How to Leave Your Dog while You Go on Vacation

The options available for dog care today range from professional dog-sitters to virtual resorts for dogs.
dog walkers image by Pix by Marti from

Selecting the best possible care for your dog while you go on vacation can be a challenge so daunting as to make you seriously consider staying home. Making sure your dog will be safe and in good hands is vital both for her well-being and for the peace of mind you need in order to enjoy your vacation. More choices of dog-care environments are available today than there were just a few years ago. Selection of the best care environment and the best person to entrust with your dog must take into account your dog's specific needs and comfort level and the options available.

Step 1

Have someone already well-known and liked by your dog care for him while you are away. Many dog owners prefer this option, because they trust their friends and relatives. When your dog is cared for by someone he already knows as a friend, he is less likely to be stressed by your absence. If you are considering this option, discuss your pet-sitting needs with the sitter well in advance of your trip. You and the sitter must decide whether it is best for your dog to stay in his familiar surroundings or at the sitter's home. If your dog doesn't suffer separation anxiety, staying in the comfortable surroundings of his own home with several visits per day from the sitter, timed to maintain his usual schedule, might be the best choice for him.

Step 2

Hire a qualified in-home pet sitter. This is a good option if your dog will do best in the familiar surroundings of her home and you do not have a neighbor, friend or relative able to care for her. The best professional pet sitter for your dog will have reliable references and will be available to get to know your dog and learn the daily routine before you leave.You can decide the number of times daily you will want your pet sitter to stop by to care for your dog, based on your dog's usual routine and the amount of attention she needs. Some pet sitters even have overnight services so a dog will not have to spend nights alone while the owner is out of town.

Step 3

Board your dog in a traditional boarding kennel. This is a good option if your dog has anxiety or the tendency to be destructive when left alone. By visiting facilities in your area before you need to board your dog, you will be able to decide the best kennel for your dog and your budget. Clean facilities with ample staff members and available references indicate reliable services.

Step 4

Choose a modern boarding facility to provide personalized care for your dog. Today, many boarding facilities are more like dog resorts, and they are set up to allow friendly dogs to roam freely. These modern facilities often have individual rooms instead of kennel runs for their canine clients. However, if your dog does not enjoy the company of other dogs, this may not be the best option for him.

Step 5

Leave your dog with the familiar items necessary to maintain her comfort level while you are away. Whether you are having a sitter come to your home or your dog will be boarded at a kennel, having her favorite food and treats will be comforting to her. Having a favorite blanket or toy with her will be a comfort whether she stays with a friend, a sitter or in a kennel.

Step 6

Provide emergency contact information to your dog's caretaker. It is important that the person or facility responsible for your dog's care is able to reach you and your veterinarian in case of an emergency. Put these important numbers in a location in your home that is easily accessible, or give them to the kennel staff when you drop your dog off to be boarded.


  • Never board your dog at a facility that you have not checked out prior to leaving for vacation. When you visit a kennel or pet-sitting facility in advance of your trip, you will be able to make sure you will have no concerns about leaving your pet there.


  • If you choose a friend or family member to care for your dog, make sure she knows your dog's daily routine and needs. If your dog is accustomed to eating and exercising at specific times, or needs medications, include these important details in your written instructions.

  • When you are selecting a pet sitter or boarding facility, ask family, friends and fellow dog owners about their experiences and recommendations.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog food
  • Dog treats
  • Blanket
  • Toys
  • Contact telephone number
  • Veterinarian's phone number



About the Author

Jennifer Lynn has been writing as a correspondent and reporter since 1991. She has written for numerous newspapers and currently writes as a correspondent for Gannett. Lynn has a Bachelor of Arts with a focus on English from Ohio University, where she also studied journalism at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

Photo Credits