Dog Boarding or Dog-Sitting: Tips for Traveling Without Your Pooch
Any dog parent knows that travel can be stressful when you can’t take your dog or cat with you. We’ve all heard the horror stories about an irresponsible dog sitter or the boarding facility that won’t let their dogs out of the kennels all day. But sometimes, it’s just not possible to take your dog with you. However, there are plenty of quality, reliable dog care options available. You just have to know how to look.
Dog boarding is a great option that is often overlooked. If you’re worried that your dog will spend his days in a cage, don’t be. Most facilities now have large runs for dogs to play in and some even include indoor rooms for the small and shy. If the boarding facility has a large number of guests, most will schedule playtime with compatible playmates or take the dogs out for walks or day trips to the park. Easy-going and socialized dogs will love kennels where they have free range of a new area and new friends. Two things to keep in mind when looking for a dog boarding facility:
- Start your research with online reviews. Red flags to keep an eye on in the reviews are dogs that refuse to return to the facility, show signs of distress (shaking) upon return, or those that exhibit a subdued emotional state after the stay. Read the dog and his attitude, any time they’re willing to return is a great sign.
- Visit the facility before your scheduled stay. Once you’re comfortable with an option, do a walkthrough of the facility and meet the staff. Good businesses will let you tour the building and the area where the dogs will stay and play. Pay attention to the current guests and how they act and play. At this time, you can also make pre-arrangements for food or requests for special medical attention at this time.
If your dog doesn’t do well around others or suffers from separation anxiety, consider a dog sitter either at your home or theirs. A few things to keep in mind when considering the dog sitting option:
- Ask your family or friends. Don’t overlook those that know you and your relationship with your dog best. If they don’t mind having a houseguest for a while, this could be your least stressful option.
- If your dog is a guest in another’s home make sure the sitter is aware of your dog’s nuances like weird bathroom breaks, walking habits, anxiety chewing, etc. If your dog requires special attention, make sure to prep and help dog-proof the sitter’s home.
- Consider your dog’s age, health and anxiety levels. If your dog is high strung, in poor health or senior, the best option may be for them to stay in your home while you’re away. Staying at home can help decrease the stress level and keep them relaxed. Your home smells like you and reminds them of you and keeping them around familiar scents can be very comforting. Keep in mind that if the dog does stay in your home, you may need to sacrifice less human interaction as most sitters will only stop by for walks or feeding. For dogs that crave attention, this can be tough.
It’s important that you know that your dog in good hands while you’re away but more important, that your dog is happy and getting the attention they need. By taking a few precautions and figuring out what works best for both you, you’ll find that your dog may enjoy their vacation as much as you do yours.
Laruen Colman serves as the digital marketer for the dog boarding and dog sitting community at Rover.com and is a true dog lover at heart. Lauren spends her days at the office with her dogs Squish and Brando by her side. For more dog tips, you can follow Rover.com on Twitter @roverdotcom or on their blog, Dog Boarding News.
Image credit: pulled from the Rover community