Sitter vs Kennel: Questions to Ask Before Booking Your Pet’s Vacation


Scrolling through seemingly endless photos of vacation homes is now an almost essential part of planning a trip.

But should you go to such great lengths to find accommodation for your pets?

Dr Sasha Herbert of the University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital said that if you are planning to use a boarding service or a pet sitter, it is best to start researching your options as soon as possible.

“These things need to be planned well in advance,” she told Hilary Harper of ABC Radio Melbourne.

Dr Herbert suggested that there were a few questions you should ask yourself before going ahead and booking accommodation for your furry family members.

What animals do you own?

Although less common than catteries and boarding schools, there are facilities that will accommodate pets such as rabbits and birds.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to search, up and down arrows for volume.

Pet Resort opens on the Sunshine Coast especially for poultry(By Megan Kinninment)

If you are considering a pet sitter, you need to make sure that the person you choose is up to the task.

“If you want people to come and take care of your pets, they have to be able to take care of the species you own,” said Dr Herbert.

And if you own a lot of pets, the cost of their boarding can be the deciding factor.

“It might actually be more cost effective to keep them at home and have someone come over and pet them and maybe also do a few things around your house – water your garden, collect your mail,” said Dr. Herbert.

A listener told ABC Radio Melbourne he didn’t think the catteries were worth the cost.

“[I] will never use a cattery again. The cats were locked in a room half the size of my linen closet for a week; it cost me half the cost of my vacation. “

Do your pets have special needs?

If your pet is on medication or needs specific care, Dr Herbert said it might be better to use a kennel or cattery rather than asking a friend or pet sitter.

“A place of embarkation… might know how to cure this particular species and it might work like clockwork.”

A pet sitter, she said, might not be so good at “chatting that tablet rather than finishing it under the couch.”

A dog is having his fur trimmed.
Services such as pet grooming may cost extra.(ABC News: Lauren Waldhuter)

Animals that require grooming may cost more at the boarding school than animals that require less maintenance.

“If you have a long haired cat or dog that needs to be brushed every day, is that going to be extra?” “

Where is your cattery?

If you have a cat, there are a few more things to consider.

While some establishments offer accommodation for dogs and cats, Dr Herbert recommended finding a dedicated cattery.

“If you have cats that live on their own and they are not used to dogs, you might want a separate facility that is just a cattery and not also a dog boarding, as barking can be scary. “

She said it was also best to find a cattery near your home.

kittens in a cat box
Cats don’t always travel as well as dogs.(ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)

“Especially for cats, taking them on a long journey before they get there, they’re going to be really stressed out.

“They don’t go in the car often, so they usually don’t like it.”

And it’s not just cats that don’t like long car journeys, as one listener, Karen d’Eaglemont, discovered.

“My pet mice are very well looked after by my wonderful neighbor every time we go on vacation,” she said.

“A friend looked after them once, but that meant we had to take them home and the mice don’t travel very well and unfortunately one died from the traumatic experience.”

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