What Arrangements Do You Make for Your Dog When on Vacation?

Updated on July 19, 2015
S.R. asks from Scottsdale, AZ
27 answers

We occasionally go on short weekend trips (3-4 days usually just 3 nights). We have a new dog, we're trying to figure out possible arrangements and the different possibilities. How do you handle your dog when on vacation?

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answers from Chicago on

We have a pet sitter that I have known personally and she started her own business. She comes at night to let the dog out, stays overnight, then comes mid day to let him out. Her cost is $45 a day, including the overnight.

My dog is from a shelter where we found him shaking like a leaf so I don't really want to board him.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

We bring him to a nice dog kennel. It's one that does "doggie daycare" and has a nice large area for the dogs to run around and play so they get lots of exercise.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Usually a housesitter. Sometimes my kids are available. But if I didn't have plants and mail and other animals, I would use a kennel for 3-4 days.

Have fun!

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answers from Danville on

When we lived in Northern Virginia, I had neighbors (good friends actually) that would take care of the animals (and mail), and I would do the same for them. No $$ changed hands...just reciprocity.

Now we live in rural SW Virginia, and the dogs go to my daughter's friends home. They live on a farm, and the dogs have a GREAT time! We care for their dog when they are away, and check in on the horses, goats and chickens! We LOVE it! It gives us a mini farm vacation. We get fresh veggies and eggs in exchange.

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answers from Phoenix on

We have young adult nieces and nephews who house sit. Our dogs are not good with other dogs, so a kennel would be incredibly stressful for them.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

We are very lucky to have found a dog "farm". Woman in the country who has tons of acres and boards dogs and let's them run around free on the property with her often. If she can't take him, we bring him to doggie daycare that also has overnight. It at least doesn't put the dogs in cages. It's a building with couches and outdoor space. They are way more common now than the old fashioned kennels that put each dog in a separate cage. Sometimes we get our former nanny who is retired to come stay.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Well my daughter's technique is to text me on Monday, hey mom, will you watch Ellie this weekend. Sure. Tuesday I text her, hey, I am going to take a half day Friday if you want to leave early. Oh, yeah, we are leaving Wednesday. Oh, okay. Then claim a bad day so your mom brings Pad Thai for dinner. At dinner admit your flight leaves at 5 in the morning so your mom takes the puppy home from dinner.

She has other variations on that theme but she has had the puppy for two months and I think we have had her six of the eight weekends. Not that I am complaining. She is a sweet puppy

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answers from Dallas on

We have a house/pet sitter we've worked with for about 20 years. The mom owned the agency and then daughter took over so we've kniwn the family and they have keys to our home. They are bonded but we have mutual trust with each other as well.

She comes over 2 times a day for about an hour $25 each visit. She makes sure my plants are watered, garbage put in or out, mail/packages brought inside and no flyers in the door.

She comes back in the evening and spends the night $45. She sometimes may leave very early in the morning for other customers but if she had nothing going on, she hangs out here.

I make sure I have her favorite coffee's, snacks and special treats fur when she brings her children along for a pet sit. Her son loves to throw the tennis ball for my cocker and they both have a grand time!

Dogs sleep with her as well when she's here. It's also added security because someone is living in my house!

We love our set up. My dogs have never been in a kennel and that would be too much stress for them and me.

My daughter has a condo and a cat. Her boyfriend will be taking care of her cat starting tomorrow through 7/25 while we are out of town. I already have him $200 cash and he'll make sure all is ok with her condo and cat.

This time hubby is not going with us so he will also be checking on the condo and in charge of our dogs!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

A family member dog sits for us.

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answers from Washington DC on

We have our 13 yr old neighbor girl come over for them. They love having her!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Our dog goes for a holiday at my parents' farm nearby.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on


If I'm staying at a pet-friendly hotel, or with someone who doesn't mind, Dog comes with.

If not, I see if a friend I trust is willing to take my dog or come watch at my house.

Last resort is a kennel. I worked at one, and while the dogs were treated well, they are still in a strange place surrounded by strange animals and people they don't know.

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answers from Lakeland on

This may sound strange, but ask someone that fosters rescues. Most are always willing dog sit and they love dogs.

We usually take our dog with us along with the travel trailer or find pet friendly hotels.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Either have a neighbor come in a few times per day and let the dog out to potty or have someone stay in your home for the purpose of house sitting and dog sitting or board them at the Vet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

Love the idea below of someone who does foster rescues to babysit!! Wouldn't have thought of that. We either have a neighbor come over (we trade "services") or there is someone from our church, who is disabled and thrilled to have some extra income, who comes over and housesits.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My (unmarried) sister stays at my house, and takes care of the dog, cats, plants, mail, etc.

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answers from Boston on

We've done everything over the years: board in a kennel, or have a dog sitter check in a few times a day (first thing, last thing, at least once in the middle) for social interaction as well as basic "maintenance" of walking/feeding. I think it depends on the dog (size, personality, prior circumstances), and the age, as well as the set-up you have at home. A larger dog that has access to a doggie door and a safe, fenced pen out back may be able to be left for longer periods of time, whereas a small dog needs more visits from a sitter (especially in areas like mine, where there are extensive woods with coyotes and fisher cats that can possibly gain access to the yard.)

