Vacations are meant to be relaxing, but if you’re worried about your furry family member back home it can be anything but stress-free. Finding reliable pet pitting options can be challenging for military families. We move often and need to start from scratch building our pet care support teams.
3 Pet Sitting Options for Military Families to Consider for Their Summer Vacations
Whether you’re headed away for a long weekend or a few weeks to visit your parents in Montana, here are three pet sitting options for you to think about no matter where you are stationed with the military.
Pet Boarding Facilities
Some call them kennels (we’ll use this name) or pet hotels, but generally, these are places where multiple animals are being cared for at the same time.
Kennels are businesses that are typically owned and/or operated by individuals that have a background in pet care. They often offer complimentary services, like grooming, training or doggie daycare too. Some are operated by a veterinary clinic.
Each animal will have their own separate living area or kennel, where they will spend their days and nights. Many kennels include daily exercise in their basic package or offer extra daycare type interaction for an additional cost.
Kennels often offer trial daycare in order to ensure their facility is a good fit for your pet. They also require current vet records with evidence of standard vaccinations.
- Kennels are licensed businesses and have to follow laws regarding cleanliness or licensing for pet care services.
- Your animal will get professional level care in a dedicated facility.
- Your pet has the option for social interaction with other animals or with humans.
- You can add on other services during your pet’s stay.
- Staff is trained on basic animal care and health issues.
- There will be multiple pets in the kennel at once.
- More than one species of animal might be boarded.
- You will not be able to predict how your pet interacts with the other animals during the exercise or socializing portions of the day.
- Your animal will be in a kennel, which might be different than their traditional home environment.
- There may be a wait time.
- Fees are non-negotiable and might add up quickly depending on your pet’s needs.
Private Pet Sitters
Another option is to work with a private individual pet sitter. This service is typically operated out of a person’s home and may or may not be licensed.
Pet sitting service platforms, like Rover, help connect pet sitters with clients. They off protections and guarantees to both their customers and their service providers.
Another option is to find an individual on your own, through social media or advertisements. You might even connect in-person by using a friend or neighbor!
Private pet sitters typically care for the pet in their home. Your pet is treated as a member of their family. Often pet sitters will watch one pet at a time or only the pets from one family at a time. If they do have their own animals, or might be watching another pet, private pet sitters could offer to arrange an initial meet-up to make sure everyone gets along.
- Your pet(s) might be the only one at the home.
- Your pet will be treated as a member of the family and be in a home environment.
- Rates are often flexible, but are usually all-inclusive (treats, walks, socialization, etc.)
- You know exactly who will be caring for your pet.
- Pet sitters might not have extensive training or experience in pet care. They might simply like pets!
- Private pet sitters may or may not be officially licensed to operate this business in this location.
- No other services (grooming, training) will be offered.
- The pet sitter may or may not have training for pet health emergencies.
Pet + House Sitting
Some pets do best in their own homes. Having someone come directly to your pet can be a great option for pets that need minimal care, like fish, independent pets, like cats or reptiles, or elderly animals.
When you have a pet sitter come directly to your home, they might also water your plants, take in the mail and make your home look “lived in.”
There are different options for this type of in-home service.
- Full care: someone stays in your home the entire time you’re away.
- Occasional care: someone drops by your home several times throughout the day to provide walks, playtime, food and water.
- Dog walking: someone comes at pre-arranged specific times to take your dog for a walk or to a dog park; this is not a good option for multi-day trips, but might work for a long day trip.
- Your pet is in a familiar setting with all their creature comforts.
- Your home has human activity, which could be a deterrent for burglars.
- Your pet has regular human interaction and exercise on their typical schedule.
- You need to provide a key to the pet sitter.
- The sitter has access to your home and possessions.
How to Select Your Pet Sitting Option
Before you make a final decision, it is good to explore all options to find the best fit for your pet, your budget and your own personality.
As you consider your options, it’s important that you ask questions pertaining to your pet and situation.
Consider asking all pet sitters and kennels:
- What is your experience with caring for pets? Do you have references?
- How will my pet interact with other animals?
- How often will my pet go for walks/be let out of his kennel?
- What is your pet security plan? Does your yard/facility have a fence? Will you let my pet off-leash?
- What will my pet’s day be like when she stays with you?
- What records and health certificates does my pet need in order to work with you?
For private pet sitters, consider asking:
- How many other pets will be in your home during my pet’s stay?
- Where will my pet be sleeping?
- Will you be taking my pet off your property? If so, could you please explain when and where?
For in-home sitters, you need to ask:
- What measures are in place to protect my possessions and security?
- Do you/your employees have current background checks that I can review?
No matter what, do your due diligence before finalizing a pet sitter or kennel. It’s important that you like and trust the folks who will be caring for your dog or cat while you are away.