Dog Kennel or Pet Sitter?

January 8, 2013

You may come across a scenario where you may not be able to arrange for a pet sitter, and thus must opt for a kennel. Keep in mind that dogs are often mistreated in kennels; you should always choose a pet sitter over a kennel when possible. Kennels add the risk of falling sick, getting injured, and often dogs staying at them get minimal individual attention. However, if the event arises where you must send your furry friend to a kennel, ensure that you do your research first.

What is a Kennel?

A boarding kennel is a term referencing a building used to leave your dog in the care of another individual while you are out of town. Most pet owners will experience, at some point in their lives, having to leave behind their pet while they are going on a trip. Before you decide to drop your beloved canine friend off, you should make sure you are aware of what goes on behind the kennels closed door.

What's the Difference?

Pet Sitter - At your home or the pet sitters work place
Dog Kennel - In a building with several other dogs

Pet Sitter - Can only socialize with pet sitter
Dog Kennel - Several staff members and other dogs to socialize with

Pet Sitter - Low risk of getting sick, many pet sitters have animal first aid training
Dog Kennel - High risk of getting sick, often have access to on-call registered veterinarians

Individual Attention
Pet Sitter - High level of attention
Dog Kennel - Large kennels have low level of individual attention

Finding the Right Kennel

Go through a list of kennels in your area and determine which you would like to interview.

On the Phone

Start by giving the kennel a call to ask a few questions:

  1. Do you overbook?

  2. How many runs do you have?

  3. How are emergencies handled? Do you have an on call vet?

  4. Does my pet need to get any vaccinations before being admitted?

  5. Will my dog have their own run?

  6. Can I bring in my dogs favorite food and toys?

  7. What services will I get charged for?

  8. What time should I drop off and pick my pet up for?

  9. Can I come and visit the kennel?

At the Kennel

While you are at the kennel, be sure to keep your eyes open and take in the surrounding to get a feel for the place. Make sure to keep out for a few key points:

  1. How does the kennel smell?

  2. How clean is the kennel?

  3. Do the staff seem genuinely interested in my pet?

The Final Decision

Whether or not you decide to leave your pet at the kennel should be based off of the questions and feedback you received. Be sure to follow your instincts.

Keep in mind that if you can hire a pet sitter, they will likely provide a better job.