Whether it’s a long weekend, a visit to family members, or a day trip, getting away with the family is a necessary respite from the daily grind of everyday life. However, when you have four-legged family members it can become complicated. And, as much as we’d like our pets to join us for every event, vacation, or visit, it’s not always possible. In many instances, it can be unsafe or unfair to your pet to bring them along, or it may not even be allowed. This is especially true during the Holiday season.

So what can you do for your pet when you aren’t home? You may be worried about them spending too much time alone, not getting adequate exercise, or becoming destructive out of boredom. Luckily there are plenty of options for pet owners. Hiring a pet sitter, or using a trusted boarding facility, can ensure your pet is having just as much fun as you are!

This helpful guide will help you determine which option is best for you.

Pet Sitters


Pet sitters are a great option for pets who do best in their own homes. If you have a cat or dog who’d prefer to stay on their typical schedule, sleep in their bed (or on your bed), don’t do well in prolonged periods outside the home, or don’t do well with other animals, a pet sitter may be the option for you. Hiring a pet sitter allows you to make the schedule for your pet’s needs. Their flexible hours mean they can work with your pet’s typical routine, ensuring they don’t miss a beat in terms of exercise, meals, daily medications, or bedtime.

pet staying at home, Hire A Pet Sitter or Board?: How to Choose Your Pet's Staycation

Depending on what your local pet sitting service offers, you may even be able to request grooming services. Pet sitters also offer uninterrupted personalized attention, which is something your pet may not always get in a boarding facility. They can even grab your mail for you!


Not all pet sitting services are created equally. You’ll need to do your research when choosing the company you plan to trust with the care of your four-legged family members. Here’s a great guide to finding the right sitter for you! Be aware: if you are trying to book a pet sitter during a busy time of year, it may be hard to secure your top options.

dog waiting at door, Hire A Pet Sitter or Board?: How to Choose Your Pet's Staycation

If your pet gets anxious when strangers enter the house, a pet sitter might not be the option for you. Additionally, although you can pay a pet sitter to remain at your home at all hours and even spend the night, it can get expensive. Your pet will probably spend at least some time home alone under normal circumstances, and there is no way to predict how they may react. Any property destroyed by anxious pets is not covered by pet sitters.    



Boarding your pet can seem like a scary proposition, but there are several reasons why it’s safe and even beneficial for your four-legged family member. When you board your pet, you guarantee they will have someone attending to them and that they’ll never be spending time alone. If you have a dog, boarding means they will get plenty of exercise and socialization with other pets, which can be extremely beneficial if they are a fan! In many cases, you can even request one-on-one training from certified dog trainers to brush up on obedience commands or even learn some new ones.

dogs at kennel, Hire A Pet Sitter or Board?: How to Choose Your Pet's Staycation

Cat boarding offers your feline family member with personalized attention and playtime. If your local kennel offers it, it may also present the opportunity for kitty socialization. When you board your pet, you can also be sure they will be cared for promptly in the case of a medical emergency. Also, much like sitters, a kennel can administer any medications your pet needs.

Here’s a guide to choosing the right kennel.


If your pet doesn’t do well outside of your home or gets anxious around new people or animals, then boarding may not be the best option. While you can request your pet to be isolated, they may still have trouble adjusting to new people and a new surrounding; especially when it’s for a prolonged period. Even though your pet’s boarding attendants have the best intentions, it’s still possible your pet eats the wrong food or has a negative interaction with another animal, potentially leading to injury, allergic reaction, or illness.

sad dog, Hire A Pet Sitter or Board?: How to Choose Your Pet's Staycation


The decision to board your pet or hire a sitter is dependent on your pet’s personality and individual needs. Both options have their pros and cons and are contingent upon the services available in your area. Ultimately, you should do what’s best for your pet, and doing the proper research will ensure your pet has a positive experience while you are away.