Boarding Your Pet vs. Pet Sitting—Which Is Better?

The holiday season is almost here, and many people will be traveling to visit family and friends. But if you can’t take your pets with you, do you try to find a place to board them, or do you hire a pet sitter? We discuss the pros and cons of each option and offer a few tips for finding dedicated pet care when you’re away. 

Boarding vs. Pet Sitting

Due to the unpredictable nature of Montana winter storms, it’s best to secure 24-hour pet care. For pets who are older or have medical conditions, we recommend finding a stay-in sitter or a facility that has caregivers onsite 24 hours a day. 

Although it’s relatively safe to leave healthy pets at home with a sitter who visits several times a day, there is still a risk if a storm rolls through. Your heat or electricity might go out, or heavy snow might make it impossible for your sitter to reach your home. As a precaution, make sure your pet has extra water bowls and a warm bed up off the floor where they can cozy up if something happens.

Pet Sitting Pros and Cons

A pet sitter comes to your house to feed and exercise your pets. You can hire someone to come several times a day, or ask them to spend the stay in your home until you return. If you already have a trusted dog walker, asking them to pet sit might be the best way to keep your pet happy and keep them from getting lonely.

  • Your pet is in their home environment, where they are most comfortable.
  • You do not have to worry about packing all the right things. 
  • Your pet gets one-on-one attention.
  • It comes with a built-in house sitter who can tell you if something happens (like a burst pipe, or broken window).
  • Someone is in your home while you are not, so they need to be trustworthy. 
  • If you hire a pet sitter who visits periodically, there is the potential for unreliability.

Pet Boarding Pros and Cons

Boarding your pet means bringing them to a dedicated facility where they will stay in their own kennel (or with others in their family) while you are away. Most boarding facilities will feed pets at scheduled times of day, along with regular walks or playtime. Boarding your pet is best if you live far from town or if they are old or need medications. However, if your dog does not get along well with other pets, boarding could be very stressful for them.

  • Your pet gets scheduled feedings and exercise every day.
  • They get to play with other pets (depending on the boarding facility)
  • No one is in your home without you there.
  • Kennel cough and other illnesses can spread easily at boarding facilities.
  • The best boarding facilities usually have long waitlists.

Five Tips for Finding a Good Boarding Facility or Pet Sitter

Just like finding the perfect groomer, you might have to look around a bit until you find the pet sitter or boarding facility that is right for you and your pet. The most important thing is reliability—dogs run on a schedule, and they need daily attention. Here’s how to find trustworthy pet care.

  1. Check apps like Nextdoor for possible candidates or use them to ask for recommendations. People who already have a good sitter or boarding facility will be glad to tell you about their experiences. 
  2. When you’re searching online, always check references and read reviews. 
  3. Go with your gut—if something feels off, find someone or someplace new.
  4. Schedule a practice run, well before your time away. If you choose a boarding facility, do a one-night trial. If you’re hiring a pet sitter, make sure to meet with them in person and introduce your dog. Then observe how they interact both at your house and at the park or on a walk. 
  5. While you’re going to be away, make sure to purchase plenty of your pet’s favorite treats, and tell your pet sitter where to find them. You can also give them a list of tricks your pet knows, so they can get trick-or-treat. You’ll also want to make sure that your sitter has your contact information as well as your vet’s number.

Veterinary Dental Care Is a Gift That Keeps on Giving

Finding the right caregiver for your pet when you’re away can be difficult, but finding good dental care does not have to be. Pets who get regular dental care live longer and are healthier overall than their counterparts. Dental exams help detect signs of tooth decay before it spreads, causing painful infections. 

Montana Pet Dentistry and Oral Surgery offers the best veterinary dental care in the state. Our team of technicians and doctors will always give your pet dedicated, professional care. If your pet is due for a checkup, contact us today to make an appointment.





Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/28/23). Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash.