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,
June 24, 2013
Episode #155

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That having been said, the degree of care described on many kennels’ websites is truly impressive, with the dogs getting regular exercise walks, comfortable beds, and food-dispensing puzzle toys. In an earlier article, I explained how to choose a dog daycare; you can apply the same rules to any overnight boarding facility. A pretty website is nice, but visit to be sure the premises are clean and comfortable. You don’t want to smell either stale urine or enough bleach to make your throat sting.

How many daily toilet breaks are given? One place with an otherwise attractive website offers three daily outings as its standard – in my opinion, at least one too few for comfort.

If the facility allows dogs to mingle, be sure they’re screened for aggressive behavior toward other dogs. Outdoor play areas must be well fenced. Check the demeanor of the caretaking staff – are they gentle and soft-spoken, or could you mistake the place for the Parris Island boot camp with your eyes shut? Finally, while you can’t ask that every person on staff be a behavior professional, anyone who’s taking money to care for dogs should be up to speed on canine body language and should know better than to use pain, fear, or startle in handling dogs.

Option #5: Bring Your Dog on Your Trip

Of course, there’s always the dog care option of “bring with.” A confident, mannerly, crate-trained dog can make your outdoorsy vacation that much more fun. You and your Dogalini may even enjoy a city trip, if the place is sufficiently animal-friendly. For more, see my articles on car safety and plane travel with dogs. (For the record, I’m not a fan of the latter.)

Whether your dog comes with you or not, make sure he’s wearing his ID tags and his microchip is up to date. Give the sitter or boarding facility emergency contact information and clear instructions for his care, including guidance about how to make medical decisions for him if you can’t be reached. To cover costs, we give our sitter our credit card information, and we let our card issuer and our vet know in advance that any such charges are authorized. We have a long and trusting relationship with our sitter, of course. Otherwise, we might give the information to a nearby relative or close friend. Bon voyage!

You can follow me on Twitter, where I’m Dogalini. I’m The Dog Trainer on Facebook, and you can also write to me at dogtrainer@quickanddirtytips.com. I welcome your comments and suggestions, and though I can’t reply individually, I may use them as the basis for future articles. Thanks for reading.

Image of dog on vacation from Shutterstock