Whisker Watchers

When Prescott pet boarding facilities are fully booked for the holidays, what are your options?

A look at the Pros & Cons of boarding facilities vs pet sitters in Prescott, AZ

Pet Boarding vs Pet Sitting Pros & Cons

Pros of Pet Boarding

(Sometimes) Cheaper than Pet Sitting – Compared to pet sitting, it’s usually cheaper since pet boarding isn’t a personal service. For the convenience of the boarding facility, they will have their own routine for all guests, so you may not have much say in your pet’s routine.

Pet Socialization – Your pet can get plenty of social time and run their energy out with other pets, rather than having only one pet sitter at home to keep them company. Your pet may also experience loneliness at home while your pet sitter is out, serving other pet clients.

Cons of Pet Boarding

Inherent Risks – There’s a possibility that your pet can contract communicable or infectious diseases from other pets in the boarding facility. While it is not common, the chances are significantly higher than if you were to hire a professional pet sitter to come to your home.

Stress on Pets – Pets will experience stress when suddenly thrown into a new environment. Many pet parents fail to realize this. Imagine your house and family members changing overnight. You’ll be shocked, confused, and stressed. Your pet may experience these things.

No Special or Prioritized Treatment – Your pet won’t receive 100% attention. Boarding facilities take on several pets at once, and they all need attention. With boarding facilities, your pet may get stressed out from being handled by a different person on every shift and schedule change.

Accidents & Incidents – The boarding environment can be less controlled and unpredictable. The risk of incidents occurring while your pet is boarding are significantly higher than at home, including injury from self-trauma and altercations with other pets. There is a much higher chance of a freak accident occurring due to the high-volume and sometimes uncontrolled, chaotic nature of a boarding facility.

Effects of Cages – Studies have shown that pets who are caged/kenneled for long periods of time can develop mental health issues. Your pet can actually experience periods of insanity from stressors such as a strange cage, loud noises, weird smells, etc. There are plenty of instances of pets not eating for days at a time due to having to cope with being caged in a new environment.

Age Limitations – Most boarding facilities in Prescott have a minimum age that your pet must meet for them to board. This is because there is a specific timeframe for puppies to complete a vaccination regimen. Puppies have a higher risk of contracting contagious illnesses since their immune system isn’t fully developed. Also consider the needs and personality of your pet if they are older in age. Some geriatric pets have a very difficult time being away from their homes and families, as they have spent years with them and have become accustomed to the comforts and certainties of home. It’s best to consider how being in a new, high-energy environment could affect your older pet.

Fear & Anxiety – While boarding your pet may help with their socialization, it could end up making them more fearful of these situations if the initial experience isn’t pleasant.

Bad Habits & Behavior – How long will you be away from your pet? If it’s overnight or only for a couple of days, it probably won’t have a huge effect on them. However, your pet could pick up bad behavior (especially if they are impressionable) when you are gone much longer. This could lead to trouble with readjusting to their routine at home.

DISCLAIMER: At Whisker Watcher, we are not against pet boarding. In fact, we have an excellent relationship with the most successful boarding facility in Prescott. Boarding facilities in Prescott also send us clients who they cannot accept due to being fully booked. We simply offer an alternative service that complements pet boarding, and it is the best option if boarding isn’t a good fit for your pet.

Pros of a Professional Pet Sitter

Pets are Comfortable & Secure – Pets are where they love most: home. They have their favorite foods, blankets, toys, etc. There is no need to adapt to a new environment.

Specialized Focus & Attention – Your pet will receive one-on-one interaction with a professional pet sitter, who comes on a regular schedule to feed, exercise, and check on your pets. Your pets are receiving optimal attention and care with a pet sitter in your home.

Direct Communication with Sitter – Being able to have a direct line of contact with a pet sitter is the ultimate peace of mind, so you can focus on enjoying your vacation. Whisker Watcher employs a 24-hour messaging system for clients so that you have access at any time of day to message your sitter for updates or questions.

Dedicated Point of Contact – In case of an emergency with your pet or home, there won’t be any confusion or miscommunication with multiple people. A single pet sitter will have all of the information up front and readily available to disseminate. Whisker Watcher pet sitters follow a strict set of Standard Operating Procedures in case of emergencies.

More Flexibility – Typically a boarding facility has employees that work a set amount of hours, and there is no flexibility afforded to the pet parents in case they may have a special request regarding their pet. At Whisker Watcher, our services are far more personalized, so if a pet parent has a special request, we are much more capable of offering assistance outside of normal operating hours.

More Security For Your Home – In your absence, Whisker Watcher pet sitters perform what we call a “House Check”, which is a complimentary service that we perform at every visit. These House Checks help to prevent any problems that could occur while you’re gone, as well as ensures that your home is secure before leaving.

Well Prepared in Emergencies – A professional pet sitter will be thorough when meeting with clients for the firs time, ensuring that they have all the information needed in case of a pet or home emergency. At Whisker Watcher, our staff are all Pet First Aid Certified and trained to be “competent, coherent, and capable” in emergency situations.

More Accountability – You never know who your pet will be with when at a boarding facility. Whisker Watcher screens all employees and requires background/criminal record checks as well as GPS tracking, time of day, and time length records of each visit. This information is also published to your pet’s “Pawgress Report” when we update you for each visit.

Cons of hiring a Pet Sitter

Finding a Pet Care Pro – As in any industry, there will be some bad apples. There are stories of pet sitters taking their client’s pets to a party, hosting parties at the client’s house, losing pets, etc. It is important that you vet your pet sitters and ask the right questions such as, “Are you bonded and insured?” “What is your protocol in emergency situations?” There are many hobbyists who simply perform pet sitting services as a “side gig” that are not bonded or insured, that will charge cheap amounts to the detriment of themselves and the client as your relationship will suffer.

Alone Time – Your pet will be alone for much of the day with a professional pet sitting service, as pet sitters will have other pet clients to check in on throughout the day.

Other Considerations:

What about hiring a sitter from Rover, WAG!, or Care.com?

Many of our clients leave these app-based sitter-for-hire companies and come to us when they learn that they are not regulated, and there is virtually no accountability when it comes to loss, injury, or damage. Whisker Watcher LLC is properly licensed, bonded, and insured to ensure that your pet and property are protected.

The fact is that sitters on these apps don’t undergo a rigorous vetting process. These companies make no guarantees or warranties as to the completeness of the service. We strongly encourage pet parents who are considering hiring a pet sitter from these apps to read the fine print.

For example, as of a November 14, 2021 review of Rover.com’s Terms of Service, pet parents must agree that Rover has no liability for damages associated with their pet care services, which may include bodily injury or death of a pet.

They also clearly state that their “Rover Guarantee” is not insurance, but simply a way to “promote user confidence in, and increase use of, the Rover Service.” If something were to happen to your pet or property, you’re out of luck. Typically the sitters on these apps are hobbyists that tend to not carry proper coverage.

It can be stressful not knowing who your pet is with and at any point, these unregulated internet-based services can get shut down and their apps can become inaccessible. With everything on your plate, the last thing you need to be doing is questioning the state of your pet.


Ultimately it is up to pet parents to consider the temperament, health, age and needs of their pets to accurately choose the best option for care while traveling. Weigh the pros and cons of each service against the needs of your pet, and make the best decision. Don’t forget to research the boarding facilities or sitters thoroughly, ask a lot of questions, and remember to read their reviews online.

What does it cost to hire a professional pet sitter from Whisker Watcher?