Your bags are packed and you are ready to take off for a few weeks to unwind and get away from it all. Your best friend/s however won’t be going with you. The question is; will you enlist the help of a local pet sitter service, or will you send them to a dog boarding kennel while you are on holiday? Both approaches have their advantages.
This is not a black and white, or a straight out yes or no situation. This is something you clearly need to have a good think about as you weigh up what is in the best interests of your pet/s. Financially speaking, if you are going away for extended periods, the costs certainly do increase substantially with the boarding kennel option.
Kennels can be a really good option. The good ones are professional, trained, experienced and able to make sure your pet/s will be fed and have a clean kennel. There will be (usually) plenty of other animals around so that can also be seen, at least on some levels, as a positive. Many dog owners use kennels or professional pet minders to look after their pets and are happy to do so. There is however a considerable cost involved here, and as pet owners know, it can be expensive…particularly if you are away from home for a considerable time.
On the other hand you have the pet sitter service option. This can be done either at your home (house sitting and pet sitting all in one), or it can be done at someone elses home as they look after your pet for you at their place. Both approaches can work really well.
The ultimate decision depends on what you are comfortable with, and of course the needs of your pet/s. Will taking your pet/s out of their home cause them stress or anxiety? Will it increase the likelihood of harm or danger to them as they are introduced to a new environment? After all, what is this new environment like? How might your pet react to being taken out of its home environment? – remembering that it is already having to deal with its owner/s not being there.
Something to consider here is that your holiday is anything but that for your pet – particularly if it is placed into the wrong situation. Going from a familiar, comfortable family home environment surrounded by owner/s that love them, is a stark contrast to being sent to a noisy and stressful environment as some professional dog kennels can be. It is anything but a holiday for your pet – it is more like a hard labour prison camp! It can cause stress and anxiety for your pets as they get the double whammy of not just having to leave home while you are away enjoying yourself, but they don’t have you with them either. For some pets it is a very difficult experience.
The advantages of having your pet looked after in your (and importantly its) home while you are away, is that you also get someone looking after your house and property for you as well. That is extra peace of mind and one less thing to worry or concern yourself about. It can also be very good value on any number of levels.
The key here though is to make sure you choose the right person for the job. The best way to do this is to look for a proven professional house sitter, someone who is experienced, trusted, and has runs on the board so to speak.
How can you tell?
Here are a few tips to help you find the right person to house sit and pet sit in your home:[green_tick_1_list width=”100%”]
- Word of mouth and personal recommendations are always good if you can get them – note that they do not guarantee a good experience for you or your pets. These recommendations are often given on a whim, or based on little proven demonstration or evidence of the persons experience or attitude.
- Does the house sitter have genuine testimonials, references or feedback you can see – and importantly, check if required?
- Does the person have a web presence like a personal website or, to a much lesser extent, a facebook page for example?
- Do they take the time to talk or write (a good website can demonstrate this perfectly) about what they do?
- What else do you know or find out about them?
- Are they professional, trustworthy and respectful of your home, your pets and your belongings?
- What is your feel about this person?
- Are you comfortable having them stay in your home?
- Do they like animals – and does your pet/s like them?
- Will they exercise your pet/s?
- Have they pet sitted a dog before for example? What is their experience with pets like yours?
- Are they clean. How can you tell or measure that?
- Do they exercise good judgement and initiative in and around the home and property?[/green_tick_1_list]
There are other considerations of course. The key is to do your due diligence, and to not just accept any person into your home and into your pets life. Ask questions. Ensure communication is clear. Have additional contacts nearby if something happens while you are away. Delineate what is expected during the stay – and do it in writing.
Do you need a pet sitter or a house sitter? Would you like to learn more about what I do, and when I am available? To find out more, please go to the contact me drop down menu at the top of the page. If you know someone who might need or be interested in my house sitting, pet sitting or other services, please recommend, like and share my website with them.
*Craig Hedge is a Professional house sitter and pet sitter based in Hobart (nipaluna), Tasmania, Australia.
He is also a Professional Coach and author of the Instinctive Living self help ebook and audiobook series available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes.