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We consider our dog as part of our family, and chances are if you have one, you feel the same way. Still, we choose to leave her home when we go on vacation. We miss her and bring her home treats, but caring for a dog while on vacation simply feels like a huge task. 

We want the best care for our pet, and so we try to make her comfortable and keep her life as stress-free as possible while we’re gone. Here are a few things we have done and you could consider as well when leaving your dog while on vacation.

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4 Options For Your Dog While On Vacation

What should I do with my dog while I travel? Here are a few things we have done and you could consider as well when leaving your dog while on vacation | Pet care while traveling | Pet care during vacation

Board Your Dog

Depending on your dog’s social level, it might actually enjoy being boarded and spending time with other dogs. One of our dogs was grumpy around other dogs, so this would not have been a good option. Our current dog loves this option (I could swear she’s smiling as we pull out of the driveway!).

Boarders have both knowledgeable staff and clean facilities (be sure to look at the facilities first). These places oftentimes will bathe your dog while you’re away and allow your pet to bring its own special bed, blanket, and food.

The downside to boarding a dog is these facilities can be kind of expensive. Also, your pet must be updated on all vaccinations.

Keep Your Dog at Someone Else’s House

If your dog is friendly and familiar with a family member or neighbor, this can be a great option. Make sure your caretaker truly enjoys pets, however, as you definitely don’t want your dog to be seen as a burden. Our dog especially enjoys one family member’s home with a fenced-in yard; she spends her time outside watching joggers go by and ends up getting a friendly pat on the head or two…or seven.

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This can also be one of the least expensive options.

If your dog is a bit “high maintenance,” meaning he likes to chew or has to be walked several times a day, this may not be the best option. However, if your friend or family member enjoys pets and may not own one, this time might be very enjoyable for all. My sister-in-law who lives in Florida no longer owns her own pets, but she makes a very nice income by caring for her neighbors’ pets inside her own home, not to mention how much she enjoys having them stay for awhile. She tells me it’s sort of like watching the grandkids: you spoil them and then give them back!

Have Someone Stay at Your House

This option is our personal favorite, as we know numerous well-behaved college students who are looking to earn an extra buck for food, and they also enjoy sleeping in a real bed with a comfortable mattress. Plus, since they live away from home, they typically are missing their own furry friend, so sitting for our dog gives them a sort of “pet fix.”

If you don’t know many college students (at least those you would trust in your home), ask local churches or clubs (such as 4-H or the Optimist Club) who they would recommend.

We ask this person to come over a couple of times prior to our leaving so our dog can get to know him or her. We teach the live-in person our dog’s habits and eating schedule. And being at home with a friend helps our dog stay calmer than taking her elsewhere.

We also have the comfort of knowing our home isn’t standing empty for a week.

We pay a daily stipend (slightly less than the local boarding facility), plus we pay for food. And if the house sitter cleans the house, we give a bonus!

4 Options For Your Dog While On Vacation

Hire a Pet Sitter

A pet sitter doesn’t actually stay in your home, but does visit your home several times a day to care for your pet, provide exercise, and share companionship. Professional pet sitters oftentimes will administer pet medications, if needed, as well.

This option is a good one if your pet feels most comfortable at home with a mostly uninterrupted daily routine.

Good pet sitters tend to be expensive, but if they are trained and certified, they are more than worth their money.

Interview the potential sitter, and ask for references. Have the sitter come to your home prior to vacation to see how they interact with your pet.

One More Option: The Vet

Some vet offices also have a staffed boarding service. While this option tends to be more expensive, peace of mind might be worth the extra cost in having your dog stay in a safe environment, especially if it has ongoing health issues. A lot of years back, we had to give our dog medicine every day, and we were not going to ask someone else to do that except for a vet. The vet can be a great option for your dog while on vacation. 

Tammy Tilley
Tammy Tilley
Tammy Tilley, mom of two adult children, cares deeply about parenting issues. Although she’s looking in the rearview mirror of her hands-on parenting days, once you’re a parent, you’re always a parent. She enjoys sharing a few memories and a touch of advice about spending energy on the things that matter. Tammy has a BA in English from Anderson University (IN) and a MS in Education from IUPUI.