Considerations for Pet Care

By: Jerri Johnson

September 1, 2023

One of the most important aspects of pet ownership, is preparing for those times when you are absent or unable to care for your pets.  Two broad categories of pet care are pet sitting in which a person comes to your home, or pet boarding in which your pet stays at a boarding facility.  Which you choose depends on a few factors.  I call these factors the 4 C’s – Convenience, Comfort, Care & Cost.


For many people, the convenience of having a pet sitter come to the home is wonderful.  Not only is the pet cared for, but someone is there to occupy and monitor your home.  Other people, like myself, enjoy the convenience of boarding their pets at a boarding facility. 


When it comes to comfort, consider not only your pet’s comfort level, but your own when choosing between pet sitting or boarding.  Many people are uncomfortable with unfamiliar people coming to their home, and their pet may not do well without constant supervision.  Other people just don’t feel comfortable leaving their pets at an unfamiliar facility, around other unfamiliar animals, being cared for by unfamiliar people at a boarding facility. 

Care & Cost:

Your pet’s level of comfort will largely depend on the type of care they will be getting.  With Pet sitting your pet usually gets one on one care and is less likely to interact with other animals, unless you request playdates with other pets.  When boarding, your pet may have the opportunity to socialize with other pets,  This can be a positive or negative consideration depending on your pets temperament, sociability, health, and vaccination status.  You should also understand that pet sitting care can usually be tailored your individual pet.  While boarding facilities aim to provide great care, it may be less individualized due to having multiple animals to attend to.

The level and type of care will determine the cost.  In general pet sitting is typically more expensive compared to boarding due to the personalized care and travel expenses for the pet sitter.  Boarding services may be more cost-effective but can vary a great deal depending on the facility’s amenities.

No matter your choice be a savvy consumer and do your research.  Here are some important questions to ask:

Experience and qualifications:

How long have you been providing pet sitting/boarding services?

Can you provide references from other pet owners you’ve worked with?

Do you have experience with pets of my pet’s breed or species?

Are you certified or trained in pet first aid and CPR?

Do you have any formal training in animal care or behavior?


Availability and Service:

Are you available for the specific dates I need pet care?

Do you offer 24/7 emergency contact or care?

What is your protocol in case of a medical emergency?

Are you familiar with my pet’s medical history and any specific health concerns?

How do you ensure the safety of my pet while in your care?

How will you keep me updated on my pet’s well-being while I’m away?

Can you provide regular updates via text, photos, or video calls?

Do you have a backup plan in case you cannot reach me in an emergency?

Cost and Policies:

What are your rates, and are there any additional charges or fees?

What is your cancellation policy?

Do you require a deposit or advance payment?

What vaccination or health requirement are needed?


If you are taking your pet to a boarding facility there are additional questions you should ask…


Facility and Staffing:

Can I visit your facility to see where my pet will be staying?

What amenities and accommodations do you provide for pets?

How many staff members are present during the day and night?

What is the staff-to-pet ratio?

How many staff members are present during the day and night?

What is the staff-to-pet ratio?


Health and Comfort:

What vaccinations and health records do you require for pets staying at your facility?

How do you handle contagious illnesses among pets?

Can I bring my pet’s own bedding, toys, or food?

What enrichment and exercise activities are available for pets?


Safety and security:

How do you ensure the security of the facility?

Are there fire and safety measures in place?


Pick up and Drop off Procedures:

What are your check-in and check-out procedures?

Do you have specific hours for drop-off and pickup?


Finally, you should always check out reviews and testimonials.  Often a personal recommendation from a trusted friend is the best way to find top notch care and peace of mind.

Atomic Habits for Dogs

Atomic Habits for Dogs

Just after Christmas I began reading Atomic Habits by James Clear.   This is a well written book that distills complex...

read more