What to Do with Your Pet While You’re Away From Home

Your bags are packed, tickets are in hand, and the airport ride is outside. You seem to have everything you need for your trip… except one thing. He comes bouncing over to you with his tail wagging, unsure about how long you’ll be gone. “See you soon, buddy,” you say. Your reassurance makes him think that today will be just like any other day—gone for eight hours and back before dusk. But you, knowing that this time away will be longer, feel guilty for leaving your best friend behind.

The guilt can stop right there. Your absence doesn’t mean that your dog or cat needs to be left alone. There are several options for high-quality overnight pet care that will allow you to rest easy when you have to be away from home.

Trade Favors with Friends and Neighbors

Your friends who have pets will eventually need a sitter of their own, so why not trade favors? Offer to watch their pets while they’re away, and ask if they can watch yours while you’re away. That way, your pets get the personal treatment and a playmate to spend the day with, while you can avoid having to send them off to a far-away land.

Drop Him Off with a Dog-Loving Friend

You’d be surprised at how willing some of your friends might be to watch your pets. Dog lovers who don’t have dogs of their own usually have an itch to scratch, and your overnight trip could give them the opportunity for some doggie time without the commitment. Think about which of your friends shows your dog the most attention when they come over or the one who likes every cat photo you post on Instagram. Here are some tips on having friends watch your dog

Hire a Walker

Cats are generally lower maintenance, as they don’t need to be taken out for exercise, but dogs need bathroom breaks as well as feedings. You can find a reputable dog walker or cat sitter in your neighborhood, ask your neighbors or local vet for recommendations, or find an in-demand dog walker online. A pet sitter allows you to keep your pet in the comfort of his home. Whether you’re interested in full-day pet sitting or an overnight caretaker, you can find one on the internet. You can interact with your dog while you’re away if you install a pet camera that allows you to video chat.

Consider Boarding Your Pet

Crated or caged boarding gives each animal personal space while allowing for social time with other dogs. Cage-free dog boarding allows them to play and interact with other dogs instead of living in a solitary cage, but it’s not suitable for everyone. Make sure you only go this route if your dog plays nice with other dogs. It might be a good idea to send your dog to the daycare beforehand to meet the other dogs before dropping him off for days at a time.

Board Him at the Vet

Many vet offices offer boarding to non-patients. The benefit of doing this is that you get to leave your dog with someone who knows him and will take care of him. The disadvantage is that your dog might not have playmates and might be left alone overnight. If you go this route, check to see if your vet is AAHA-accredited for high standards of veterinary excellence.

Now that you’ve decided that you’re comfortable leaving your pet behind while you travel, make sure you do your due diligence. Take time to read reviews and scope out the caretaker or boarding facility before you commit. Make sure the friend watching your pet is trustworthy, responsible, and communicative. Ensure your pet up to date on vaccines, and remember to pack his comfort items if he’s getting boarded. And finally, enjoy your vacation while your pet enjoys his. Your dog will be so excited upon your return that he’ll forget you were ever gone.