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Dog Boarding Facilities vs Homesitters vs Kennels? All the Pros and Cons

Petsitter Petting a Dog in a Kennel
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Dogs have become part of our homes and our everyday lives. Leaving them in the care of someone unknown can make us feel uneasy and anxious.

There are many options to consider when you have to travel without your dog. You could put them in a pet boarding facility, in a kennel or get a house sitter. But which one of these three options really are the best? How do they compare to each other and which one should you opt for?

When you go onto the internet you will find numerous pet-care services. Whether it’s someone who volunteers to come in once a day and give your dog a quick pet and food or a service that can keep your dog on their premises. The most important part of leaving your dog in someone else’s care is by doing your research.

In this article, I want to weigh the pros and cons of a pet boarding facility, kennels vs a homesitter. Which ones are better for our pets.

Petsitter Petting a Dog in a Kennel


Kennels are structures, usually outside, in which dogs are kept while their owners are away. Kennels are usually made from strong wire and are connected to other enclosures where other dogs are being held. Kennels have gates that are locked and only opened when dogs can go outside.

Inside the kennel, you will find bedding and a bowl of water and food. Even though some kennels have had a bad rap over the years, it still remains one of the most common places to keep your dogs in for a holiday.

Pros of Kennels

COSTS – Kennels are the cheaper boarding option when looking for an overnight home. Being cost-effective will allow you to leave your pet in the care of someone else for a longer period of time.

STAFF – If you are lucky enough to find Kennels with really caring staff, they will make sure that they spot any changes in behavior or medical condition. Even though some Kennels staff aren’t licensed to treat medical ailments in dogs, they are experienced in identifying symptoms of common illnesses.

SAFETY – You can be rest assured that your dog will be safe while staying in Kennels. As most Kennels are in secure areas with fencing, your dog won’t be able to escape.

Cons of Kennels

CAPACITY – Usually Kennels hosts many dogs at a time. Some Kennels even have more than 50 dogs on the property during busy holiday seasons.

SOCIALIZING – It might occur that your dog won’t get along with the other dogs in the Kennels. If some dogs show aggressive behavior, the Kennels staff won’t let them out to exercise with the other dogs.
Having a chaotic atmosphere with many dogs around can cause anxiety and stress within your own dog.

NO FREEDOM – Kennels follow a strict routine, and even though your dog also has its own routine at home it may differ to the one at the Kennels. Dogs usually have to urinate within their enclosure if they haven’t done so during ‘outdoor’-time.

GROOMING – Some Kennels don’t offer grooming as part of their services.

OUTDOORS – Most Kennels are outside away from the staff’s quarters. During holiday seasons when there are loads of fireworks your dog could become distressed or anxious.

CONTAGIOUS ILLNESSES – I’ve heard too many horror stories of people leaving their dogs in Kennels with the dog returning with an illness caught from another dog.

large and small dogs in a pet boarding facility

Pet Boarding Facility

Pet Boarding Facilities executes the same principals as that of a kennel with the exception of providing extra services. Pet Boarding facilities have the main goal of providing your pet the feeling of home.

Pros of Pet Boarding facilities

INTERACTION – Pet Boarding facilities pride themselves in interacting with dogs on a more personal level. They make a point of petting them and speaking to them. Interaction with humans will enhance your dog’s mood.

EXERCISE AND KEEPING ACTIVE – Boarding facilities have bigger spaces available than most kennels. Dogs can play around with other dogs and staff members in equipped recreational areas. Going for regular walks and runs are healthy for a dog’s well-being and staff makes sure that they take dogs for regular walks.

SPECIAL CARE – If you have a senior dog that needs specific medication or attention the qualified staff takes your dog’s needs seriously. Just make sure you inform staff members about your pet’s special requirements.

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY – Most dog boarding facilities make it a priority to tend to each dog’s personal needs, rather than having hundreds of dogs that they aren’t equipped for. It’s about quality service and providing a comfortable environment for your dog while you are away.

Cons of Pet Boarding facilities

COSTS – For all the extra services like grooming, quality enclosures and food you will pay more for your dog’s boarding than at kennels.

ADAPTABILITY – Some dogs struggle to adapt to a new environment. There are many new and different smells and sounds and this may cause distress.

Beautiful couple housesitting a dog


A great option for owners who are going away for longer than a week is to get a housesitter, or two. Housesitters can be a trusted neighbor or a hired company. There is an option of letting your housesitter stay in your home while you’re away.

Pros of Housesitters

HOMEY SOUNDS – Not a very obvious reason but pets do get accustomed to the sound we make while we’re home. When there’s no chatter in the background or footsteps on the floor our dogs can become extremely lonely. Having someone live in your home while your away gives your dog the comfort of presence.

SAFETY – In your absence, your house can become a safety hazard as pets can start ripping things apart and tipping things over. Weather conditions can also upset your pet. Having someone there at night during a thunderstorm will keep your pet feeling safe and calm.

ACCESSIBILITY – Housesitters have access to your dog’s bowl, food, bed, and leash. It’s easier to care for a dog when all of their toys and special equipment is close by.

Cons of Housesitters

AVAILABILITY – You might not find reliable housesitters during the time of your holiday. There are companies that provide housesitting services.

After weighing the pros and cons it is clear that Pet Boarding Facilities or trusted Homesitters are the better options. No matter which one of the three you choose, it’s important that you go check out the facility and ask for recommendations before leaving your pet with others.

Knowing the staff you leave your pet with has its advantages. Whether it’s something physical or emotional, caring staff members will be on board to help your pet in any bad situation.

If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your furry friend behind while you go on holiday, you could always follow my smart tips on traveling with your dog.

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