Every pet parent has faced this dilemma: pet sitting vs pet boarding, which one should you choose?

It’s a common concern, especially when planning to go away for a while and want the best care for your furry friend. The right choice depends on your pet’s temperament, your personal preferences, and certain practicalities.

Understanding both these options can help you make an informed decision. Let’s dive deeper into the nuances of each.

What is Pet Boarding?

Pet Boarding

Pet boarding is taking your pet to a place where it will stay for the weekend, or however long, is pet boarding. Think of it as a hotel for pets. But what does it entail?

Pet boarding facilities are specially designed environments that cater to pets’ needs. They usually offer individual kennels or rooms for each pet, communal play areas, and a dedicated staff to attend to the animals.

Most modern boarding facilities also offer comfortable bedding, regular playtime, grooming services, and even luxury suites for the more discerning pets.

Costs Involved in Pet Boarding

While boarding can offer top-notch care for your pet, it typically comes at a higher price than pet sitting. Prices vary based on location, facility quality, and the care package you opt for.

On average, dog boarding can range anywhere from $25 to $85 per night. Always inquire about what’s included in the price, as some facilities might charge extra for premium services.

Pros of Pet Boarding

Boarding your pet, especially at a reputable facility, comes with its own set of advantages:

Socialization With Pets and People

Boarding facilities allow your pet to interact and play with other animals, promoting social skills.

Supervised Environment

Your pet is monitored by trained staff, ensuring their safety and well-being.

Monitoring of Food and Medications

Regular feeding and medication schedules are strictly adhered to, so you don’t have to worry about missed doses.

Cons of Pet Boarding

However, boarding isn’t without its challenges:

More Costly

High-quality boarding often comes at a premium, which can add up, especially for longer stays.

Stressful for some Pets

Being in an unfamiliar environment can stress some pets, especially those with anxiety.

Transporting Pets Required

Dropping off and picking up your pet might be a hassle, especially if the facility isn’t nearby.

What is Pet Sitting?

Pet Sitting

The flip side of the debate on pet sitting vs pet boarding is pet sitting. Pet Sitting is when a professional pet sitter comes to your home to care for your pets in their familiar environment. This can include feeding, playtime, walks, and sometimes, overnight stays. It offers a personalized touch, as the sitter can follow your pet’s routine.

The main allure of pet sitting is the comfort it provides your pet by allowing them to stay in a known environment. But, is it right for you and your pet? To decide, let’s consider the financial aspect of it.

Costs Involved in Pet Sitting

Pet sitting costs vary based on your location, the number of pets you have, the duration of the care, and any additional services you might require.

Typically, rates can range from $15 to $50 per visit, with some sitters offering discounts for extended stays. Discussing and finalizing all fees upfront is important to avoid any surprises later. After understanding the costs, weighing the pros and cons can further guide your decision.

Pros of Pet Sitting

When considering dog sitting vs boarding or for any pet, for that matter, there are several benefits to opting for pet sitting:

Less Stressful for Pets

Animals are creatures of habit. Staying in their home reduces the anxiety and stress of being in an unfamiliar environment. They get to sleep in their beds, play with their toys, and stick to their usual routine.

Lower Cost

While boarding facilities charge per day, most pet sitters charge per visit. This can be more cost-effective, especially for shorter trips.

No Transporting of Pets

There’s no need to transport your pet to and from a boarding facility, saving you time and the potential stress of moving your pet.

However, like every coin has two sides, pet sitting has drawbacks.

Cons of Pet Sitting

Before jumping into the cons, it’s worth noting that these might not be deal-breakers, but they are worth considering:

Stranger in Your Home

Letting someone into your private space can be uncomfortable for some. While professional sitters are vetted, it’s natural to be cautious.

Pets Uncomfortable Around Strangers

Some pets, especially cats, might be wary or scared of unknown people. It can take time for them to warm up to the sitter.

Pets Might Escape

There’s always a small risk, especially if your pet needs to become more familiar with the sitter. They might try to dart out the door when the sitter enters or exits.

With this comprehensive overview of pet sitting, you’re better equipped to make an informed decision. Whether leaning towards pet sitting or considering a pet boarding service, prioritize your pet’s comfort and well-being.

Factors To Consider Between Pet Sitting and Pet Boarding

In the dog sitting vs boarding debate, your final decision might hinge on the unique characteristics and needs of your pet:

Illness or Injury

If your pet is unwell or recovering, they might benefit more from the comforts of home with a pet sitter.

Socialization With Other Animals

Active pets or those that enjoy company might prefer the bustling environment of a boarding facility.

Territorial When Left at Home

Some pets are territorial and might act out if a stranger enters their domain.

Cost Differences

Your budget can play a significant role in the decision. Be sure to factor in all costs, not just the base rates.


Choosing between pet sitting and pet boarding is no small decision. It requires considering your pet’s personality, your budget, and the length of your absence. Both options have their merits; the right choice depends on your situation.

Remember, at the end of the day, your pet’s comfort and safety should be paramount. If you have questions or concerns about boarding your pet, please contact us today!

Dr. Erin Downes VMD

Dr. Erin Downes graduated valedictorian from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. She and her husband, Dr. Jay Rowan are the owners of Paoli Vetcare | Main Line Vet & Animal Hospital.