Dog Walking vs. Pet Sitting – What’s the Difference?



katya clover

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pet sitter, pet care, You go to the internet to find a service to help care for your pet. They ask you “What services are you seeking?” and list the options:

  • Pet Sitting

  • Dog Walking

  • Pet Boarding

  • Doggie Day Care

Which one do you pick? What does each entails? You had no clue there were so many options! What are the differences?

The pet care industry is booming and there are a number of different types of services available to pet owners now. Here is a breakdown of what these different services are, other terminology commonly used, and what they each entails. As for cost, that another whole topic in itself which can be read about here:

What’s the cost of pet sitting in Chicago’s Suburbs?


Pet Sitting

“Pet Sitting” is also referred to as ” Pet Care”. According to the defination of a “Pet Sitter” or “Pet Sitting” is:

pet sitting


the act of caring for a pet in its own home while the owner is away.

“Pet Sitting” is a service generally used when a pet owner is out of town on a trip or on vacation. It’s a temporary service used for a few days or weeks. Pet sitting is done in the pet owners home. A person referred to as a “pet sitter” or “pet care provider” comes into the pet owners home to care for pets by feeding them, giving water, cleaning any cages or litter boxes, playing with them, letting them go outside or taking them for a walk. Pet sitters can provide stop by visits multiple times a day usually in 20-30 minute increments. Another form of pet sitting is “Overnight” or “Sleep Over”, where the “pet sitter” or “pet care provider” stays at the pet owners home and spends the night.  It is on average an 8-12 hour stay in the evening.  The pet sitter is not there for 24 hours.


Dog Walkingdog walking, dog walker

“Dog walking” is also referred to as ” Daily Dog Walking”, “Daily Service”, or Monday Through Friday”.  According to the defination of a dog-walker is:


[dawg-waw-ker, dog-]


a person who walks other people’s dogs, especially for a fee.

This is a service that a person referred to as a “Dog Walker” comes into the owners home on a regularly scheduled basis to let their dog out in the yard or take them for a walk. This is a service provided while owners are out of the home at work, or school for long periods of time and are not able to get home to let their dog out for a potty break at some point during the day. More recently, some dog walkers have been using a dog walking software to keep on top of their bookings, which also provides you peace of mind that your dog is in safe hands. It will also allow them to keep track of the service you require.

This is often scheduled for Monday through Friday at the same time of day. Most popular is a mid day visits between the hours of 11am -1pm. But it can be any day of the week or time of day that is consistently scheduled by the pet owner. Dog owners are not out of town on a trip or vacation when this service is provided. The visits usually range from 10-30 minutes depending on the service and cost. The “Dog walker” will come in and either let the dog out in the yard to eliminate or take it for a walk. It is whatever the pet owner prefers. They generally will provide fresh water, treats or food upon owner request as well.


Pet vacation, pet boarding, pet kennelPet Boarding 

This is a place where dogs are housed temporarily for a fee, an alternative to using a “Pet Sitter”.  Pet boarding is a pet care service provided at a facility that is not the pet owners home.  It is is often referred to as a “Boarding Kennel, ” Dog Kennel”, “Kennel”, In-Home Boarding”,  or “Pet Resort”.  The people there are called “Kennel Staff”, “Kennel Help”, “Kennel Person”, or “Kennel Manager” .  A “Dog Kennel” is a dog house, run, or other small structure in which a dog is kept.  Cats can also be “Boarded” and are often put in cages. Many kennels offer one-on-one “play times” in order to get the animal out of the caged environment. Familiar objects, such as blankets and toys from home, are also allowed at many facilities.  Some people offer pet or dog boarding in their own home. There are a number of important factors that need to be considered when looking into boarding at a facility or persons home:

  • In the State of Illinois the person or facility needs to be licensed by the IL Department of Agriculture

  • Is the environment clean, and sanitary? Inspect all areas pets will have access to. 

  • How many other animals will be in the same cage or area?

  • Have all the animals been behaviorally screened to make sure they get along if in the same area?

  • All pets must be current and have proof of vaccinations including: Rabies & Bordetella

  • How much free or play time will they have?

  • Is there access to a veterinarian should your pet become ill?

  • Is somebody there at the location 24 hours a day or do they leave at night? 

  • Are video, texts or emails sent with your pets progress?

Many people worry about the stress placed on pets by being put in an unfamiliar and most likely crowded environment.  Majority of boarding kennels work to reduce stress but anytime a pet is taken out of their home environment there are stress factors put in place.


Doggie Day CareDoggy Day care

Doggy Day Care is similar to  daycare for children. You drop  your dog off in the morning, and they get to play, socialize, snack and nap  with other dogs, and attendants while you are at work. Then you pick your dog up up at the end of the workday. The idea behind it is that instead of your dog sitting home alone bored and then greeting you when you get home at the end of the day with loads of pent-up energy acting crazy, they will be tired and ready to relax with with their owner. It also help provides socialization skills.

Most Doggy Day Care facilities offer half or full-day care and everything from daily, weekly & occasional care. Most are open 12 hours a day (from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. ).


When choosing the right option of care for your pet there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.  From the care being provided in your home or another location,  how often care is needed, is it a temporary or permanent situation, and the proper licensing, insurance and overall care of your pet.  No matter what your decision Shannon’s Pet Sitting is always willing to answer any question or make suggestions of reputable alternative pet care facilities if we are not able to provide the type of care you need.


Call us today (847) 987-4322


About the Author: Shannon's Pet-Sitting