What Are The Options for My Dog’s Care When I Travel?

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi

December 20, 2018

You just booked a well deserved and long overdue vacation. Between now and the day of your departure, there is so much to look forward to: time off work, shopping for resort wear, rum punch on the beach, and the list goes on. The world just seems a little brighter…until you think about your dog.

It’s bad enough the poor pup will have to live without you for several days, but how will you ever trust anyone with his care? There are so many options out there, but it’s all about what’s right for YOUR fur baby? The following pet service options are available in most areas. It’s best to explore the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed choice for your dog.


1. Traditional Kennels

Pro: Chances are these establishments have been around for quite a while and have built up a reputation in your community. This means that through internet research and word of mouth you should be able to get lots of info as to other peoples’ experiences with these businesses.

Con: Traditional kennels certainly provide for your dog’s basic needs, but there may not be too many extras available like pimped out sleeping quarters and complimentary bathing.

Pro: Kennels offer affordable, efficient care for your dog.

Con: After closing time, most kennels are sans humans until morning.

What Kind Of Dog Does Best With This Option: Traditional boarding is a great option for easygoing, happy go lucky pooches who are not prone to anxiety.


2. Luxury Boarding Facilities

Pro: These places are like the doggy equivalent of the Ritz! Huge kennels with extra plush bedding, stimuli-packed play areas, and lots of one on one attention from the staff. These centers often offer tons of extras like grooming services, extra cage free play times and even web cams so you can spy on your buddy!

Con:Luxury boarding can come with a luxury price tag. Depending on your budget, this option may be out of reach.

Pro: Luxury kennels often have a staff member on the graveyard shift to provide late night walks and monitor the dogs.

Con: Larger facilities offering lots of cage-free time may have more opportunities for escapes or dog fights.

What Kind Of Dog Does Best With This Option: Dogs who require lots of human attention and are not used to spending daytime hours alone will respond better in this setting.


3. Veterinary Offices

Pro: Boarding your dog with your trusted veterinarian and staff can provide the priceless benefit of peace of mind. Kennels, boarding centers and pet sitters can usually give medications like vitamins and prescriptions for well maintained, chronic issues like arthritis, but for more serious issues like Diabetes or seizures, the vet may be a better choice.

Con: Veterinary practices tend to be noisy and chaotic. The staff will monitor your pet closely and provide regular feeding and walk times, but there may not be time for much more.

Pro: After spending so much time with your dog, your veterinary staff may be able to make recommendations on how to keep him even healthier.

Con: Most of the day/night will be spent in a cage

What Kind Of Dog Does Best With This Option: Elderly dogs or those who have medical conditions that require treatment and monitoring to prevent emergencies will fare better under the trained eye of your vet.


4. Dog Walking Services

Pro: The same person you pay to walk your dog while you’re at work likely offers pet sitting services as well. You have the option to schedule as many visits per day as you think your pooch will need. During these visits the sitter will walk, feed and play with your dog. Many offer poop-scooping and simple house sitting services like rotating the lights and taking in the mail.

Con: You will be depending on a single person to provide for your dog. Although more and more large pet sitting services are cropping up, many are still one-man operations. If this is the case you will want to have an emergency contact for the sitter to call if he/she has an issue and cannot care for your pet while you are away.

Pro: No cage necessary! (Unless you prefer to have your dog crated between visits)

Con: Your dog will be alone overnight with no one to snuggle with

What Kind Of Dog Does Best With This Option: Homebodies who get anxious when taken out to other peoples’ homes, the vet’s office, etc. Dogs who are used to being home alone while you work also do well with regular visits similar to their normal schedule.


5. In-Home Overnight Care

Pro: Some of the dedicated folks who provide dog walking and pet sitting in your community may also be willing to stay overnight in your home for an additional fee. Your fur friend will have the comfort of staying in his own familiar space and keeping his own familiar routine.

Con: With the additional time in your home comes the additional risk of a legal issue. Before allowing anyone to move into your home, ask to see proof that they are licensed, bonded and insured. These credentials are important for ANY vendor entering your home or interacting with your pets, but even more so for overnight service providers. Licensing and bonding exhibits professionalism.  Liability insurance protects the sitter and the homeowners from numerous calamities that could potentially occur.

Pro: Your dog will have a warm body to slowly crowd out of the bed (Just like when you guys are together!)

Con: The overnight fee likely includes a set time frame like 9 PM – 7 AM. The sitter probably isn’t hunkering down at your place watching Netflix all weekend.

What Kind Of Dog Does Best With This Option: Homebodies who require lots of human love and attention. Dogs who are used to having you all to themselves will fare better with a single pet lover focusing just on them.


6. Overnight Care In A Sitter’s Home

Pro: When a pet sitter brings your dog into his/her home you can expect lots of one on one attention. Sitters who stay in your home still have to go to their day job, complete family commitments or go out to care for their other clients’ pets. Having your dog stay at the sitter’s home means that when the workday is finished, he/she will be with your pet!

Con: Sitters who care for dogs in their home likely have pets of their own or other dogs they are caring for simultaneously. Since it is likely a cage-free setting you will have the additional worry of a possible fight.

Pro: Sitters who open their homes to other peoples’ pooches obviously love dogs. Your baby is probably going to be spoiled rotten.

Con: Suddenly having to conform to the routines and lifestyles of a new family in a new place can be stressful for certain dogs.

What Kind Of Dog Does Best With This Option: Adventurous, playful dogs who enjoy visiting others’ homes and getting out in public will love the newness of exploring the sitter’s house and meeting the other guests.

7. Friend or Family

Pro: They know you, therefore they know how psycho you are when it comes to your dog. They wouldn’t DARE let anything bad happen to him!

Con: They aren’t pet sitting as a job, they’re doing it as a favor. Even if you are paying them, they probably won’t be as thorough about keeping to your dog’s schedule and cleaning up as a pro would be.

Pro: They know your dog, and your dog knows them! This can be a big stress reducer for everyone.

Con: Since they aren’t animal professionals, they may be less likely to recognize a potential problem. Dogs can develop diarrhea, stop eating or even try to run away when their living situation changes suddenly. Pet sitters, kennel staff and veterinary professionals have dealt with these situations before, your Nana or frat brother may not have!

What Kind Of Dog Does Best With This Option: Shy dogs who need lots of time to warm up to a new person will do better with a familiar face. Whether they stay in your home or bring your dog to theirs, familiarity can be very comforting for dogs who are timid around strangers.

Featured image via Flickr

Want More Articles Like This?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Written by: Dina Fantegrossi

December 20, 2018

Nutritionist-crafted food for your dog's breed or mix.

Recipes designed for dogs' individuality



A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.