We can bank on the fact that dog parents would spend all the time in the world with their pet dogs if they could. Much to their dismay, just like every other person on this planet, dog parents are no exception to the daily hustles that life presents us all with.
Have a business meeting to go to? Need to go to the grocery store? Want to go on a weekend getaway? Or just want to spend some time alone? Situations such as these leave dog owners scrambling for what to do with their dog when they can’t physically be present with them.
At the top of the list of popular practical solutions are dog sitting and in-home dog boarding services. To weigh your options and make the best decision on where to leave your dog, you’ve got to know about both of these services in detail.
If you’re familiar with these services – that’s great! If not, we’re here to break it down for you in this blog.
What is a dog sitting service?
Dog sitting is a professional service offered by many pet sitting companies. This service can either be provided by a company dedicated to only dog sitting services, or a pet sitting company that offers services for dogs as well as other pets.
When you decide on dog sitting services from a trusted company, an expert dog sitter will take care of your dog in your own home. There are usually many dog sitters associated with these companies, and most let you choose the one you feel will take care of your dog the best. Others will review your requirements and allocate a dog sitter themselves.
After the dog sitter selection process is done, all you have to do is discuss with the dog sitter upfront on how you want your dog to be cared for. This can include anything from your dog’s little quirks and habits, to more essential care instructions like dietary requirements, dog walking routes, and the products that you use around them.
For many dog owners, dog sitting is their first choice because it allows their dog to be taken care of in the familiarity of their known and comfortable surroundings. This makes it a suitable option for dogs that have separation anxiety, or general anxiety from unfamiliar people or surroundings.
Also, as dogs will get specialised attention at home and not be put in a cramped boarding facility with many dogs, the spread of common diseases is highly minimised.
For the duration that you’ve booked the service, the dog sitter will visit your home and be committed to taking care of your dog. Dog owners can avail this service for short or long durations of time, for as long as they require. Services can be as short as a few hours, to even longer ones like a month.
There are many benefits associated with dog sitting services, and the cons are almost negligible.
- Your dog will get to stay back at home. This reduces any anxiety or stress they may experience from unfamiliar settings like boarding facilities.
- Dog sitters will provide your dog with one-on-one attention and specialised care throughout the booked service.
- After you’ve provided the necessary details, dog sitters will make sure they stick to the instructions and ensure your dog’s regular routine and schedule are maintained.
- The exposure to illnesses and contagious diseases will be minimised as your dog will not be around other dogs or animals.
- This option is safe for dogs less than a year old, and those that have low immunity.
- Your dog sitter may even be able to take care of basic chores around the house while you’re away, such as watering plants, picking up newspaper off the porch, and more.
- Most, if not all dog sitting services from well-known companies allow you to book services around your schedule with ease.
- Your mind can rest knowing that your dog is in a familiar environment.
The only con with dog sitting would be leaving your dog at home with a dog sitter. However, the safety and security of this option should not be an issue at all if they are from a trusted dog sitting company.
What is an in-home dog boarding service?
Unlike dog sitting services that have a trained dog sitter go over to your residence and take care of the rest from there, in-home dog boarding services will have your dog stay at the residence of the dog sitter. This is generally done in the setup of a private home, and provides a cosy and comfortable atmosphere for dogs. The rest is the same as live-in dog sitting.
Also, it eliminates the need of having to leave your dog at a traditional boarding facility. While there are many out there, dogs often experience anxiety due to the unfamiliar sights, odours, presence of other animals, and more. Your dog may even be kept in a crate for the duration you board them there, which leads to aggressive tendencies.
Here’s a look at some of the major downsides of dog boarding facilities:
- Dogs who are not comfortable socialising with other animals may experience anxiety, and get overwhelmed in the presence of other animals and unknown caretakers.
- Your dog’s regular routine may be compromised as the staff at boarding facilities might not be able to provide care on your dog’s watch.
- There are many illnesses and conditions that your dog may contract from dog boarding facilities due to the presence of many other animals/dogs, and improper sanitization procedures.
- Dogs generally take time to adjust to new surroundings, different routines, and unfamiliar staff members in a boarding facility.
- Some dogs may experience temporary behavioural changes, such as decreased appetite or increased vocalisation, as they acclimate to their temporary environment.
- During peak holiday times, boarding facilities may get so cramped that there is no space for your dog. Due to this, last minute requests may not be accommodated as well as they are by private pet sitting companies.
When compared to the large establishments that dog boarding facilities generally are, in-home dog boarding is a much more dog-friendly solution.
If you have a cat and dog, you may even consider selecting different services for them. For more on the way to go if you have a cat, check out our blog on the 6 Reasons to Choose Cat Sitting Over Cat Boarding Facilities.
In-home dog boarding services prioritise individualised care and attention for your dog. They’ll make sure that only dog-friendly cleaning products, toys, and other chewables are used around them.
If you’re away for longer durations of time, and would rather your dog not stay at home when you’re away, then in-home dog boarding is probably the right option for you. For both dog sitting and in-home dog boarding services, you will receive regular updates on what your dog is up to. This can be in the form of photos, videos, and even video calls.
