Our Rock Hill vets know that leaving your dog or cat behind when you're heading out of town can be stressful. Should you hire a pet sitter, or is boarding a better option for you and your fur baby? Today our vets talk about the differences between pet boarding vs. pet sitting.

Pet Care 

Whether you're going away on vacation for a couple of weeks or on a business trip for a few days, you'll need to find appropriate care for your pet. Our veterinarians understand that deciding which type of care is best for you and your pet can be difficult, but with a little research into the options available, you should be able to find a service that is just right for both of you.

Boarding Facilities

It's undeniable that pet boarding has a bad reputation. Not long ago, many pet boarding facilities and kennels were dark, dingy places where animals were kept confined for long periods of time. These days, pet boarding facilities come in a variety of styles and price points.

Rather than being locked in a cage, your pup could be having fun socializing and playing with other dogs, and the kitty can have a relaxing vacation in a clean, fresh-smelling facility that comes complete with lots of love and pats.

Whether you are looking for an extravagant spa to pamper your pooch or a clean but modest facility to keep your cat contented, there is a wide variety of pet boarding facilities around the greater Rock Hill area to choose from.

Convenient Location

Spend some time visiting boarding facilities in your preferred area to find the best fit for your pet. Starting your search in the most convenient neighborhood for you could make planning a trip a little easier. If you don't find anything suitable near your home, start broadening your search area gradually until you have a few good options to choose from.

While there is bound to be one kennel, doggie daycare, or boarding facility that suits your needs best, be sure to have a second choice option for those times when you need to travel but your facility is fully booked or closed.

The Right Features at The Right Price

When it comes to boarding facilities, you often get what you pay for. In general, the price is a good indicator of the features available at that facility. If your pet will be staying in hotel-like spaces with sofas to lounge on and televisions to watch, you will most likely pay more than if he or she is staying in a standard facility with roomy crates and fenced dog runs. Dog 'camps' can be more expensive, but they typically provide dogs with plenty of time outside exploring as well as additional facilities for swimming and playing with other dogs.

That said, our canine companions aren't the only ones who can enjoy a relaxing vacation while we're away! Some specialized cat boarding facilities offer specially equipped cat gyms complete with platforms to jump up onto, posts to scratch, and toys to play with. Your cat could be having a fun adventure while you travel.

Level of Service

It is important to note that the level of service you select will most likely determine the cost of boarding your pet. Standard pet care in boarding facilities nowadays provides pets with a clean, friendly place to stay at an affordable price.

Standard care for dogs at pet boarding facilities typically includes:

  • A clean, roomy kennel for your pup to sleep in
  • Time for your dog to stretch its legs before breakfast
  • Breakfast served in the kennel
  • Walk time or playtime in the middle of the day
  • Dinner served in the kennel
  • Evening bathroom/exercise break

Standard care for cats at a pet boarding facility includes:

  • A clean, private crate with lots of room for the kitty to move around and plenty of space for a litter box
  • Frequent visits by staff to ensure that each cat's litter box is clean that kitty and has plenty of food and water
  • Clean bedding to ensure that your cat can lie down comfortably and watch the world go by

Other services commonly available at pet boarding facilities:

Pet parents looking for something a little more unique than a standard boarding facility will have no trouble finding facilities that offer pet grooming, training, specialized veterinary care, and shuttle services to and from the facility.

The Pros & Cons of Pet Boarding

Pros: Pet boarding gives your animal a standardized daily routine with meal times and exercise times on a regular schedule. Schedules can be reassuring for many pets while their owner is away. Boarding will also offer your pooch an opportunity to socialize with other dogs, and many facilities have onsite veterinary professionals which can be ideal if your pet requires medications or special medical care.

Cons: The most obvious disadvantage of boarding your pet is that they are not at home. Some pets become nervous or anxious in new environments, especially when their owner is not present, which can lead to fights with other animals during playtime. Another disadvantage of boarding your pet is that they are more likely to contract contagious illnesses such as Kennel Cough or Feline Upper Respiratory Infection (although keeping your pet's immunizations up to date can help to mitigate this risk).

In-Home Pet Sitters

If you're considering hiring a professional pet sitter, request a list of references as well as a list of qualifications from your applicants. Prices for pet sitters will vary greatly based on the level of service you choose for your animal.

Hiring a pet sitter not only ensures that your furbaby is cared for in their own home, but it can also help to protect your home by keeping your house looking lived-in.

Pet sitters will usually collect your mail and papers and make your house look more lively. Hiring a live-in pet sitter also ensures that someone is looking after your home and your pet at night.

Levels of Service Provided by Pet Sitters

There are two types of pet sitters: those who come to your house twice a day to feed your pet and allow it to go outside for bathroom breaks, and those who live in your home full-time while you're away. Prices for these services will vary depending on the circumstances.

Other services commonly available from pet sitters:

If your pet requires more care than just feeding and being let out a few times a day, many pet sitters offer additional services such as:
  • Walks
  • Grooming
  • Training
  • Housekeeping

The Pros & Cons of Hiring a Pet Sitter

Pros: For many pets, being at home is less stressful than visiting an unfamiliar boarding facility. Other benefits of hiring a pet sitter include the increased security of having someone in your home, and pet sitters tend to be less expensive than the cost of boarding your pet.

Cons: Inviting a stranger into your home to care for your pet can be unsettling, and it's not for everyone. Another disadvantage of hiring a part-time pet sitter is that your animal may become bored or lonely when left alone for extended periods of time, which can lead to destructive behavior. Pet sitters can also be extremely busy and difficult to find during peak holiday seasons, such as spring break.

Remember, the best time to look for the right service for your pet is before you need it. Trying to find care for your animal while working to a tight deadline is bound to cause extra anxiety. 

At Catawba Animal Clinic our team of caring veterinary professionals offers overnight dog and cat boarding in Rock Hill. All of our staff work hard to ensure your pets feel at home in our facility while you are away.

If you're looking for a clean, safe place for your pet to stay while you're away, Catawba Animal Clinic offers affordable boarding options for dogs and cats in Rock Hill. Contact us today to learn more about what we can offer your pet.