If you haven't needed to board your dog in a while, you may be surprised to learn that the dog care industry has expanded beyond the traditional kennel. Many enterprising individuals now offer to board dogs in their own houses while the dogs' owners are away, providing a more home-oriented environment that some dogs find comforting. But these in-home boarders are not without their drawbacks, and traditional kennels still have plenty to offer. Which is best for your dog? The three following considerations can help you make a more informed decision.
Choosing the Right Atmosphere for Your Dog
Many dogs enjoy the opportunity to play with other dogs in a boisterous, noisy environment, but others become anxious, fearful or even aggressive when they are overstimulated. This is especially true for older dogs, who may not be able to keep up with the antics of their younger counterparts. For dogs who prefer a quieter environment, in-home boarding may be a wiser solution, though kennels can often accommodate more solitary pets by limiting their exposure to other dogs. Staying in a house can also help the transition period when you first leave, as your dog will be able to follow a similar rhythm in a similar setting as your own home.
Enriching Your Dog's Boarding Time
The amount of attention your dog receives while boarding is almost entirely dependent on the business in question, whether you choose a kennel or an in-home sitter. Many kennels now feature supplementary obedience courses to keep your dog mentally active and help you get some value out of your pet's stay. They also typically feature large, fenced-in areas for dogs to play, run and explore. Houses are more of a mixed bag, with varying yard sizes and activities offered. Also keep in mind that some in-home pet-sitters have other jobs or errands to run, and your dog may be left alone during the day. Kennels, on the other hand, have staff dedicated to monitoring their charges; check with kennels you are considering to learn if they have staff present throughout the night, as well.
Weighing Security Risks
The strongest factor in favor of traditional kennels is their professionalism. Kennels are designed to house multiple dogs safely and efficiently, and their need for certification and positive reviews to stay in business means that they are held strictly accountable for the dog care they provide. Some kennels even offer webcam services so that you can check on your dog at any time. When boarding your dog in a stranger's home, you can never be certain that it will receive the care it needs, or that the individuals involved are qualified to take care of dogs professionally. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to screen kennels and in-home sitters thoroughly, taking your dog's personality and special needs into account to choose a safe, comfortable and fun home-away-from-home for your pet.