Pet sitters vs. kennels – which is best for your pet?

Pet sitters vs. kennels – which is best for your pet?

Pet sitters vs. kennels – which is best for your pet?

Pet sitters vs. kennels – which is best for your pet?

Has an unexpected circumstance left you unable to look after your pet for a short period of time? It could be that you need to go away on a business trip, are called away on a family emergency, or you are simply taking a short vacation. In more severe case, you might be unwell or injured and temporarily unable to give your pet the care that she needs.


Whatever your reason for needing to find someone else to look after your beloved pet, it can be an anxious and stressful time. As a loving and responsible owner, you want to be certain that your pet is in good care, and is as happy as they possibly can be for the time that you are separated.

One of the biggest questions that owners have is whether to choose a pet sitter or kennels to take care of their pet while they are unable to. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, so to help you decide which is best for your pet, we have put together this handy guide.

What is a pet sitter?

The main difference between a pet sitter and kennels is that a pet sitter is someone who comes to care for your pet in your home, while you are away or incapacitated.

Most people who opt for pet sitters do so because they are working long hours or have to go away for just a few days. Pet sitting is also extremely useful for people who find themselves injured or unwell and unable to care for their pet, but still want to enjoy the benefit of their animal’s company.

The main advantages of using a pet sitter over kennels are:

  • Less stress on your pet as they are in an environment that is familiar to them.

  • No trauma or distress from having to travel to a new location.

  • Daily routine can remain more or less the same.

  • No strange animals in the environment, which can be important for pets who are anxious or clingy.

  • Minimal exposure to diseases and illnesses that can be prevalent in kennels.

The exact services that are offered by pet sitters tend to vary, but many will come into your home several times each day and perform tasks such as emptying and refilling food and water dishes, emptying litter trays, providing bathroom breaks for your pet, taking dogs for walks and/or providing playtime for your pet, administering medications and giving your pet the love and attention that they deserve.

What are kennels?

Also referred to as boarding, kennels is the term given to businesses that operate a ‘pet hotel’ of sorts, to cater for your pet’s needs while you are away or incapable of looking after them. Pet kennels have evolved a great deal over the last decade, with an increasing number of boarding businesses moving towards newer and more stimulating living environments for the animals in their care.

However, the exact facilities offered by a kennel can vary, so the most important thing to do when considering pet boarding is to check out the kennel in person. This will give you the opportunity to assess the environment that your pet could be staying in first-hand. You can also ask to see proof of various protocols that are in place, such as standard-operating practises for cleaning or administration of medication.

Cleanliness is one of the most important things that you will need to check for when you consider using a pet kennel. Diseases spread very quickly when a number of pets come in close contact with one another, so any decent kennels will have procedures in place to ensure that

  1. Proper cleanliness protocols are in place and strictly adhered to.

  2. The animals that come into the premises for boarding are up to date with all vaccinations and preventative medications, and are free from illness and disease.

Many kennels are operated by veterinarians. This can be especially useful for owners of animals that have serious or complex medical requirements. However, some owners find that introducing their pet to a new environment filled with new animals is simply too much stress for them to handle.


Choosing whether to use a pet sitter or kennels is a deeply personal choice that will largely depend on the adaptability and temperament of your pet. If you still aren’t sure which is right for your animal, consult with the experienced vets at Madison Animal Care Hospital for recommendations. Call us today at 256-461-7575 to learn more.