Holiday Vacation: Where will you leave your dog?

North Bend resident and pet trainer for Miss Lola’s Academy for Wayward Dogs, Melissa Grant, explores the options for pet owners who also like to get away from it all during the holidays.


The holidays are here again and our thoughts are turning to family visits or perhaps a vacation on a tropical island. After the initial excitement over plans of a fun trip wears off, your thoughts turn to wondering what to do with your four-legged pals. When I was a kid we boarded our family dog at our local Humane Society. While this is still an option today, there are many more choices when it comes to making our beloved pets happy while we go on vacation.

As a new puppy owner, I am considering my choices as well. I have no current plans to leave town, but I want to make sure I have a reliable option for any future plans. The best pet sitters and boarding facilities book up fast and early. It’s good to know where Fido will go long before you have a need. If you’ve ever tried to book a trip on short notice, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Let’s take a look at some of those pet care options

Boarding your dog

Boarding can mean a couple of different things. It could mean a kennel at the vet or the Humane Society or a commercial pet hotel/ranch. It could also mean taking your dog to someone who allows an extra dog or two in their home; a professional, friend or relative.

I personally prefer taking my dog to the home of a friend, relative or pet care professional who knows and loves my dog like I do. However, this isn’t always an option. If your dog is friendly and sociable they can easily adapt to a kennel environment for short periods of time. I suggest that you start early introducing your pooch to this kind of boarding so that their comfort level is high.

Even if you aren’t currently traveling, a weekend getaway for Fido is a good way to familiarize with him with boarding. Ask your vet, friends and family for their recommendations. Once you have narrowed it down to a few, check their reviews and visit the facility. Ask to see the accommodations and check to make sure it’s clean. A good professional place will be happy to give you a tour.

Pet sitters

When you leave pets home, another option is to hire a pet sitter to either stay with your pet or periodically check them during the day. This can be a good option for shy, old or pets who are not well socialized. They get to sleep in their own beds and not be stressed by many other animals. If they require specialized care there are sitters who dispense medications.

The advantage of an in-home sitter is that your home looks occupied and someone is there to take out the trash, get your mail and water your plants. However, this option can be tremendously costly. If you choose to have pet checks only, your pet may spend long hours alone, and if something goes wrong it could be hours before it’s discovered.

Again, be sure to get recommendation and references from the sitter. It’s a good idea to make sure the pet sitter and Fido or Kitty know each other before you leave.

Take him with you!

This would be my favorite option. I love to take my dog to take my dog with me on most of my vacations. If it’s a road trip it’s probably doable, as long as you check your accommodations ahead of time to make sure pets are accepted. Long air flights can be hard on pets if they have to be crated in the baggage area. Just make sure to check pet rules everywhere you are visiting.

Whatever you decide to do with your pets, be sure it’s the right solution for their individual needs and personality. Book early and have more than one option available in case another fails. These are just a few examples of ways you can ensure your pets are safe and satisfied while you are out-of-town.

Good luck and happy holiday from Bee and me. Woof!

traveler pet

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  • Honestly, I would love to take my dog with me when I travel for vacation or for work, but that isn’t always practical. A lot of places that I go to don’t always allow dogs and I definitely wouldn’t want to leave mine in a hotel room all day. Because of that, I board my dog with a kennel and have been doing so since he was a puppy. I definitely agree with this post when it says to start doing that early so that they are more comfortable with it.

  • Living Snoqualmie