Choosing Between Dog Boarding & Pet Sitting: Tips for Pet Parents

french bulldog in a dog boarding playroom

Dog Boarding or Pet Sitting? Discover what matters most to help you make an informed decision for you and your fur-baby.

Hello, fellow pet parents! If you’re anything like me, you probably feel a lot of guilt and worry when you have to leave your fur-babies for any extended period of time. And trying to decide whether dog boarding or pet sitting is the best option for your pets when we’re away can be gut-wrenching. 

Making the decision about overnight care, especially for several days, isn’t just about convenience or cost. It’s about understanding your pets’ needs, personalities, and what environment will make them feel most secure and loved. 

In this guide, we’ll help you understand the pros and cons of both options. We want you to make an informed, thoughtful choice so that you feel confident and at peace when you have to be away from your pets.

Understanding Dog Boarding

Dog boarding is like a vacation retreat for your four-legged companions. High-quality facilities offer a clean, cozy environment, well-trained staff, and plenty of supervised and structured social time with furry friends. 

These facilities pride themselves on their welcoming environment. Space is abundant, allowing for both indoor and outdoor activities, ensuring that your dog has plenty of room to stretch, run, and play. 

Cleanliness is also a high priority, with rigorous cleaning schedules to ensure a hygienic and healthy environment. This reduces the risk of disease and ensures that your pet’s stay is as comfortable and safe as possible.

The social opportunities are a highlight for many pets. From group play sessions on puppy playgrounds to one-on-one interactions with staff, your pet will have plenty of time to socialize, play, and make new friends.

The staff who care for your pets during their boarding stay aren’t just people who love pets – they are trained professionals. Many often have certifications in animal behavior, first aid, and even pet CPR. They’re equipped to handle everything from your pet’s dietary needs to administering medication, ensuring that your pet’s health and well-being are in loving, skilled hands.

Most facilities offer a structured schedule that includes plenty of exercise, playtime, and rest. These routines are not just about keeping your fur-baby busy. They’re tailored to meet the physical and emotional needs of your pet, ensuring they stay healthy and content while away from their pet parents. 

Activities are designed to keep your pet engaged, happy, and active, whether it’s a romp in the play area, a puzzle toy to solve, or a calm evening cuddle. High quality boarding facilities often offer special pampering for your pup, too, like personal dog walks, stuffed Kong treats, and 1-on-1 playtime. 

For some examples of special puppy pampering, click HERE

Pros of Dog Boarding:

  • Social Butterfly Heaven: If your dog loves making friends, boarding offers a fantastic opportunity for them to socialize.
  • Professional Cuddlers: The staff are trained to make your pet feel safe and secure. They can handle all kinds of doggy dilemmas, from the midnight howlers to the food bowl guards.

Safe & Secure: Facilities often have robust security measures. This ensures that  your pet is continually monitored and doesn’t accidentally go on an adventure without you. You may even be able to remotely watch your pet while away.

Cons of Dog Boarding:

  • New Kid on the Block: New environments, especially for long periods of time, can be stressful for some pets. It’s like the first day at school; some kids can’t wait to go, while others can feel anxious or sad. Fortunately, socializing can often help. 
  • Sniffles and Sneezes: Just like kids in daycare or at school, it’s important to keep sick pets at home for their own safety as well as the safety of their furry friends. Interestingly enough, dogs that regularly attend daycare seem far less susceptible to getting sick. 

For more information about Dog Day Getaway boarding, click HERE.

Understanding Pet Sitting

Pet sitting is one-on-one care in your own home. If you know that your fur-baby gets anxious when you’re away, needs the comfort of its own routine to feel at ease, or has special needs, a pet sitter may be a good choice. 

Pet sitting services can offer some versatility depending on your needs. They may offer daily drop-in visits for feeding and walks. Or you might opt for overnight stays for those pets who need a little extra reassurance or companionship through the night. This flexibility allows pet sitting to cater to the varied needs of different pets and their owners.

This service can be particularly beneficial for pets that require special care. If your pet is ill, has unique medical, dietary, or behavioral needs, ensuring they receive the exact care they require in the comfort and safety of their own home may be best.

Pros of Pet Sitting:

  • Home Sweet Home: Staying at home means your pet doesn’t have to adjust to a new environment which may help pets that are introverted, elderly, or anxious.
  • One-on-One Attention: Pet sitters provide personalized care, making it ideal for pets with special needs.
  • Flexibility: From a few visits a day to overnight stays, pet sitting services can be tailored to your pet’s needs. 

Cons of Pet Sitting:

  • Where’s the Party?: Pet sitting may be too restrictive for dogs that love to socialize and need plenty of exercise.
  • Trust Issues: Finding a reliable, qualified pet sitter can be challenging. Finding the right person with the training and experience you desire may require a lengthy interview process. And, don’t forget, this person will be alone in your home and with your pet. 
  • Expense: You may have to pay a premium for a high-quality pet sitter especially for long, overnight stays. And even for short mealtime visits, it can cost upwards of $35 per 45 min per visit with an upcharge for additional pets.

How to Choose Between Dog Boarding and Pet Sitting

Your Pet’s Personality

Is your dog a social butterfly or a lone wolf? Do they love new adventures, or are they a homebody? Understanding your pet’s personality can help guide your choice.

Health and Age

For the seniors or those with special medical needs, the comfort of home might be the better option. Young, energetic pups might benefit from the playtime and socialization a boarding facility offers.

Routine and Change

Most pets thrive on routine like a toddler with a strict bedtime. An abrupt change in their socializing, exercise, eating, or sleep schedules can often be stressful.

Consider whether your dog is used to staying home alone or if they regularly attend daycare to ensure the best care while you’re away.

Safety and Security

Consider the safety measures of both options. Make sure you have fully vetted any individual that will have access to your home and furbabies. And it’s a good idea to schedule an at home meet and greet well in advance.

A high-quality boarding facility has strict procedures in place to keep your fur-babies safe and comfortable. While dogs are allowed to be loose to play all day, at bedtime they are secure in their kennels with siblings sharing accommodations. And then it’s lights out. This keeps their routines similar to an average day.

You want to make sure the facility has an alarm system and motion detectors (on the off chance a furry Houdini tries to escape). Also, they should have hot and cold sensors in place to monitor any issues with heat or air conditioning. As a general rule, local police and fire departments have keys to the building, and a manager or staff member should live nearby in case there are emergencies during the night. 


Cost can be a valid deciding factor. Boarding facilities typically have a set fee per night, while a pet sitter’s fees may vary depending on the length of the stay.

Visit and Vet

Before deciding, visit potential boarding facilities and ask for a tour. Ask them to explain what sort of experience your pet will have during their stay. 

Schedule a meet-and-greet at your home with any potential pet sitters. Get multiple references and check them. 

For a list of great interview questions, click HERE.

The Final Decision

In the end, trust your instincts. You know your pet better than anyone else. 

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s about finding the right fit for you and your furry family member. Trust your gut. 

So, dear pet parents, armed with this knowledge, we hope your pet care choices seem a bit easier so that you feel confident and well informed.


If you have any questions about boarding at Dog Day Getaway or would like to schedule an in person tour with us, please feel free to Contact Us

In the meantime, please enjoy a virtual tour of Dog Day Getaway!