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Should You Board Your Pet or Hire a Sitter?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With spring and summer vacations on the horizon, where to leave pets while you're away can be an expensive and time-consuming concern. Not everyone has the ability to leave their pet with a trusted neighbor or family member, and with most other options ranging in price from $30 to $125 per night, making the "right" choice can seem difficult. We checked with experts who weigh in on the best options for your cat or dog while you're traveling.

Boarding your pets at a kennel or dog "hotel."
Cost: $50 to $125 per day, per dog

"If you want to travel, there is always a solution, but it's going to have a cost associated with it," says Aimee Gilbreath, executive director of Found Animals, a nonprofit that works to reduce the use of euthanasia on shelter animals.

For many pet parents, boarding is the default option, but also the most expensive.

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"Boarding is the most costly, depending on the services you get," Gilbreath says. "Some people like the fact that they can board their pet and their pet can get groomed and enjoy playtime with other dogs while they're there."

Ask yourself: What is your pet comfortable with? Some pets need that 24/7 attention, and there will be someone on site all day and all night at a kennel, she says.

If you're considering boarding your dog, Jason Michal, vice president of pet services and hospitality for Pooch Hotel, says pet owners are often surprised by how much their dogs thrive in a communal environment.

"We find lots of dog owners who say that their dog isn't good around other dogs, but the truth is that their dog just hasn't been given that opportunity to be really social, and many dogs love that interaction."

The price per night at Pooch Hotel ranges from $50 to $125 a night depending on the market and services selected. For example, dogs that stay in a "palace suite" at Pooch Hotel's Hollywood location can enjoy a flat-panel TV, complimentary turn-down service on special bedding and an optional treadmill run or rubdown every day.

Those perks are nice, but the most important concern for pet owners should be what type of human contact your pet needs, says Aaron Easterly, CEO of Rover, a service that connects dog owners with dog sitters nationwide.

"You really need to decide what kind of human-to-dog ratio your dog needs. A high-volume kennel may only have one human for every 20 or 30 dogs. But dog spas or dog hotels may have one staff member for every three to five dogs," Easterly says.

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