There are now many more options than just the traditional dog kennel, but it’s important to know what’s best for your dog, as there are pros and cons to each dog boarding option.
Here are the most common dog boarding options in Vancouver, and elsewhere, and what you can expect from each one:
- The Traditional Dog Kennel: This has become a less popular option in recent years, as dog owners have become increasingly worried about the possibility of poor hygiene and the threat of transmittable diseases. Also, some kennels keep dogs cooped up in cages or small fenced-in areas when they become too busy or overcrowded, which has created the need for an alternative, or a place where pooches can roam free with no cage in sight. This leads us to our next option…
- The Dog Resort: This is a great option if your dog is extremely social and calm when presented with exciting and busy environments. As dogs of many sizes and temperaments are allowed to roam free in dog resorts, your dog has to be a real pro at navigating this type of scenario. This is not the best option for nervous or aggressive dogs, or dogs with special health or physical concerns. Dog resorts often offer extra perks such as professional dog grooming and massage. For some dogs, the dog resort can be a wonderful place to relax and socialize while you’re away. But for other dogs, the dog resort can present a great deal of stress and over-stimulation. It comes down to knowing your dog’s unique disposition.
- The Trusted Friend or Family Member Who Drops By: This is a great option if your friend or family member knows your dog really well and is able to spend a great deal of time at your home, otherwise it’s not one of the best options. Your friend or family member may not be the most attuned to specific dog care needs, and in all likelihood they have other commitments that take away from time spent with your dog. Having a friend or family member check up on your dog a few times a week is probably not the ideal level of care. This might be the cheapest option, as most friends and family will not even think of charging you for this service, but your dog will likely not get the attention he or she deserves.
- The Home of a Qualified Pet Sitter: This is usually one of the preferred options for many dog owners, as their dog gets lots of one-on-one attention from a pet sitter who is most often (and should be!) a licensed pet caregiver and trained in canine first aid. Most pet sitters or companies offering this specialized dog boarding option also offer a shuttle service, so you don’t have to worry about transporting your dog to and from the pet sitter’s home. As with the first two options (the dog kennel and the dog resort), this option still presents your dog with a new environment, yet the level of disruption will be much less, especially if your dog has stayed with this pet sitter on previous occasions, and is familiar with the surroundings. Pet sitters often own pets of their own, and sometimes they’ll be pet sitting an additional dog or two while your dog is staying in their home. Keep this in mind when you select your pet sitter.
- The Qualified Pet Sitter Bunks at Your Place: If you don’t mind having someone outside of your family or close group of friends staying at your place, this is often the very best option for your dog. Your dog doesn’t have to adjust to new surroundings or routines, and can remain in his or her own comfortable environment. This is especially important for dogs who tend to be anxious or experience separation anxiety, and for dogs who have special health concerns.
Since a couple of these options are quite disruptive to your dog’s routine, experts agree that the best option, in regards to your dog’s health and happiness, is to have a trained pet sitter stay in your home for the extent of your time away. That said, the decision is not always a simple one, and will largely depend on your dog’s temperament, the amount of money you are willing or able to spend, and the research you do into your various dog boarding options.