What should I do with my dog while I’m on vacation?
My wife and I are going on a much needed one-week vacation next month. We can’t take our chihuahua with us and we have no idea what we’re going to do with her. Should we leave her with friends, hire a pet-sitter, board her at a kennel? We are totally stressed out about this and really need some advice.
I totally understand what you’re going through, and it’s good that you started thinking about this in advance. Dogs are much more attached to their people than to their place of dwelling. I use that rule when deciding what to do with my dogs when I go on vacation. Here are my choices from most to least ideal:
- Take the dogs with me if possible (Note: I would choose options 2-4 before subjecting them to a long, stressful plane ride)
- Ask a friend or family member who knows my dogs to stay at my house
- Send my chihuahuas to that friend or family member’s house
- Hire a dogsitter to stay at my house
- Boarding at a kennel
People ask me if it’s ok for them to leave their dogs alone at home for a few days with extra food and water. I strongly advise against this!
While it’s fairly common for cat owners to do this, dogs get stressed out when they are left alone for an extended period of time. Dogs are lost without their leaders. Some dogs refrain from eating when they don’t know when their owners are coming back. Exercise, routine, socialization and pack order are so important for dogs that they really need a human authority around to maintain structure in their owner’s absence.
Boarding at a kennel is my absolute last choice. If the best I could do is to have a friend drop by a few times a day to check on my dogs at home, I would choose that over a kennel. Boarding is especially hard for dogs who were in shelters before, they might feel like they’re being abandoned again, this could cause behavior problems when the dog comes home again.
If you must board, you should visit the kennel in person and get a gut feeling for the place. There are many questions to ask before boarding, I’ll address that in another post.Share