Pets and Vacation

Updated on February 13, 2013
J.R. asks from Powell, TN
21 answers

Hello. We have a dog and a cat and we are planning on going on 2 vacations this year, one in July and one in October for one week each. What do you all with your pets while you go on vacation? It is going to be so expensive to have a petsitter come at least twice a day for our dog and it is expensive to put them in a kennel also. We are thinkng of taking out dog along with us in July as we are going to visit and stay with Family. The only problem is all of our family also has pets-mostly cats and I am not sure how that would work to bring her along. Just curious to see what you all do. We don't have any family or close friends where we live now either.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

For me, paying someone to take care of my pets is calculated in the cost of vacationing. I got hammered in September because I used a pet sitter ($25/day) for my three cats and a guinea pig. I had a relatively new rescue dog with severe separation anxiety so this little guy needed to stay at the vet so he didn't go completely crazy (also $25/day). I didnt know if he would need medication or harm himself while we were in Hawaii. So just for my pet care it was over $350.

I wouldn't bring the dog unless he was invited.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My daughter house/pet sits. She works full time too. She gets $25 a day which is way less than a kennel. I would not be happy if someone showed up for a week with their dog. Get a middle school or high school kid to walk dog and play with him.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

If we take our dog with us then we just pay a neighbor boy $10 a day to come over and take care of our cat and rabbit, and water the plants. My kids do this for some of our neighbors as well.
If the dog is here then my sister comes over and stays at our house (she's single, no kids and happy to do it.) On the rare occasions we need to hire a pet sitter we use a local college student. We pay $20 a day and leave the fridge well stocked!
You have plenty of time to network in your community, ask neighbors, coworkers and your kids' friends parents for a referral. Someone always knows of a reliable college student desperate for cash.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

We board our dog from time to time-she stays in a big run, gets tons of attention-she only stays where Pit Bulls are loved and known to be the very sweet dogs that they truly are. We take her own food and bottled water and her Laura Ashley quilt. She is walked and played with and very happy when we collect her. It is worth the cost-were your dog to get in a tussle with another pet-imagine what the vet bill would be.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

This is one of the ways it definitely pays off to know and befriend your neighbors.

I'd say find a petsitter. Even if it's a nice retired person down the street.

I would never bring my dog and put that kind of stress and pressure on my families' pets and homes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I actually do pet sitting for a few clients. I charge $20 to $25 per day to go at least 1 time a day Usually 2 times a day. To feed, play and clean up after the pets.

For their dog, we have discovered their dog likes going to the boarder. He gets so much attention there, and he gets very lonely at their home if no one is there.

The 2 huge cats, like to stay in the house. So generally, I go there at least i hour a day usually 2 times. to play, feed, and clean up after the cats.
The family tells us, we are welcome to stay longer and watch TV.. etc..

Our other client pays our daughter to actually stay at their home with their pets. They have 2 dogs, fish, cats and usually a lizard or turtle. One time she had to feed frozen blood worms to one reptile.. It was pretty gross.

I would make sure any people you will be staying with, need to be 100% ok with your dog staying at their home. Our house for instance is not set up for a dog. Our fence is not secure enough, and there is not much room in the house, for tail wagging if it were a medium to large dog.

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answers from Miami on

J., do you have a neighbor who also has pets? Maybe you two could switch off and pet sit for each other. My mom takes care of the neighbors' cats for a week twice a year - feeds them and cleans out their litter boxes. The guy helps Mom if she can't lift something, needs lightbulbs changed, or if the smoke alarm needs the batteries to be changed. Stuff like that. Quite frankly, he gets the better part of the deal because she feels bad asking for help (that's my mom for ya) but I'm sure he'd do whatever she asked.

Anyway, I'd see if you can figure out a system like this if there's anyone who fits the bill, and if you would trust them in your home.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We have a pet/house sitter.

She comes over about 2 times a day and stays for about an hour at $25/visit. We typically don't leave our dogs more than 5 hours alone, ever.

She returns about 4 hrs after her last visit of the day to stay the night and charges $45. She leaves according to her schedule in the mornings. Sometimes she is here until 9 or so, sometimes she has another pet job and leaves earlier. She comes over for her pet visits based on her schedule and our 5 hr window.

We have never boarded our dogs in a kennel because they have never been kenneled at all as pups and it would be traumatic for them. When we had 1 dog in the hospital, he had more trauma from the kennel experience than the surgery.

I know.. we do spoil them terribly.

We like the pet/house sitter option because your house is also "Lived in" while you are away which is extra security.

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answers from Tallahassee on

We always board our dog at our vet's office. Although they keep the animals inside, they get walked and they are put in outside runs so they get some exercise and fresh air each day.

If you're wanting to take your dog with you, just make sure that it's okay with your family first. It would be rude to just show up at their home with your dog with out asking them, although I'm sure you wouldn't do that. :)

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answers from Wausau on

We have one fairly antisocial cat. We're generally good for 3 days/2 nights away. I clean the box right before we leave and put out extra food. Any longer than that and I get a friend to stop in and refresh things. The cat is not interested in strange company so there is no need for someone to linger.

Having been a drop-in pet-sitter for neighbors, I see how miserable their dogs are when left alone for most of the day, several days in a row. Stopping in twice a day is not adequate care, imo. Maybe you can find someone to move into your house as a house/pet sitter. Or possibly someone can take your dog into their home for the duration. Otherwise, I'd pick boarding. We have a couple great options here that are a lot like a spa vacation for dogs.

