What to Do with Your Dog When You Travel

Traveling on business or for vacation? Great!  But what to do with your dog while you’re away? The Dog Trainer discusses 5 boarding options and how to choose the best one for your pet.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
5-minute read
Episode #155

What to Do with Your Dog When You Travel

So you’re traveling on business or going away for vacation. You can leave Dogalini home with a sitter, board her at someone else’s home, or board her at her regular day care or a dedicated boarding kennel. Oh, and there’s a local vet who offers boarding, too. Which do you choose?

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Option #1: The Vet’s Office (Not the Best Choice)

Let’s knock out one easy target first: boarding at the vet’s office. This might be a reasonable option for an animal who has a chronic illness that needs careful monitoring. Or conceivably you live in a region where real estate is cheap, and your vet’s offices include a separate day care/kennel area where animals can be boarded in comfort. But your healthy dog does not need to spend a weekend or a week in a hospital-size cage hearing the cries of animals in distress and potentially exposed to infectious diseases. Neither does your healthy cat.

Having someone stay at your home isn’t cheap, but may be well priced if you have multiple animals to care for.

Option #2: Pet Sitter at Your Home

My own preference is to have someone stay with my animals in my house. There are obvious concerns: cost, security, and privacy. Because we have cats as well as a dog, pet care is going to be expensive regardless; the total cost of having someone stay with our animals isn’t much higher than kenneling + a cat sitter would be. But it has to be admitted that an in-home sitter is not the bargain route to animal care.

As for privacy and security concerns, choose someone whose reliability and honesty are already demonstrated; our dog sitter is also our longtime dog walker, whose family is close to that of a dear friend of ours. If you need to hire a sitter who’s not personally known to you, get references! And many good sitters belong to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, which also offers a certification program.  


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).