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JrFFKacy
01-29-2011, 06:43 AM
I'm thinking about writing an article about pet boarding and am doing a bit of a survey/discussion on it with different people.

Wondering if anyone on here has ever boarded their dog (or cat, or caged pet) and would like to share?

What attracted you to your current/or past pet boarder?

Do you prefer in your home boarding (where your sitter visits your home to take care of your pet), in the sitter's home boarding, or a kennel? Why?

What are the most important things you consider when choosing a sitter?

If you've ever left/fired a sitter, why?

Do you like to provide your pet's food, or have the sitter provide it?

Do you allow your pet to be fed treats?

Do you allow your dog to be with other dogs (or cat with other cats), or do you want them kept separate?

How do you feel about crates?

Anything else you want to share?

(I'd better be honest and mention that I am a pet sitter, so your responses might also help me do a better job of that too!)

Thanks in advance!

Ol' Fashioned Girl
01-29-2011, 06:58 AM
I've used a kennel in the past - far distant past - when I had my schnauzers. I used a kennel that specialized in schnauzers, bred and showed them, and were recommended by people whose opinions I trusted. I inspected the place personally, even so, and checked out the indoor/outdoor runs (where the dogs were separated unless they came in together like my two), had free access to indoors and outdoors, and individual play time every day. We only left them for a weeks vacation, but it was extremely important to both of us that the girls were safe and well cared for.

Today, with three cats and a dog, I'm less inclined to board. One: cost. Two: two of the cats simply don't do well when they're uprooted and put into carriers and taken outside their usual stomping grounds. If we were to leave for more than a day/night situation now, I'd bring in a sitter - if I could find one that's bonded and insured and recommended by people I trust. I wouldn't just pick one out of the paper, in other words. If I'm going to give someone the responsibility of caring for my children, I want to know they'll do the job right and not ignore them while they strip my home of our personal belongings. I'd also want to be sure the sitter was an animal lover and not someone just out for an 'easy' buck. I'd check 'em out with as much intensity as I'd check out anyone who has access to any other member of my family.

In a sitter situation, I'd want him to feed them the food I provided, and the treats, too... no extraneous stuff to upset the apple cart. :) I also wouldn't want other animals brought in.

Crates... we have one for each animal, but we only use them in emergency situations - like loading them up for a quick trip to the safe room during a tornado warning. The cat crates are pretty much ignored by the cats 99% of the time, but the dog sometimes goes to her crate and snoozes away from the rest of us.

Hope that helps!

Collectonian
01-29-2011, 07:11 AM
I have three dogs, 1 cat, currently. When I travel, I leave the cat at home as she hates to be boarded and is fine on her own for up to a week or two. I always board the dogs. I board my dogs at my vet, whom I've know for almost 10 years and who is an awesome vet. I strongly prefer boarding at a kennel or my vets because I cannot stand the thought of some stranger in my house when I'm not there. I do not board at someone else's home because it too expensive and I don't want to leave my dogs with unknown people. My vet I know and I trust.

For me, the most important things to consider are trustworthiness, competency, and facilities. My vet is, thus far, the only boarding facility I've ever used as I did not have pets of my own before I moved to Texas. I always provide my dogs' food when I board them, as I'm very particular about their food and want to ensure they continue eating the one I picked (I've literally spent an hour staring at different pet foods reading the ingredient lists and comparing). I don't mind them getting treats, as long as it isn't excessive. I have all of the dogs crated separately. My oldest is too small to share a kennel and the other two enjoy wrestling and getting into mock fights too much.

I think crates are a wonderful thing and all of my animals (even the cat) is crate trained. My dogs are very used to crates, as they are crated while I'm at work and my youngest sleeps in a crate at night. She also frequently will go in it and wait when I shower/bathe or go outside. They all know that their crates are their "safe" zones, where they can be left alone if desired. I would not board at any facility that did not crate or cage the animals in a secure fashion.

Rowan
01-29-2011, 05:57 PM
I don't use "pet sitters" but will answer anyway. I do have friends who rely on kennels (big dogs) though. :) ETA: if forced to use a "kennel" type situation, I'd use my vet. As above poster mentioned, you have a degree of trust with your vet and the staff, etc.


I'm thinking about writing an article about pet boarding and am doing a bit of a survey/discussion on it with different people.

Wondering if anyone on here has ever boarded their dog (or cat, or caged pet) and would like to share?

What attracted you to your current/or past pet boarder? Related to me

Do you prefer in your home boarding (where your sitter visits your home to take care of your pet), in the sitter's home boarding, or a kennel? Why? Home boarding, because I trust no one. And by that I mean a relative's home.

