Out of town on vacation or business? Who’s watching Fluffy, Fifi, and Fido?

Are you headed out of town or planning a vacation, but you’re unsure about leaving your pets behind? The good news is there are many possibilities when it comes to finding someone to watch your pets! However, there are SO many possibilities, how ever will you choose?

We’ve been in the pet care industry for over 15 years now, so we’ve put together a little list of things to look for when you’re deciding on the best care for your pets.

Firstly, you have to think about your pet because each of these options are best for certain types of pets, but not others. So, break it down. You have the following options:

  1. Board your pet at a daycare or vet clinic (this could be kennel boarding, bedroom boarding, or free-roaming boarding)
  2. Send your pets to a friend or neighbor’s home to stay
  3. Leave your pets in your home and have a professional pet sitter come in to care for them

That’s already a lot to think about if it’s your first time tackling this situation! So we’ll break it down a little bit farther for you, to talk about what all these options mean.

Boarding at a Daycare or Clinic: Boarding is a great option for pets who are extremely stressed being alone, or who need consistent veterinary supervision. Most vets have accompanying boarding facilities so animals can be in a safe-supervised environment. However, it’s important to do your research about the type of housing your pet will be kept in because many daycare facilities and veterinarians use kennel facilities for safety and security, which means your pet will be in a cage or kennel the majority of the day. Kennel boarding can be a stressful environment as animals are surrounded by new scents and smells different from their own home environment. Pets can also get stressed or get sick from being exposed to group housing, and when pets are stressed their immune systems are suppressed, which means there may be a higher likelihood of them catching an illness like the common “kennel cough” or parasites from another pet in a kenneled facility.

Some dog daycare facilities also offer bedroom boarding. This is a great option for dogs who loveeeeee playing with other pups, already used to the daycare environment, and who love adventure away from home with other dogs.   At these facilities, dogs are typically a part of the daycare environment all day, and then are in their own “bedrooms” at night. These are typically enclosed “stalls” with the dog’s bed, toys, and bowls. These facilities are usually staffed 24/7, though it’s always important to inquire about the staffing protocol to ensure your dog is always supervised.

Another boarding type of facility is free-roaming boarding. These are usually set up in a licensed facility where dogs stay together in large rooms without private stalls or bedrooms overnight.   Essentially, this type of boarding is a big sleepover! Again, this would only be an appropriate situation if your dog gets along really well with all other pups, as many of these facilities have many dogs staying at one time.  For all boarding options, be sure to take a complete tour of the facility, meet the staff,  ask about staffing levels overnight, cleaning protocols, and under what conditions the staff will contact you while your pet is in their care.


Secondly, another option is to trade pet care with family or neighbors, who may take your pet to their house or who may stay in your home with your pet(s). This option is like an individualized sleepover! This is a great option for pets who can adjust pretty quickly to a new environment and it’s also the budget-friendliest option, if you can trade pet care with a neighbor each time you travel.     They can set up the environment the way both you and they’re comfortable with, at your home or at their home, and this way you have control to ensure your pet has everything they need.

When trading pet care with your family and neighbors, be sure to set ground rules, agree on care routines, times of feeding (and walks for dogs).   If your pet isn’t staying in your home, you will need to discuss and write down all the specific things about your pet’s diet, toys allowed (and not allowed), treats, potty routine, preferences and dislikes etc.

Leave your pets in your home and have someone check in on them daily. This is a superb option! We saved the best for last, because this is what we do for our neighbors!   With in-home pet care from a licensed and insured professional, your pets never have to leave their comfort zone while they get to stay in their own home.  Best for dogs and cats who are home bodies, we also know that professional pet sitting is the BEST option for pets in tanks, cages or pens — all the birds, bearded dragons, iguanas, hamsters, guinea pigs, fish and more can stay at home in their regular daily routine.

For dogs and cats with any behavioral issues, medication needs, or chronic illnesses, in-home professional pet care is your best bet.    Select a sitter who can give personalized care, understands behaviors, administers medications, and adjusts to their unique routine.

This option is best for pets who are comfortable at home, don’t like change, who prefer quiet, who prefer to be alone, or who don’t relish group facility environments.   Plus, the risk of catching an illness or parasite from another animal in a boarding facility is nonexistent.

When hiring a new pet sitter for your pet and your home, be sure to meet them first, discuss what their backup plan is if they get sick or injured, and definitely only hire a sitter who has a business license and who has liability insurance. Pet sitters tend to set prices competitively based on availability and expertise, so be sure to do your research and decide what you’re comfortable with!

Be sure to meet the person who will care for your pet, to give them a complete tour of your home, rules, and pet supplies, so they will be oriented and can maximize the amount of time they spend with your pet. Clarify all your expectations by writing down your specific instructions and setting ground rules to how the household runs.



SO, the biggest takeaways from all these options?

  • Know your pet! If you know your pet has some anxiety or doesn’t like other pets, be sure to choose an option that disrupts their life the least amount.
  • Do your research! Meet the people, take tours, do price comparisons, and don’t commit to anything you’re uncomfortable with


Call Alexandria Pet Care! Our pet sitters are only hired for their expertise in working with animals — we’re all career pet experts with background in veterinary hospitals, shelters, animal rescue, and previous professional pet sitting.

We specialize in personalized and flexible service – whatever your pet needs, they get. We’ll head to your home as many times a day as you’d like, and follow your specifications and personalized instructions. If you have questions about our services, or would like to simply meet us (with no obligation) or to book us for pet sitting, give us a call or shoot us an email today!

2019-07-09T12:19:48-04:00 June 26th, 2019|

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