If you're considering taking your dog with you, make sure to ask for permission from the host first. My cat wouldn't handle that well, so I'd have to say No.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We live on a farm, and have a pig and a German shepherd that need to be cared for when we travel. I also have a garden that needs to be watered. We usually pay our friends' sons or daughters (teenagers) to house-sit for us. Last year none of them were available, so I asked one of my students that I trust. I teach AP English. It worked out very well!

We are usually gone for about 6 days and pay $150. We also leave food and drinks at the house for the teens to have. We make it clear that they aren't allowed to have a bunch of people over, but that it's fine to have one friend or sibling over. They usually ask us in advance for approval of that specific friend; these are really good kids. Often the parents like to come too. We leave it up to them whether they want to spend the night or not. We've done this since we moved to the farm about 12 years ago, and it's worked out great!

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answers from Columbus on

We have a pet sitter for three cats, one dog and fish who comes two to three times a day for $30ish a day. Our dog is reactive to other dogs, so a kennel would be stressful for her and our cats prefer not to travel. A few places our dog goes and we pay the pet sitter to come every other day once a day. It depends on the pet, family and what you are going to be soing. We do know to go out if town is extra for pet care always, just a part if it. When we lived in more of a neighborhood we would pay one if the kids, but still $15-20 a day.

Check with your family and see what they think. Are both your dog and their cats comfortable with each other? I have watched my oarenta dog in our hone, the dogs were dine together, but our cat was not happy about it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

We've always had nice friends and neighbors who would keep our dog at their house or keep an eye on her at our house.

We have also used a kennel...our dog had her own run and we paid for the extra human and canine playtime - something like $5-10 extra day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

You can ask your vet about affordable kennels in your area, kennel costs can vary greatly.

Or cultivate a relationship with a mature kid in the neighborhood and pay him/her to stop by several times a day to feed and pet the animals (with parent permission of course).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

If you have neighbor kids that are responsible, or a friendly neighbor, consider asking them and offering some money for payment.

We are really lucky because we have wonderful neighbors, and we help each other out. Our neighbor loves dogs but doesn't want the bother of owning them, so she is happy to provide care for ours while we're on vacation. And we do nice stuff in return for them (letting them borrow tools, cat-sitting if they go away, etc.).

When our neighbors weren't able to help us, we paid the responsible teens that live across the street to come over 3x per day. We do have a fenced yard for the dogs, so we are lucky that the dogs can stay outside for a few hours without a problem if the weather is nice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

The best thing to do is trade pet sitting with other friends who also have pets and take vacations. Then you take turns watching each other's pets. That way you don't pay anything but you do have to walk their dogs, feed their cats, etc when they are gone during the year. This is what we do. If our friends are not available I used to pay a 13 year old neighbor kid. I always would let his mom know too and she would help remind him each day. I always worried he would forget though. I have also hired a house sitter...a young 20 something woman who loves animals. She basically lives at our house when we are gone. She is cheaper than using a kennel and our pets are happier.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

we are lucky in that our neighbors let our dog out n feed him if we go away and we do the same for them with their dog and other animals when they go away.. Last year they went away for 2 weeks and at the time their kids had a ton of other pets for us to take care of so they sent their dog to a doggy day care while they were gone.. definatley wasnt cheap though.. but they really liked it because at any time they could go on the computer and watch the live cameras and actually see what their dog was doing.. i thought that was pretty cool..
i have no idea how much things like that cost because we've never done them but id think that having a petsitter come twice a day should be alot cheaper than putting him in a kennel

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

we have friends come stay and take care of the whole lot. i feel much better having someone in the house, and less disruptive for the 4-leggeds.
we took our old dog camping a few times, but he found the drive and the unfamiliar setting upsetting so we didn't do it often. and i certainly wouldn't want relatives bringing their pets when they came to visit me.
we did have a good boarding kennel to use before we moved to the farm. we always factored the cost into our vacation planning budget.
now that we have horses the whole situation is vastly more complicated.
but if you have a decent place, you can often do the vacation-sharing thing. the friends coming to stay at our place have kids who love using the pool, and having the cats and dog to take care of, and enjoying the TTD around us which aren't any more wonderful than theirs, just different. sadly for me, they don't have any horse-savvy kids left at home so i'm still going to have to pay someone to come to do the horses. but at least my house will be occupied and the smaller critters covered.
if you're not comfortable with that, boarding is probably your best bet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

My dog has separation anxiety so I take him with me if at all possible. I always ask if I can bring him. even if I'm visiting friends that have welcomed him before. It's just good manners.
He lives with 14 cats, so he knows how to behave around them.
If I can't take him, I pay the college student who lives next door and/or her high school student brother to let the dog in and out, feed and water him and the cats, and clean the litter boxes.



answers from Chicago on

We use a pet sitter I met while volunteering at our local shelter. She charges $15 /visit and stays 45 minutes. She stays overnight and just charges for the evening and morning visit. We also take our dog for short excursions in a pet friendly hotel. You could research pet sitters by the time you need one. i would not entrust the care of my animal to a child or someone I hadn't researched. If you take your pet, make sure your family is totally on board so it doesn't go horribly wrong.


answers from Minneapolis on

Talk to the family you're visiting and feel out with them if it would be ok. When visiting my parents or brother, we usually bring my dogs (lab and springer). My brother is in the country and has two dogs and my parents used to have a lab. My dogs love visiting my parents b/c they spend a lot of time at the lake. We also take them camping and other such trips. But, they're also hunting dogs and used to traveling. If its just an overnight or a short weekend, we usually get one of my kids' friends to check on them twice/day. They're mostly outside dogs so they require less time.

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