What are the most important things you consider when choosing a sitter? Comprehensive background investigation (if I ever went the actual boarding route). My dogs are family and I won't trust them to just anyone. I would like to see the same standards for dog caretakers as there are in place for childcare providers. I'm not willing to entrust my dog to a person who may or may not have been cited for animal neglect/abuse in the past. ;)

If you've ever left/fired a sitter, why? N/A

Do you like to provide your pet's food, or have the sitter provide it? Always provide food. My dogs are on a homecooked diet! But then so are the other dogs in the family so it's easy enough. ;)

Do you allow your pet to be fed treats? Specific treats, yes. I'm very particular.

Do you allow your dog to be with other dogs (or cat with other cats), or do you want them kept separate? Only dogs they know (and they know all the family dogs) :tongue

How do you feel about crates? I only use them for early stages of housetraining.

Anything else you want to share? I'm speaking as someone with a LE background so please take my comments with a grain of salt. I don't think owners do enough research when it comes to people caring for their pet companions. You walk into a situation blind and you never know what you're going to get.

(I'd better be honest and mention that I am a pet sitter, so your responses might also help me do a better job of that too!) Can't fault you for that! :)

Thanks in advance!

LBlankenship
01-29-2011, 06:20 PM
We have 2 cats and 1 dog, for the record

What attracted you to your current/or past pet boarder?

For the dog, we use a doggie daycare who also does overnight stays. She'd been there before and we liked them. The place is also well liked by other owners at our dog park.

Do you prefer in your home boarding (where your sitter visits your home to take care of your pet), in the sitter's home boarding, or a kennel? Why?

The cats stay at home with a pet sitter -- cats are homebodies, they don't want to get shuffled off to a strange place for a few days.

We prefer the daycare for our dog because she was a shelter rescue and the few times we've put her into a cage (or even shown her a cage) she was obviously upset about it.

What are the most important things you consider when choosing a sitter?

For us, flexibility about the cat food (we are raw feeders) and the amount of time spent per visit. This is important with the dog too, she's raw fed.

If you've ever left/fired a sitter, why?

Have not had to. When our sitter left a company to start her own, we went with her.

Do you like to provide your pet's food, or have the sitter provide it?

I always provide the food, because it's raw meat. It's important to me.

Do you allow your pet to be fed treats?

My pets aren't really into treats actually. Maybe because what's in their dish is better. ;) But I wouldn't mind a few treats.

Do you allow your dog to be with other dogs (or cat with other cats), or do you want them kept separate?

The dog ought to be with other dogs, actually. Quickly mixing cats who are strangers is a bad idea -- I've been doing cat rescue for a few years now, so I know how bad that can get.

How do you feel about crates?

If the animal doesn't mind, I don't mind. But it shouldn't be a full-time thing.

Anything else you want to share?

No, but feel free to ask more questions!

(I'd better be honest and mention that I am a pet sitter, so your responses might also help me do a better job of that too!)

Shakesbear
01-29-2011, 07:36 PM
Used a pet sitter once and never again! He was recommended my a friend. My cat was ill when I got home, sitting in the garden shaking. The food in his bowl had maggots in it. Cat went straight to the vet and was on medication for a week. Pet sitter was not paid - told him to sue me. He didn't.

I used to use a cattery when I lived in London - it was owned by the vet I took the cats too. They always came back happy and healthy.

When I moved out of London my cat went into a cattery about six miles from my new home. I took his food with and asked if they would put his travelling basket in his run, which they did. The basket had a large pillow in it which he loved to snuggle on. He'd been sleeping on it for weeks at home and was used to it. I warned them that he sulked. He sulked for the first three days he was there and would not eat. They called the vet out. They eventually got him to eat and to play with some of his toys that I'd put in the basket. He was not happy when he was there - it was him though and not the people at the cattery. He had very obviously been cared for - they had brushed him as I had asked them to do. I still get a lump in my throat when I think about going to pick him up. He started to purr very loudly and snuggled up to me. He was just pleased to see me, as I was him. They were very up front and honest about his sulking and they showed me the notes the vet had left. I would have used them again but the opportunity never arose. I saw some of the other cats that were there playing in their runs or just snoozing. They all looked happy and well fed.

