LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Summer is in full-swing, and for
some consumers this means vacation time. But for their
four-legged friends, this often means a staycation at a
pet boarding facility or at home with pet sitter.
will spend about $55.53 billion on their pets this year,
according to the American Pet Products Association, and
$4.54 billion of that will be spent on pet services,
which includes boarding and pet sitting.
pet hotel is busy, busy, busy all summer long,"
said veterinarian Kenneth Simmons, the owner of the
Barkers Hotel & Purrington Inn at the Simmons
Veterinary Hospital in Lake Worth, Fla.
Barkers Hotel had 160 to 170 dogs and 30 to 40 cats
boarding during the Fourth of July weekend. During the
rest of the summer, the hotel has 50 to 70 dogs boarding
hotel mostly caters to cats and dogs but will accept
"anything that moves," said hospital
administrator Sherri Kelley.
by the renowned Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Barkers
distinguishes itself from other boarding facilities by
trying to provide pets with the same luxury experience
their owners expect when going on vacation.
most expensive room goes for $90 a night and includes
the pet equivalent of a king-size bed, a flat screen TV
that plays movies and skylights.
a very sexy place," said Simmons, who owns three
rooms are smaller in size and include the pet equivalent
of a queen-size or a twin-size bed. Most rooms are
deliver food on carts, and all dogs receive baths.
the day, the dogs are let loose to play in a pool area
dubbed Barkeritaville Lagoon and in a grassy park, which
together cover 2 acres. More than 40 employees supervise
the residents. Grooming and training services are also
don’t want to just board animals," said Simmons.
"I wanted to have a place that pets and their
owners want to come."
Coral Springs Animal Hospital offers a more
cost-conscious option that still includes plenty of play
time. Rooms start at $18 a night and include four walks
a day for all dogs. The hospital also eschews wire
cages, opting for glass-enclosed rooms.
the summer months, the boarding facility averages about
60 dogs, which is almost double what the hospital has
during the rest of the year. During a holiday, they
board more than 150 animals.
goal is for them to have as good a time here as they do
at home, actually even better," said hospital
manager Shayne Gardner.
is not always a feasible option for all owners and their
sitters are a wonderful option for certain types of
dogs," said Simmons, who has been a vet for more
than 30 years.
Torrents is the owner of The Pet Nanny Services Inc.,
which offers in-home pet sitting across Broward County,
Fla. One visit costs $20, regardless of how many animals
are at home, and sitters will visit as many as four
times a day. During these visits, the sitters will feed,
play with and clean up after the pets, water plants,
pick up the mail and make the house look lived in.
employs between six and 14 sitters and has about 2,200
clients. During the summer months and holiday season,
she and her sitters can make as many as 40 visits a day.
On a normal day, they make between 10 and 15 visits.
is a big time for us," she said.
selecting a sitter, Terry Chance, a director at Pet
Sitters International, recommends that owners ensure the
individual has insurance, a contingency plan, a clean
criminal history and prior experience caring for
sitter who meets these criteria can bring a professional
quality to pet care, something "your friend or
neighbor can’t do," she said.
CLEAN, WELL-LIGHTED PLACE
for selecting a pet boarding facility:
An odor-free environment is a good clue to how clean a
boarding facility is. Accidents happen, but the overall
facility shouldn’t smell bad, said veterinarian
The personnel should be friendly and welcoming.
The facility should be affordable for the pet owner.
Ask for a spontaneous tour. A good facility should be
able to give you one on the spot, said Simmons.
Veterinarian Kenneth Simmons