As pet owners, we all would love to be able to take our dogs with us wherever we go. But sometimes that isn't possible, especially when taking business trips or traveling for extended periods of time.
When it’s time to pack the bags and hit the road, most dog owners are faced with a troubling dilemma – should I leave my pet at home or put him up at doggy daycare?
Both pet sitters and doggy daycare are workable solutions when you have to leave your dog behind, but how do you know which one is the right solution for you and your pet?
Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at what each one is.
Pet Sitter: A pet sitter is a professional who comes to your home and cares for your dog or cat while you are away. Oftentimes pet sitters will also bring in the mail, water the plants, and perform other maintenance to ensure that your home looks occupied in order to deter vandalism or burglaries.
Doggy Daycare: Doggy daycare is a short-term boarding service for dogs. Also known as kennels, doggy daycare facilities provide a social environment, playtime, group activities, exercise and more for dogs, in addition to ensuring your dog is well-fed and cared for.
Factors to consider
Here are several factors to consider when making a decision as to whether or not a pet sitter or doggy daycare center is the right choice for your pooch:
Does your pet enjoy playing with other dogs?
For that matter, does your pet enjoy playing and social interaction at all? Most dogs suffer from boredom and excess energy when they are left at home alone, which can cause them to act out and cause trouble when unsupervised. Doggy daycare facilities provide an active and social environment where your dog is allowed to get plenty of exercise and play with the other pooches, so if your dog fits this category, doggy daycare may be a better choice.
On the other hand, if your dog doesn't play well with others and (as in the case of older dogs) prefers to curl up on his favorite rug and nap, then pet sitting may be a better option for him. It all depends on your dog’s temperament and personality.
Would you be comfortable trusting a stranger in your home?
Though there are plenty of trustworthy and reputable pet sitters out there, the truth is that a pet sitter is usually a stranger that you’re giving access to your home in order to care for your pet. There’s no way to tell what they’re doing in your home, whether or not they’re bringing anyone with them, or even whether or not they are actually coming every day to take care of your dog. With doggy daycare facilities you don’t have this problem; your pet is supervised and cared for 24/7 without requiring anybody to enter your home.
On the other hand, if the pet sitter you use happens to be someone you know and trust, like a friend or family member, then likely you wouldn't have a problem with them being in the house. Not to mention, they’ll be able to bring in the mail and the paper and make sure the house appears occupied to deter crime, something a doggy daycare can’t do.
Does your pet have separation anxiety issues?
Many dogs are prone to separation anxiety and experience stress when left home alone or in the care of a stranger. Left alone, these dogs will often cry or bark, which can be very upsetting to the neighbors and may even result in a visit from a police officer. They may also indulge in destructive, anxiety-driven behavior, such as destroying your carpeting, drapes or other household furnishings.
If you don’t have a friend or relative that your dog is comfortable staying with, it might be good to do some research and find a reliable doggy daycare service whose staff truly care about the emotional well-being of your dog and are a good at dealing with separation anxiety in pets. Once you find one, do a test run by leaving your little one with them for the day to see how he does. If he is able to settle down and get into a regular routine, then you may have found the right doggy daycare for him.
What’s your budget?
How much you pay for either a pet sitter or doggy daycare depends on which service you choose and how many pets you need to have cared for.
For example, the average pet sitter will generally feed, water and walk your pet during their visit, but if you want them to do extra things such as cleaning or house maintenance that will charge extra. In the case of doggy daycare facilities, some facilities offer extra amenities such as full grooming, one-on-one cuddle sessions, pick up/drop off, and transportation to and from vet appointments – all of which cost more.
So which one is better?
If your dog is comfortable spending long hours home alone, or doesn't get along with other animals, and you are comfortable having someone come into your home to care for him, then a pet sitter may be the best option for you. It’s more affordable, and your dog can stay in a comfortable and familiar environment.
On the other hand, if your dog is very social and energetic, needs constant supervision, and/or you aren't comfortable having someone come to your home while you’re gone, doggy daycare is best for you.
In the end, which one is best really just depends on your personal preferences and your dog’s personality, but we hope you've found this article helpful. Good luck with your decision!