If you own a dog, you will likely find yourself in situations where you need to travel and it’s impossible to take your dog. So, what should you do with your dog to give him the best opportunity for safety, comfort, and exercise while you are gone?
A great option is a dog sitter that comes to your home and stays with your dog in his environment. If you are lucky enough to find a trusting soul, please give her an extra-detailed note on caring for your dog (food, medications, nighttime routines, etc.), what to do in emergencies, and who a back up helper could be. The sitter will appreciate the extra details. Ask this person to walk your dog on leash at all times to reduce chances of runaways and other accidents. Have your sitter come to your place a few times before you leave so the dog can get used to her in the home environment. Have the sitter come over for a trial period while you leave the house for a short time.
The next option is asking a reliable, willing, and able friend or family member to take in your dog for the whole absence period. To reduce stress, find someone who can have your dog the whole time rather than juggling your dog between multiple homes. The same tools for this situation apply; a detailed note, leashed walks only, and early environmental introduction.
Another option is a boarding facility. A plus to this option is your dog will be able to be in 1 location the whole time during your absence. You and your dog should visit the facility prior to making reservations. Meet the staff and consider a trial period for an afternoon. Be sure the staff will accept you calling to check on your dog. In larger cities, you may even find a facility that has cameras, allowing you to check on your dog at anytime from a computer. Be sure you give the staff at the facility the same extra-detailed note you’d give your friends and family.
Crate trained dogs make all options easier and reduce stress for you, your dog, and the caretaker. Be sure to take your dog’s own crate, blankets, food, treats, food and water bowls, favorite toys, and leashes. For any of these options, request the caretaker leaves your dog’s collar with proper identification on at all times.