I should have said that when I booked him in I asked if it would be alright if I took his food along because he was a fussy eater. They said it would be OK and asked me to put his name on the food. They also said I would not get a discount!

veinglory
01-29-2011, 07:36 PM
I have used kennels and people who board in their homes. I prefer the latter but I don't find them directly. I use a service that finds sittings and does home checks and criminal background checks, takes references etc. I feel pretty safe with anyone they hire. I use 3 different sitters depending on availability and my dogs just loves them all. I provide food for him mainly as a courtesy and i always bring them a little gift back from my trip. May absolute favorite sitter sometimes send digital photos of my dogs while I am away :)

JrFFKacy
01-29-2011, 08:05 PM
Shakesbear (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=24791) that is terrible. I always feel bad when I hear about sitters who obviously only care about the money, not the pet.

I've realized from talking to different people that crates are a love/hate thing. For people and dogs...though dogs that are used to them like their crates. I've heard them compared to the dens wild dogs have. My dogs are in crates at night.

I get owners to provide their own food, but do sometimes give them a bit of my dog food either because the boarder ran out (a couple of times I've had an owner miscalculate how much the dog needed, or have their flight cancelled and been stuck somewhere for a few days), or because the dog is really picky and refuses to eat its food. I always ask if a dog has allergies, but sometimes I find that a handful of 'someone else's food' gets the dog excited about eating.

I have a lot of repeat clients, so I know most of the dogs I board, and they know me, so it works out pretty well.

With a few exceptions, I don't mix dogs that are from different homes. I also will not take a dog that cannot be crated. The reasons for this are that the first dog I boarded (a rescue with anxiety issues) nearly killed my mother's dog because it bonded to me and thought the other dog was a threat (my mother's dog wasn't acting threatening at all and they'd been together for a full day before this happened).

The crate policy came after an extremely nice Labrador cross got upset in a thunderstorm, broke out of the part of the house he was supposed to be in and killed most of my guinea pigs (I was breeding them for show at the time).

When I chose the vet for my dogs, I was shopping around for the best price on basic puppy shots (I have a vet for our livestock, and they do small animals, but they're very expensive, so I was looking for somewhere cheaper for my puppy's first vaccinations). I visited the most local clinic to get a quote and not only did they end up being the lowest, I just really liked the vet and the staff. Both my pups ended up going there.

Though I will admit, it was eye-opening to drop my female pup off to be spayed because I have never left my dogs overnight with anyone (the rare occasion we go away they stay at the farm with whoever is taking care of the cows). I felt totally comfortable with the clinic, but it was still weird to hand over the leash.

Shakesbear
01-29-2011, 09:15 PM
JrFFKacy you should not feel bad because other sitters are not good at their jobs. The guy who seriously let my cat down was, it turned out, something of a louse. He was arrested six months after looking after my cat and was eventually sent to prison. In retrospect I should not have asked the guy - he visited my home a couple of times and the cat would not go near him. From the cat's point of view I made a bad choice. I should have heeded the cat's aversion.

Karen Junker
01-29-2011, 11:29 PM
I do dog rescue, so I've had dozens (if not hundreds -- I've lost count) of dogs in my home. I am a believer that a crate is a safe haven for a dog and I use them for housetraining and also for when I will be away for a few hours -- it saves my nerves when I don't come back to holes in my leather sofa. My foster dogs sleep in their crates, too.

I use our vet for boarding. I have used another boarding facility, but our vet is heated and the techs are right in the same room as the dogs, so they get a lot of company. I have also used a petsitter, but I like the dogs to have more walks per day and that happens at our vet more than I can afford to pay someone to come out to our house and provide.

veinglory
01-30-2011, 02:48 AM
My dog doesn't crate, so a sitter who required that would not work for me at all.

heyjude
01-30-2011, 03:23 AM
We boarded our dog once at a very fancy boarding place. She came home with some kind of dog flu. :(

Now we have someone come in and stay. Our animals are so elderly and need so much care--I'd never take them out of the house. We screen the people thoroughly and they have to agree to not alter the animals' routine at all. We've had incredible success this way. It's expensive, but worth it for us.

Carlene
01-30-2011, 03:30 AM
I boarded my two dogs in a kennel recommended by the vet when we lived in New England. When we got home after a weej, one dog had chemical burns on his fore legs and tongue (he was licking the burns, of course), pneumonia and a ruptured ACL! We rushed the dog to Angel Memorial Hospital in Boston, spent a fortune which I would do again in a heart beat and finally got him well but he didn't live long after that. I think the stress was too much for him. Needless to say, we sued the kennel and put them out of business. Now if I HAVE to board the dogs, they go to the vet.

Don't even get me started on flying with a dog in the cargo hold!!!!!

Carlene

jeseymour
01-30-2011, 06:25 AM
I'm thinking about writing an article about pet boarding and am doing a bit of a survey/discussion on it with different people.

Wondering if anyone on here has ever boarded their dog (or cat, or caged pet) and would like to share?

