What's the Diff? Pet Sitting and Pet Boarding
Wed, April 21, 2021

What's the Diff? Pet Sitting and Pet Boarding

Pet parenting is a big responsibility. This is the reason why various services are available to assist pet owners with their pets. These include pet walking, grooming, training, pet sitting, and pet boarding / Photo by: lightfieldstudios via 123RF


Pet parenting is a big responsibility. This is the reason why various services are available to assist pet owners with their pets. These include pet walking, grooming, training, pet sitting, and pet boarding.

If owners decide to go on a trip without their pets, a part of their planning will be to find where their four-legged friend will temporarily stay. This is where pet sitting or pet boarding comes as an option. But what is the difference between the two?


Pet Sitting

According to Dr. Ken Tudor, a previous veterinary medical officer for both the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture, there are two types of pet sitting. The first type is where pet sitters will come to the house at certain times to exercise the pet, feed it, and allow bodily elimination. The second type of pet sitting is where the pet sitter will temporarily stay at the pet owner’s house and care for the pet so that it will have a constant companion.

As someone who practiced general and emergency small animal medicine since he graduated from the Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Tudor said that pets can show signs of stress when they are in unfamiliar surroundings or their pet owners are away. This is why caring for them while they stay in their own home is a good thing. Having pet sitters also has the added advantage of having someone at home while the owner is away. Mail and newspaper collection, for instance, by the pet sitter discourages possible robbery attempts because of the normal household activity.

The second type of pet sitting is also advantageous because the pet sitter can also care for outdoor and indoor plants and answer phone calls. As they stay in the same house with the pets, they can recognize faster if there is a potential health problem to the animal than at a specified time of visit. Based on Tudor’s experience, pets left to live-in pet sitters are less likely to experience separation anxiety or stress when their owners are away.

Pet Sitting Pros and Cons

The advantage of pet sitting includes the following: less expensive, less stressful because pets remain in familiar routine or surroundings, no need to transport the pets, and there is someone left in the house while the owner is away. On the other hand, the disadvantages include: pets may not respond well to strangers; having a total stranger in your home; the care that the pet receives from the sitter may not be enough.


Pet Boarding

Pet boarding is also a popular solution for pet owners who will need to be gone for a certain period of time. In this option, owners leave their pets at a pet lodging or boarding facility overnight or for several days. This is a good option for owners who are not comfortable with the idea of other people staying in their homes. At least in the pet boarding facility, the animals can also socialize and play with other animals. Pet boarding can be availed for the short term or long term.

Some pet owners prefer a pet boarding facility that is cage-free so that there is room for a social experience for their animals. Pets will also have various sleeping options including a couch, dog bed, cool tile floor, or sling-type bed of their choosing. Such kind of facility emulates a home setting so that the pet will somehow feel they are at home. Pet boarding facilities are like pet hotels with different amenities for animals. There are also luxurious pet boarding options, where pets can get a massage, enjoy a pool, have a bubble playtime, or just relax in a suite with a peaceful background to suit their personality.

A new concept is also gaining popularity wherein humans are hired to entertain the dogs. This is on the premise that that more attention given to them, the less stressed the pets will be. This arrangement though, is less available for cats as it may be problematic for them.

The biggest problem with pet boarding though is the stress that pets may experience. This particularly applies to cats as they are uncomfortable if they are placed outside their usual or normal environment. The stress often results in diarrhea or vomiting, often bloody, for most of the stay. Timidity and fear likewise reduce the animals’ appetites so they lose weight when they are in a boarding facility although this is not always the case. Some are not uncomfortable with the setting but may suffer trauma because of altercations with other pet boarders.

Pet Boarding Pros and Cons

Pet boarding has the following advantages: and attention from and socialization with people and other pets, opportunities to exercise, stay in a supervised or professional environment, routine exercising and feeding, no need for strangers to live or visit your home, monitoring of medications and food. On the other hand, pet boarding can be expensive, stressful for other animals, risk of illness from exposure to unfamiliar food and other pets, requires transporting the pets, and a higher chance of injury from altercations with other pet boarders or due to self-trauma


Pet Healthcare Spending

Pet care platform Pet Life Today, in its state of pet healthcare 2020 report, highlighted that pet healthcare spending in the US continues to soar. From $66.75 billion in 2016, the total pet healthcare spending of American pet owners will reach $69.36 billion this year. Vet care, over-the-counter pet medicine, and supplies also accounted for more than $30 billion in 2016. The reason why pet healthcare spending will increase is that about 68% of households in the US now own at least one pet.

Aside from the rise of pet ownership, 95% of Americans also consider their pet as a member of their family and 45% of pet owners even buy birthday presents for their pets. There are also 31% of pet owners who admit that they cook for their pets. The surgical veterinary visits cost owners $474 for dogs, $45 for birds, and $245 for cats a year. Furthermore, sick vet visits accounted for $204 for dogs, $135 for birds, and $244 for cats yearly.  Different pet healthcare spending on emergency veterinary visits costs owners $349 for dogs, $107 for birds, $154 for cats, and $471 for horses annually.

More and more people, not only in the US, are spending more on pets. This makes pet boarding and live-in pet setting a booming market.