Checkout Lane: Kennels and pet-sitters each have advantages
Determining what to do with your dog or cat while you're out of town can be one of the more stressful parts of pet ownership. But finding the right service to watch your pet is relatively easy once you determine the kind of service you need - a pet sitter or a kennel.
To find the answer, one must consider a pet's health and personality.
Wendy Oleksiak, who co-owns with her husband kennels in Cohasset and Duxbury, Mass., said a dog's health is a primary factor in whether the dog will benefit from a kennel's services.
“We can deal with the basics - if a dog needs his hips lifted but then can go on its own,” Oleksiak said. “But true mobility issues are tough to deal with in the kennel setting. It can be done, but it's tough.”
She said some older dogs, particularly those with severe mobility issues, would be better served by a pet sitter. But most others, she said, do better in a kennel.
Tonia Evans, owner of The Kitty's Corner, a Whitman, Mass.-based pet-sitting and cat-boarding business, said an animal's personality is also an important factor in choosing between a sitter and a kennel.
Evans said unlike their more active canine counterparts, cats are generally less lonely, and thus are more apt to do well in a house alone.
But it all depends on the particular animal.
“I would definitely say it could go either way - some cats get really lonely and some dogs get really lonely,” Evans said. “There are two types of dogs like there are two types of cats: Dogs that love people and dogs that are fine by themselves.”
Since they're staffed throughout the day and many offer opportunities for interaction with other pets, kennels are better suited for animals that tend to get lonely, Evans said.
The costs associated with kennels and sitters are similar, so it's best to let your dog or cat be your guide.
A.J. Bauer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Choosing a kennel
Some things to consider before picking a kennel:
- Have you taken a full tour of the facility and has it met your approval?
- Does the place smell OK?
- Are the dog beds raised off the floor?
- Is there good air circulation?
- Is the play area made of asphalt? If so, it could hurt your dog's feet.
- Have you checked the kennel's references?
Choosing a sitter
Some things to consider before picking a sitter:
- Are they fully bonded and insured?
- Have you checked their references?
- Are you comfortable with the person interacting with your pet?
- Can they accommodate any special diet or exercise regimen you may need?
- Have they undergone a criminal background check?
- Do they have relevant training?
Source: Fetch! Pet Care, www.FetchPetCare.com.
Sources: Wendy Oleksiak, co-owner of Duxbury Kennel and Cohasett Kennel, and Brian Morse, owner of Brian's Kennels & Grooming in Quincy, Mass.