Kennel or dog sitter?

Sometimes dogs can’t travel with their parents, and when this happens, finding an option that will be both safe and comforting is of the utmost importance. Most of us probably feel best leaving pups with a family member or close friend, but this isn’t always possible. The truth is, in the right scenario, a pet sitter or kennel can both be good options. Keep reading to discover benefits and things to consider.

Benefits of boarding at a kennel:

  • Veterinarians often offer kennel services. What better place for pets to stay than at the very place that we rely on for their wellbeing? Typically, crates are provided, but you’ll want to call ahead to see what needs to be brought. Pups with health issues could definitely be better off staying at their clinic.
  • Different facilities have different perks. For pups who need more space and stimulation, look around for something with more recreational facilities. Different kennels offer different features to accommodate each activity type. Dog runs, more frequent play times and spacious rooms are common to see.
  • Luxury is an option. If you’re really feeling guilty about heading to Hawaii without your four-legged best friend, set them up in a pet hotel. With more swanky services like gourmet meals, personal rooms with video chat and outdoor facilities like pools, it would be a bit easier not to feel so guilty.
  • Boarding can be great for socialites. Some fur babies love a good play date and would love nothing more than to enjoy interaction with other cutie pies for a few days. This could be a prime opportunity for dogs to make friends and really stretch those social legs.
  • They are professionals. While sitters sometimes work part-time, folks at kennels do this all day, every day. They know what to expect and are prepared to handle situations like homesickness or illness.

Editor’s Note: Plan ahead and consider packing the following items when boarding your dog to help ease their anxiety (and yours).

Considerations for kennel boarding:

  • Send items of comfort. The downside to kenneling is the likely possibility your pup will feel scared in the strange new place. Sending items of comfort, like a blanket or a toy can be helpful.
  • Don’t change up food. A time of even slight stress is not a good time to introduce new food, so make sure you send plenty of the preferred brand along to the facility.
  • Always do a pre-visit. Aside from the obvious of doing a ton of research on any chosen facility, pay a visit, with Fido in tow. This will allow some introduction time, so the drop off day is less stressful.
  • Go with trusted referrals. If possible, opt for a kennel good friends use as well. This is the best way to know everything about the establishment. Ensure they require vaccination records, and that precautions for socialization time are followed.
  • Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations. Take a quick trip to the vet to ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date, specifically the bordetella vaccine for kennel cough.

Benefits of hiring a dog sitter:

  • No changing environment. If you trust your sitter, and they are caring for your dog at your house, that’s an added comfort. Familiarity of surroundings can help babies cope better while pet parents are absent.
  • One-on-one. Rather than being in a kennel with a number of other dogs, a sitter can provide undivided attention. That means all the potty breaks needed, plenty of play time and most definitely snuggles.
  • Better for shy dogs. Being opposite from the social butterfly, some dogs don’t deal well having a lot of other pups around. This can lead to aggression or anxiety. So having a sitter would be a huge help for these personality types.
  • Good when there are multiple dogs. When you have a “pack” of dogs, separation from one another can present challenges too. And with a sitter, whether at your home or theirs, the pack stays together.

Considerations for choosing a dog sitter:

  • Use someone you know. Keep it professional and iron out details of payment ahead of time, so it’s not awkward for your friendship. But having even a trusted acquaintance come stay at your house with your pup is way better than a stranger.
  • Make the guidelines clear. Spell out everything you expect beforehand. Will they need to give baths, administer medications or keep the house clean? These things will all be important to talk through before the job is officially offered.
  • Set up preliminary meetings. Have your sitter come over a few times, so dogs can get to know them. Or, have them go to the sitter’s house if this is where they will be staying.

Take Away

Either option can be a solid option. It will really come down to the personality and needs of your dog. After considering the above, making a decision for your precious one should be a little easier.


Karyn Wofford is a “Mom” to her fluffy, sweet dog Halli. She spends much of her time traveling and advocating for Type 1 diabetes—and Halli sometimes accompanies her on her adventures. You’ll find Karyn’s work on sites like Mother Earth Living, and in magazines such as Diabetes Forecast.

Halloween safety tips for dogs

Halloween: a holiday where the whole...

English Bulldogs, also known simply as...

If you or a family member is allergic...

Bringing along your dog on a hike is a...

More From Figo Blog
Labrador Retriever retrieving a blue frisbee from the yard

One of the best things about owning a dog is...

Pet Professionals: Interview With Kristen Levine Pet Blogger | Figo Pet Insurance

We recently had the opportunity to interview...

woman drinking coffee and holding small cat near

On any given day, between 50 and 70 million...

Puppy crate training in progress

There are many tools I utilize when training...

Technology has changed almost every aspect...

You may have heard the phrase, “Cats can’t...

Q: I’ve been reading about...

Summer is finally here! The snow has melted...