Should You Board Your Dog or Hire a Pet Sitter?

In the past, there weren’t many options outside of a kennel for dog care when out of town. These days, with apps and websites and online classifieds, many at home dog-sitting options have opened up to pet owners.

But which option is better for dogs and their owners?

Here are a few factors to consider when deciding between boarding your dog and hiring a sitter.

dog in a kennel

Consider Your Dog’s Comfort

While some dogs take new environments in stride, many struggle when moving from home to a kennel. Additionally, some kennels place dogs in the company of other animals. If your pet has difficulty finding comfort in new environments or meeting new dogs, an at-home caregiver may be the best option! Nothing will make your pup more comfortable than staying in the at-home environment that they are used to.

You Should Consider Security in Your Pet Care Options

Reputable dog sitting apps and businesses may offer dog owners more access and security than traditional kennels. With photo, video, and live stream options, owners can check in on their animal more directly than ever, making dog sitting preferable for some pet owners. With many pet sitting services, owners cab evaluate, and sometimes meet a prospective caregiver beforehand, adding to trust and comfort level of the owner.

In home Pet Sitting Allows For Flexibility

Depending on specific needs, a long and potentially expensive kennel stay may not be necessary. In cases where owners are gone for short periods of time, or out of town every other day, a flexible dog sitting schedule may be preferred! Not only can you schedule pet sitters to come to your home only as often as needed, you can also avoid a trip to the kennel with your pup. One less errand to run is a welcome thing for all of us with busy schedules these days.


While it’s never easy leaving your dog with a new face, but if you weigh these options carefully, you can be sure that your dog will be happy and cared for during your time away!

How Long Can You Leave a Pet Alone?

Uncertain about how long your pet can be left alone? While each pet has unique needs, there are some general guidelines for different animals. Here’s some pet-specific advice to get you started!

A Vet with a Cat and a Dog

Dogs

There’s no reliable rule for how long your dog can be left alone. Factors such as health, age, breed, and training all influence a dog’s comfort when alone. Most healthy adult dogs can be left alone for 4-6 hours at a time. Any longer than that, and you’ll want to hire a sitter or dog walker.

Cats

Barring special circumstances, cats can be left alone for around 24 hours. Before leaving them, make sure they have a clean litterbox, plenty of fresh water, and a full belly.

Hamsters

Hamsters should not be left alone for more than 48 hours. With enough food and water, they should be comfortable and safe alone.

Snakes

Snakes are often solitary pets, and do well being left to their own devices for days at a time. That said, the amount of time that you can leave your snake unattended depends on its feeding schedule, the reliability of its terrarium temp/humidity, and its access to fresh water. If you are confident in the sustainability of terrarium conditions, you’ll only need to return home to replenish water or feed your pet.

Birds

Birds should not be left without a check-in for more than 24 hours.

Reptiles

While every reptile is slightly different, most (like bearded dragons and geckos) can be left alone for a day or two, so long as they have a fresh supply of food and water.

Ferrets

Ferrets require a lot of playtime and attention. If a few hours of out-of-cage playing/roaming time are not possible each day, you’ll want to consider hiring a sitter.

Fish

While you’ll want to consider your fish’s specific feeding schedule, almost any fish can be left alone for 2-3 days.

Turtles

Most turtles will be fine without food for a few days, but if you are leaving your turtle for more than two weeks, make sure to arrange for someone to feed them periodically, and monitor the cleanliness of their aquarium’s water.

What Does a Pet Sitter Do?

Is work or travel taking you away from your dog more than you’d like? Between apps like Rover and mom & pop pet care businesses, there are many options for getting your animal the care it needs!

A Pet Sitter Petting a Dog

But, what does a pet sitter do? Here’s some information about pet sitting to help you decide whether it’s right for you and your pet!

Pet Sitters Provide Basic Care

Pet sitters primarily enact basic animal care. This includes delivering meals, walking dogs, giving medications, grooming fur, and cleaning litter boxes.

Additionally, pet sitters will be the acting first responder in the event of a pet related crisis. If your animal falls ill or gets hurt, they will notify you and take them to the vet!

Pet Sitters Will Exercise Your Pet

Some animals, especially active dogs, need lots of exercise to remain healthy. A pet sitter or dog walker can ensure they receive the care they need. Keep in mind, many pet sitters charge by the hour, so more exercise will mean more money spent.

There is no formal experience or certification for pet sitting. The best way to determine whether a pet sitter is right for you is to talk to them, and have them meet you and your pet in a safe and public space, like a dog park! Hands on experience, dependability, and a knack for dealing with animals are necessary skills for the position, so keep your eyes peeled for red flags, and use your best judgement when selecting a sitter!

Pet Sitters are Better than a kennel

Cats and dogs often experience physical and mental stress when placed in a pet care facility. At-home pet sitting allows an animal to continue with its regular activities, and in an environment where they feel comfortable! Preserving eating, bathroom, and exercise habits may mean a lot for your dog’s body and mind!

Hiring a pet sitter can be stressful and intimidating. Use your critical mind, and talk to neighbors or friends about their experiences before pulling the trigger! There are countless pet-loving professionals out there to help you and your pet, you just have to find them!

How Long Should You Walk Your Dog?

Dog owners know that taking your pet for a spin around the block is a part of the program. But more than routine, exercising your dog is crucial in bolstering its mental and physical health.

How long should a dog be walked each day? The answer to this question depends heavily on a variety of factors, from breed to weather to age, and recommendations for exercise time range from 30 minutes to 2 hours a day depending on these factors

Fit woman running with a dog and holding it's leash

Here is a short guide to the factors, and to planning a perfect exercise schedule for your dog!

Continue reading “How Long Should You Walk Your Dog?”

What Does it Take to Foster a Dog

What Is Dog Fostering?

Fostering a dog can be a very different experience between people. However, whether seeking a trial run for future adoption or simply giving back with short term care for shelter animals, fostering is not something to enter into lightly.

dog in a kennel

With a little research, it is possible to determine whether fostering a dog is a good choice for you. Here are some thoughts and guidelines that will bring you closer to an answer and help you get started if fostering still seems like a good fit. Continue reading “What Does it Take to Foster a Dog”

Is Your Dog Chewing Everything?

Does your dog have a chewing problem? Do you come home to tattered furniture and mangled socks? You are not alone, because destructive chewing is actually one of the most common problems between young dogs and their new owners.

beagle chewing a shoe laying on green grass

Lucky for you, the scale of the problem means that effective solutions have been developed and tested over time. So, try these following steps, and stop your dog from destroying the house!
Continue reading “Is Your Dog Chewing Everything?”

Keeping Your Dog Warm in Cold Weather

While many dogs are well-equipped to handle harsh temperatures, they aren’t completely different than us when it comes to winter’s chill. Some painfully cold days are simply too intense for a dog to go outside, no matter the breed or length of coat. Like humans, dogs will sustain frostbite and hypothermia when left on ice for too long.

Feeling uncertain about taking your dog out into the cold day? Here are some tips for avoiding danger, and keeping them extra warm if a journey into the chill is necessary.

Dogs playing in the snow. one dog is wearing a sweater. Continue reading “Keeping Your Dog Warm in Cold Weather”