Hospital our team of caring veterinary professionals offer overnight dog and cat boarding in Southeast Memphis. All of our staff work hard to ensure your pets feels at home in our facility while you are away.

If you're looking for a clean, safe place for your pet to stay while you're away, Southwind Animal Hospital offers affordable boarding options for dogs and cats in Southeast Memphis. Contact us today to learn more about what we can offer your pet.

Boarding for cats and dogs in Southeast Memphis

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