What attracted you to your current/or past pet boarder?

We board our dogs with the greyhound rescue that our greyhound came from.

Do you prefer in your home boarding (where your sitter visits your home to take care of your pet), in the sitter's home boarding, or a kennel? Why?

With our dogs we don't have a choice. We have a very difficult dog who requires special handling.

What are the most important things you consider when choosing a sitter?

care

If you've ever left/fired a sitter, why?

We tried another kennel, but the dogs weren't as happy.

Do you like to provide your pet's food, or have the sitter provide it?

We provide our own food to prevent tummy upsets.

Do you allow your pet to be fed treats?

Yes

Do you allow your dog to be with other dogs (or cat with other cats), or do you want them kept separate?

Our two are turned out together. The greyhound rescue keeps them crated at all times except when turned out.

How do you feel about crates?

No problem. Ours are crated at night at home.

Anything else you want to share?

We do use a pet sitter for our horses. That's a whole nother kettle of fish!

(I'd better be honest and mention that I am a pet sitter, so your responses might also help me do a better job of that too!)

Thanks in advance!

Hope this helps!

ajkjd01
01-30-2011, 07:08 AM
I have boarded my cat exactly once...when I could not take her to my parents and the exterminator was coming that day. She was there during the day while I was at work, and I returned to the kennel to get her to find that she had completely flipped out. The kennel employees told me that she was hissing and spitting at everyone and they could not get her out of the kennel. When I went after her, she leapt into my arms and shook like a leaf, crying and whining and dug her claws into the lapel of my suit jacket to make sure I couldn't let her go. She'd been there eight hours.

The kennel operators actually acted like they were traumatized from her level of freak-out; they said they'd never had a cat go bug nuts like that on them. I saw the area she was in....there was only one other animal there, and it was a small dog. She actually does better with dogs than with other cats, so it wasn't that. And I'd gotten three references before I'd taken her to the kennel.

It's almost like she thought I'd abandoned her.

So, no, I don't board her. I generally either take her to my parents or get a friend to come stay with her while I go somewhere. She's happier at home. And I lived with my parents for a while with her as I switched jobs and found a house to buy, so she is comfortable there, as if it's a second home.

And I would absolutely provide her food and/or treats with strict instructions. She's a fourteen pound cat with severe food allergies.

Devil Ledbetter
01-30-2011, 07:39 AM
We don't board our dog at a kennel. Twice a week he goes to a "dog daycare" center where the dogs are handled as a friendly pack. It's very well run, clean, friendly and happy. He loves it there. When we need him boarded, he goes there and is part of the daycare pack during the days, but spends the night.

We've done this several times and he loves the place and has never once come back sick or shaken up.

kdbeaar
01-30-2011, 07:45 AM
I'm thinking about writing an article about pet boarding and am doing a bit of a survey/discussion on it with different people.

Wondering if anyone on here has ever boarded their dog (or cat, or caged pet) and would like to share?

What attracted you to your current/or past pet boarder? I also have greyhounds, and the kennel was recommended by other greyhound owners.

Do you prefer in your home boarding (where your sitter visits your home to take care of your pet), in the sitter's home boarding, or a kennel? Why? I'm a bit concerned about the amount of time a sitter would actually spend in my house, so I prefer a kennel.

What are the most important things you consider when choosing a sitter?

If you've ever left/fired a sitter, why?

Do you like to provide your pet's food, or have the sitter provide it? I bring their food to the kennel to avoid upset stomachs.

Do you allow your pet to be fed treats? Yes. Table food too.

Do you allow your dog to be with other dogs (or cat with other cats), or do you want them kept separate? Separate.

How do you feel about crates? Only for my terrier. One of my greys spent six and a half years in a crate (racetrack then a vet's office) and gnawed his teeth down to nubs. The crates they'd need are too big for my house anyway.

Anything else you want to share? The woman who owns the kennel where they stay has been breeding and showing Dobes for over 30 years. She is incredibly dog knowledgeable...there isn't anything about dogs she doesn't know. That's why I leave them there, even though it takes the better part of an hour to get there.

(I'd better be honest and mention that I am a pet sitter, so your responses might also help me do a better job of that too!)

Thanks in advance!

Good luck with your article--hope this helps.

Shadow_Ferret
01-30-2011, 07:51 AM
We boarded our dog once. And only once. We were gone less then a week, when we got back, he didn't recognize us and just ran past us trying to get outside. He seemed to have been terrorized by the experience. It was weeks before he seemed to settle down. He was scared of even going outside.

Now we have my mom come over to watch him if we go anywhere.