Why Friends & Family May be the Worst Option for Boarding Your Pet | When it comes time for that long-overdue week at the beach or that exhausting 3-day business conference across the country, what do you do with your pet? Many pet owners save money by sending their beloved cats and dogs to “grandma’s house” or to a neighbor, sibling, or other friend or family member.
Of course this is the best option if the family knows your pet and the pet is used to their home and lifestyle. But if the family isn’t especially close to you and your animal, there are a few reasons to consider boarding instead of the “friends and family” route. Here are a few things to think about before packing Fluffy and Fido up and sending them to your sister’s best friend’s hairdresser’s little cousin’s house.
The plan is simple. Go. Play. Have fun. Come home. The end.
In reality, any number of things can (and, unfortunately, often do) happen when your pet is at a friend or family member’s home. What if someone comes to their home that your dog feels is a threat, and your dog bites? What if they escape the backyard or slip the leash? What if your dog chews up their $800 drapes or mistakes their cat for an intruding vermin?
Elderly neighbors, friends with rowdy, rambunctious kids, and unexpected animals roaming the neighborhood — these are just a few instances in which your pet could unwillingly cause injury or damage. Would you be liable? Would your trusted pet sitter be liable? Usually, it’s best not to put your friends and family in these situations when a viable pet boarding option is available.
Ideally, the visit will go splendidly. Your trusted friend won’t have a work crisis or family emergency that suddenly captures all their time and attention. But what would they do if they were keeping your pet and their mom had to go to the hospital, or work demanded that they stay and work overtime?
When you board your pet, they have a full staff available, so that if someone gets the flu or their child falls off a bicycle and has to go to the ER, someone else is available to be there for your pet. With friends and family, these crisis can cause serious issues for you, your friend, and your precious pet.
Chemistry is everything. A well-socialized dog usually adjusts quickly to new people and animals, but rescue dogs or those who isn’t exposed much to new situations don’t always blend well with other family members or household pets. For example, your dog may adore your coworker, but when she gets him home, he may have a personality clash with her husband or another animal in the home.
On holidays, during the summertime, at Spring Break, and other times, local pet boarding facilities may book up — meaning that there’s no last-minute alternative if your pet isn’t jiving well with the home and family he’s supposed to stay with. Unless these are people you know extremely well and trust unfailingly, it’s probably best to make boarding options instead of relying on friends or extended family so you don’t have to worry about why friends & family may be the worst option for boarding your pet so you don’t have to worry about why friends & family may be the worst option for boarding your pet.
In an environment they aren’t used to, it’s easier for your pet to become ill or injured than it would be in your own home, where he’s used to everything. Maybe they buy a different brand of dog food, or perhaps they’re more lax when it comes to feeding scraps and serving “people food”. Older dogs can slip on wet floors or miss a stair, just like an older person might.
Be sure that you and your friend/family are clear on who would be responsible for any emergency vet bills that happen to occur, and that both parties are comfortable with the arrangement. It isn’t worth sacrificing a dear friendship or family relationship over a couple hundred dollars at the vet — especially when the welfare of your pet is in the balance.
Housebreaking, healthy eating habits, and good sleeping patterns are largely related to the dog’s home environment. Shaking it up by having your pet stay in different homes with different schedules and different rules can be confusing. Just like potty training a child, breaking co-sleeping habits, and weaning a baby can be stressful when you travel or stay somewhere new, the same is true for your pet. If your dog has just recently learned to go potty outside or has eating or sleeping issues, it’s strongly advisable to board them at a facility with professional caregivers than to confuse your dog and make things more difficult for him by switching houses.
Your friends and family are no doubt well-meaning, and they are probably excellent pet owners themselves! But there are some liability and other issues to consider before asking them to keep your dog. Especially if your dog has behavioral issues, socialization issues (such as fear of strangers or food guarding), or doesn’t adjust well to different situations, it’s probably best to use a professional boarding facility. They will keep your dog on the diet, exercise, and play schedule that he’s used to, and you won’t have to worry about whether or not someone got off work in time to let him out before all your hard-earned housebreaking efforts to kaput.
Let the experts at Just Happy Hounds love your pet while you’re away so you don’t have to worry about why friends & family may be the worst option for boarding your pet. At Just Happy Hounds, we love ’em just like you do!
For more information about Just Happy Hounds, THE premier dog fraternity, or would like to schedule dog boarding, please contact us at 205.777.3699.