In-home dog boarding also ensures your dog has a cleaner stay, as the dog sitter will be committed to cleaning your dog’s food and water bowls out, as well as changing them when required. Your dog will get food on time, and also be taken out on regular walks. As your dog will be going on walks in a location different to the usual, most dog sitters from trusted pet sitting companies will share their live location.
The benefits of in-home dog boarding outshine the downsides of dog boarding:
- Specialised care for your dog in a homely environment
- Your dog will never be confined to a crate or kennel unless it is a part of their special care requirements
- Your dog will have the freedom of an entire home to roam around
- Regular food and water bowl changes
- Dietary requirements will be followed
- Your dog will be taken on walks when required
- If it’s a rainy day, or a walk just isn’t possible in the dog sitter’s neighbourhood, dog sitters will know how to tire your dogs indoors
- Limited socialisation with other dogs which minimises the chance of spreading contagious conditions
- Trained dog sitters will take care of administering medications
- Dog sitters will also be able to take your dog to the vet when required
Should you opt for dog sitting services or in-home dog boarding services?
While both are similar with the fundamental difference of leaving your dog at your house or the sitter’s place, the option you decide to go for depends on your requirements and what you’re comfortable with.
Generally, dog owners who prefer to have their dog in a familiar setting such as their home will opt for dog sitting services. This service is also better if your dog has anxiety, special needs/conditions, or has specific requirements that tie them to your home.
On the other hand, in-home dog boarding services are usually chosen when pet owners are away for extended periods of time. They offer a change of environment for your pet, as well as the regular care that you provide.
Another factor to consider when going away are your dog’s general temperament, health, socialisation comfort, duration of your absence, and the proximity of medical care.
The familiar environment, individualised care, maintenance of routine, reduced exposure to illnesses and added home security make in-home pet sitting a compelling option. Your dog can stay at home and have their regular routine maintained, all the while receiving dedicated attention. This results in a happier and less stressed experience for your furry friend.
Additionally, the peace of mind that comes from knowing your dog is well-cared for in a familiar setting can make your time away more enjoyable and stress-free. Dog sitters from pet sitting companies will have the skills to turn their home into your dog’s home while you’re away too!
This is why dog sitting and in-home dog boarding from reputed pet sitting companies are both great options when it comes to getting your dog the best care out there.
Frequently Asked Questions
The frequency of visits, as well as the duration of the visits can be for as long as you request them for. When booking through a pet sitting company, you can check how far in advance services have to be booked. While this is generally not a concern during regular times, it may be something to consider during peak and holiday seasons.
Pet sitting companies generally offer flexibility in their services. This means you can opt for drop-in visit services, live-in dog sitting services, as well as in-home dog boarding services. Most dog sitting companies also have separate dog walking services. You can connect with them to understand which service(s) are for you when you’re away. Depending on this, the duration and frequency of the service can be decided on.
As the dog sitter will be at your place or theirs to provide the care that you usually do, it’s important that you give them all the necessary information. Some information to consider providing them with is:
- Your dog’s general temperament, habits, and daily routine
- Dietary requirement details
- Food and water routines
- Special medication requirements
- Veterinarian’s contact details
- Dog’s usual walking path
- How to dispose of your dog’s potty
- Cleaning products that are safe to use around your dog
- The location of essentials such as keys
- Your dog’s toys
Choosing a dog sitter is definitely an important process that requires your full attention. After all, you’ll be leaving your dog alone with them for a while!
You can discuss with your dog sitter on your dog’s requirements, and see if they can handle them. If you go through a dog sitting company, all of their dog sitters are generally trained and professional with extensive years of hands-on experience handling dogs, both personally and professionally.
Pet sitting companies may even let you choose between different profiles to identify the best dog sitter for your dog. After going through these profiles and choosing the right dog sitter, you can request for a Meet and Greet session to understand more on how the dog sitter will be with your dog.
Dog sitters from dog sitting companies are always better as they cover and protect you and your dog throughout the service. These companies also have certain standards and guidelines that all their dog sitters have to adhere to for everyone’s safety and security.
For more on this, you can check out our blog on the Things to Consider Before choosing a Pet Sitter.
The cost of in-home dog boarding and dog sitting services may vary depending on factors such as location, duration of visits, or any additional services like grooming or dog walks that are opted for. It is best to reach out to the pet care service provider with your specific needs to understand how much you’ll have to pay.
When choosing a dog sitter, it’s always best to go through a reputed dog sitting or pet sitting company. This offers maximum safety for both you and your dog. It also ensures that your dog will receive undivided attention, and not partial attention.
For more on this, you can check out our blog on How to Choose a Pet Sitter.
Besides this, you can ask your vet about trusted dog sitting companies that they know of, as well as your friends, family, or neighbours who may have availed the services as well.
It’s never too early to book a dog sitting or in-home dog boarding service. Booking early is most appreciable during busy seasons or holidays when the demand for such services is always higher. This provides sufficient time for the provider as well as the dog sitter to get ample time to plan and provide necessary care and alternatives.
During other times, you may have to check with the pet sitting company on how far in advance they require bookings to find you the best dog sitter for the service you have selected. Some may ask for a 24 hour heads up, while others may ask for a few days, weeks, or even months.