There’s no place like home for the holidays, for sure. But if getting there means you’ll be traveling this holiday season, now is the time to start making plans for how, and where. your best friend will spend the season. Traveling can be tough on your dog, and sometimes your best friend does have to stay behind. Certainly no one cares for your dog as well as you do, but will a dog-sitter or boarding kennel be a better fit for you and your dog? Here are a couple of things to consider when making your decision:
While your dog may not have all the comforts of home in a boarding or kennel stay, he will have the opportunity to play and socialize with other dogs while you’re gone. This sure makes the option and easier choice for active dogs who get along well with others. Plus, you’ll feel better knowing he/she is getting some exercise, making new friends and having a little fun while you’re gone! Your dog will certainly get more attention in this environment, and be monitored by staff who are trained to do so. Bonus points if your boarding facility is part of a veterinary clinic should you have worries about your dog’s health, or should any accidents or injuries happen while you’re away. Boarding or kenneling is also an excellent consideration if your trip involves a longer stay or airline travel, which can be particularly stressful to pets. Downsides? There’s always the potential your dog could get hurt or sick while you’re gone, so make sure the facility has quick access to veterinary care, that all visitors and guests are required to have up-to-date vaccinations, and that kennels are clean and kept that way.
If your dog is older, less social or a serious homebody, choosing a dog sitter may be a less-stressful option for you both. Keeping your dog at home can keep them closer to their routine even if you aren’t at home. Your dog will likely have less stimulation and less activity than when you’re in the picture, but regular feedings, walks and some playtime on their own turf can all be part of the plan. An added bonus here is the coming and going of the dog sitter will create a continuous level of activity at your home while you’re out, making it less of a target for thieves. Certainly, things can happen while you’re away, and your dog can get sick or hurt even when in the familiar environment of his own home. If you’ll be gone for an extended period of time, perhaps the neighbor kid isn’t the best option here. Consider a professional dog sitting service that can monitor your pet for any warning signs that something is wrong, and is beholding via contract to provide specific services for your pet.
Still not sure how to handing things this holiday? Ask your veterinarian for their recommendations. They’ll likely know your pet and their personality. Ask other dog owners what’s worked for them. When making a decision on a boarding facility or dog sitter, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations and references, or schedule an in-person visit.