Leaving your dog behind

What should you do with your four-legged friend when you go on vacation? For most pet owner’s it’s a trip to the boarder, but is that the best option for your dog, or just the best (and cheapest) option for you?

Leaving Chipper and Buffy behind while I go on vacation.
Leaving Chipper and Buffy behind while I go on vacation.

For over 8 years, I took Cassie almost everywhere with me since the vet told me no borders, groomers, dog parks, stores, or doggie daycare since she suffered from an autoimmune disease when she was young, then a suppressed immune system while she took chemotherapy pills. We planned vacations around Cassie’s needs so we did lots of camping trips and long car rides. She stayed at my mom’s house the few times I couldn’t take her along. But Mom passed away two years ago, so what could I do?

Figure out what is best for your dog.

I decided to pay a neighbor to visit our house 4 – 6 times each day to let the dogs out, take them for walks, and feed them. This has worked well for Buffy and Chipper. Cassie passed away before I could do this, which may have been a good thing in disguise due to her high level of anxiety. I had concerns she would worry herself sick.

Hire – yes, I said hire. For the care I desired and the number of visits each day – you need to pay someone. Trust the person you hire. You are leaving them to care for your most precious possessions, plus your house, so trust who you hire, who is probably not the neighbor’s teenager. I pay them close to what I would pay a dog sitting service and the results have been good. With neighbors I have more flexibility and my dogs know them. Make sure to leave detailed instructions with multiple phone numbers for you and also your vet.

If you decide to bring your dog with you, research your options. During the summer you can’t leave your dog in the car for more than a few minutes or you risk heat stroke. So make sure the parks and facilities you visit are dog friendly and know the rules. At least one trip was cut short due to us being caught bending the rules.

Do what is least stressful for your dog.

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