A puppy can't be left that long, a rescue dog often can't be boarded at all because of fear of abandonment. We have a rescue dog now (twice abandoned, PTSD) and so she cannot be boarded at all. She goes with us or she goes with our son, who is the only person who can keep her overnight somewhere besides our house where she still feels safe and secure. She's a good traveler and we've had her at hotels before, so it's more about her being with someone she trusts and then she can sleep anywhere.

I'd get referrals from friends, and if you are considering a kennel, go visit and find out about the outdoor play and space to run around, as well as security. We've had several friends who boarded dogs who escaped or were attacked by another dog, and it was awful. We also know many who have found good places to board the dog. If you're considering a place, see if they have doggie day care so you can introduce your dog to the facility a few times before leaving for a while. But be aware that kennels fill up a lot in the summer months, so you may have to search around a lot to find a vacancy.

The nice thing about a pet sitter though is that you have someone watching the house and showing that it is lived in. In this day and age, when everyone is posting vacation pictures on Facebook, we might as well hang a sign on the front door that says, "We're away, come rob us."

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answers from Washington DC on

we get a farm sitter, but we've got horses to deal with too. but before we found a good farm sitter (who are depressingly rare) and just had someone do the horses twice a day, we used a good boarding kennel for the dogs. another option at this point would be to take a dog to our kids' house in baltimore, but our current dog is too old to take the 2 hour trip and a new place to learn.
in your situation, just figure out which appeals to you the most- someone with excellent references (and preferably bonded) to stay at your place, which has the added advantage of having your place watched, but is worrisome if you don't really trust your house-sitter. a good kennel is always a good option. our dogs never liked the ones at the vet's office, although i'm sure they give excellent care, but had a blast at 'summer camp' style boarding facilities where they got lots of play and run-around time. or you find a friend and trade off taking each other's dogs when you go.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

We have quite a few dogs, so we have almost always arranged someone to stay at the house & care for them here. It helps keep them on as "normal" a schedule as possible, & we try to make it someone the dogs already know if possible, or if not, a friend that can come for a few visits ahead of time so they aren't complete strangers.

If you only have one dog, boarding or having a service would be acceptable. For us, it was cost-prohibitive to try to board up to 6 dogs for 1-2 weeks!

Keep in mind that going on vacation is a big change for your dog, and any option will cause them some stress. Boarding kennels are used to this & should have adequate protections in place to prevent accidental escapes, but anyone watching your dog @ their home or yours needs to be very diligent to make sure that nothing happens which leads to your coming home to a missing pet.

Given that your dog is new to the family, I think a reputable boarding kennel would be the safest option. If something were to happen @ your home, the dog might not be familiar enough with the area to know to come back, and loose dogs can become feral very quickly when scared/disoriented.

Since you do go on small vacations frequently, for the long term you might want to look into finding someone that can either take your pooch @ their place, or is willing to stay at yours. Have them come over so your dog can become familiar with them, & if care would be @ their place, plan a few small trips with you to their house for familiarization. That way, when you leave your dog with them, the only significant change will be your absence, & having a place/person they know will help keep your dog from stressing out.

Best of luck! T. :)

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answers from Norfolk on

My sister used a house sitter until the sitter brought her boyfriend in, threw a party and drank up the contents of the liqueur cabinet.
Now she boards her dogs at a kennel, locks up her house and turns the security system on when she goes away.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

I take my dog with me when I can, but that's not always an option.
We also have cats and a rabbitm, who can't come.
I have family members come over and take care of the animals.



answers from Sacramento on

Our dog goes to a local indoor kennel that's attached to a vet. She gets four walks a day and does well there. For us, a dog sitter wouldn't work. Our dog has to be in her crate when we're not here, so she'd spend most of her day in a crate. She'd be really anxious if we left her at home alone.



answers from Las Vegas on

Petsmart has a really good doggie daycare. We have other Doggie Daycare places here. We also have doggie sitters that come to your house and stay with your pet while your gone.



answers from Los Angeles on

bro in law or hubby's cousin comes over each day. we do the same for them


answers from Santa Fe on

I make friends with other people who have a dog and eventually I find someone who I can swap with. We watch their dog when they are gone and I bring my dog to their house when we are gone. That way my dog is living in a house with other people, getting walks, attention, and it is free! I do this everywhere we have lived. When I had two dogs and it was a short trip I have paid a neighbor to come over and feed them twice a day and walk them once. We had a doggie door so they could go in and out. But they get lonely. I have also paid a college aged girl who loves animals to stay at our house and be a house sitter. We no longer live near her, and where we live now this is too expensive. I have luckily never had to kennel my dog. So, the best option is always to have a friend that can swap dogs with me. The dogs like it too...they have another dog to play with for a while.



answers from Dallas on

We have a doggie door, so all we need to worry about is food. We either hire our neighbor or ask family to stop by to feed and love on our dogs.


answers from Springfield on

we arrange for family to care for our dogs. my brother boards his.
both options work

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