Caring for Your Dog When You’re Away

When you vacation, it’s tough to leave your dog behind. There are some important things to consider before you go.

Everyone needs to get away. Dog owners are no different, but vacations are not always a good idea for dogs. In these situations, you’ll need to find another way to care for your dog while you’re away. The most common options are pet sitters and boarding kennels. If you don’t know of any off-hand, ask your veterinarian or friends for recommendations.

Pet Sitters
A pet sitter is a good idea if you worry about your dog traveling to a kennel or being in unfamiliar surroundings while you’re gone. Many pet sitters can also help out with other household tasks, such as taking in the newspaper and mail. There is a lot to consider when hiring a pet sitter, though

  • Experience: If you want to use a neighbor or friend you trust as a pet sitter, make sure they know what they’re doing. It’s not a good idea to hire someone who is not a dog owner. Though you may trust them more, if they don’t have experience working with dogs, they won’t be able to offer the same quality of care. The other option is to hire a professional pet sitter. Professional pet sitters offer qualified, experienced care and the peace of mind that comes with a trained individual.
  • Insured & Qualified Professional: When choosing a professional pet sitter, check to make sure the service you are using comes with commercial liability insurance and protection against theft.You should also check the qualifications of the pet sitter. Ask them how they were trained, how they plan on caring for your pet, and whether they know what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure your dog will be getting enough food, exercise and interaction.
  • Conduct an Interview: To determine the best pet sitter for your dog, you could interview various candidates. This way, you can introduce them to your dog, and see if they interact well.

No matter how qualified, the pet sitter is always going to need a little help from you. Go over your dog’s needs with the sitter before you leave. Make sure his vaccinations are up to date, and his identification is affixed to his collar. Also, don’t forget to leave your number and your veterinarian’s number for the sitter.
Boarding Kennels
Another option is a boarding kennel. Boarding kennels offer a place where your dog can be looked after by professionals, without giving them access to your home. It is important to do some research before leaving your dog at a boarding kennel.

  • Kennel Standards: When choosing a boarding kennel, make sure the facility meets your state’s mandated standards, if there are any. If there aren’t, you can check to see if the kennel is a member of The Pet Care Services Association or has been accredited by the American Boarding Kennels Association, organizations which ensure the facility is up to par.
  • Site Visit: Try to visit the kennel before you leave your dog there. You can tour the facilities and ensure that they are clean and provide adequate care for your dog. Check to see if there is enough room for your dog to exercise and that the area is properly secured.
  • Daily Plan: You also may want to talk to the supervisors at the kennel to make sure your dog will be provided with enough exercise and that he will receive his food and medicine regularly.

When you decide on a kennel, leave them with the proper information on your dog’s needs. If you think it will help your dog with the unfamiliar environment, ask the kennel if he can bring his bed or some favorite toys.

With both a pet sitter and a kennel, make sure you contact and book them early. Many services fill up quickly, especially during the summer. The sooner you know your dog’s plans, the better you’ll feel about yours.