Are dog boarding and dog kennels the same thing?
Dog kennels are commercial dog boarding facilities with space for lots of dogs, whereas dog boarding means having your dog looked after overnight. As such, you can board your dog at a kennel, but this isn’t the only option out there. Websites such as Pawshake allow you to reach out to local sitters who offer many services. This can include dog boarding in their home, as well as house sitting and other services.
Dog kennels will usually have dogs kept in large pens or separate rooms, possibly with outside access or time to exercise outdoors. On the other hand, dog boarding with a sitter is in the sitter's family home. As such, this option can be closer to a normal day-to-day experience for your dog.
Is a dog kennel or boarding in a sitter’s home best?
Whether you choose dog boarding at a house or a kennel depends on your dog’s needs and personality. For instance, some dogs become quite stressed in a kennel environment. The strange sounds and smells can really be very stressful. Furthermore, larger kennel facilities may need to leave your dog unattended for periods of time. This can further add to the risk of separation anxiety. Lastly, kennels with many dogs can have outbreaks of kennel cough and other illnesses that might infect your dog.
On the other hand, your dog might love their local kennel or have special needs that a larger commercial facility can fulfil. It is very dependent on your preferences and your dog.
Other dogs may be more suited to dog boarding at a sitter’s home. Many pet sitters work from home or are at home for most of the day. This means your dog has a stable experience with someone to provide one-on-one care.
Likewise, many pet sitters choose to keep their client numbers low. As such, your dog won’t be exposed to many strange dogs and can receive one-on-one care. This allows for a good match between dogs so that your pooch can enjoy low-pressure socialisation in a family home. It also means the sitter can administer medication, walk your dog, give them a bath and do other tasks that might be very expensive at a dog kennel. Plus - you choose the sitter, so you know exactly who is handling your dog.
How to make overnight stays easier for your dog
To prepare your dog for boarding with a sitter, always meet up with the sitter beforehand and discuss your needs. This way, you can ensure they understand your expectations and you can get to know their experience. Here are some tips for a successful meet and greet.
Doing a trial run is a good way to test your dog’s suitability for staying overnight with a sitter. Book a pet sitter for one night and see how your dog goes being separated from you. Leave a blanket and some toys from home, as this will smell familiar and help keep your dog calm. And always leave some extra food, just in case you get held up coming to collect them.
Be sure to discuss your sitter’s home space and schedule to ensure you get a good match for your dog. And lastly, disclose any behavioural or medical issues that your dog has. Transparency is absolutely key.