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Leaving Pets Home While on Vacation

Petmate Academy

September 7, 2021

Planning a vacation can be both fun and stressful, but what do you do when you have pets? If you're heading out of town soon and are trying to figure out arrangements for your pet, keep reading! We're going to go over some pet vacation care options so you can make the most of your trip, knowing your pet is safe and taken care of.


This may be the first question to ask yourself, and the answer depends on your specific pet and its needs. Some pets, such as cats, will do fine being left at home for short trips since they don't require much looking after, as long as your leave out plenty of extra food and water (pro-tip: gravity waterers and feeders are perfect for this situation). Dogs, however, require a lot more care and attention since they needs to be let outside and taken on walks, so you have a bit more to consider.

Leaving your dog home alone while you're on vacation might be a good option for your pet if they are naturally anxious and timid when it comes to leaving your house or riding in the car. Dogs with separation anxiety or behavioral issues may benefit from being left at home as well. What are the options for leaving your dog at home? There are a few things you can do:

  • You can have a family member or close friend watch your dog. This can be a great option, especially if your dog is already comfortable around your friend or family member. However, comfort isn't the only thing to take into consideration. You want to be sure you're picking someone who is responsible, will follow your rules, and will give your dog the attention it needs. You may also want to pay your friend or family member in exchange for watching them. Don't expect that just because they're family, they'll dog sit for free!
  • You can hire a pet sitter to watch your dog. If you don't live near family or have close friends who are able to watch your dog while you're away, you may want to consider hiring a pet sitter or dog sitter to come into your home. Professional pet sitters are a great option and have a lot of experience handling dogs. The one downside is that they can be pretty expensive, so if you know this is the route you want to go, be sure to budget for it ahead of time!
a dog sitting with a pet sitter on a couch



Looking for a less expensive option? If your pet if comfortable being out of the home, it can be cheaper to bring them to a pet sitter's house while you're away on vacation. It also might be a fun change of pace for your dog to stay somewhere else! However, it can be helpful to bring along some comfort items from home for your dog, such as their favorite toys or a blanket or T-shirt with your scent. This can help reduce their anxiety while they're away from home.

Whether you decide to leave your dog at home or bring them to a sitter's house, you'll want to make sure that you leave detailed notes with your dog's routine (when you take them out, when you feed them, etc.) as well as what to feed them, how much to feed them, what they're allowed and not allowed to do (no jumping on furniture, etc.) or any of their quirks or habits you want the sitter to be aware of. It's highly recommended to visit the sitter's home and check out the environment beforehand.


a group of dogs playing on a dog playground at a boarding kennel


Another option while you're away is boarding your dog at a kennel. Many kennels these days are almost like mini resorts for your dog! Some of them have features such as doggy spas, playrooms, walking trails, and more! However, not every dog will enjoy being left at a kennel. If your dog is anxious to leave the house or is not well socialized with other dogs, you should try to find a way to leave them at home with a sitter.


One worry may pet owners have when leaving their pet at home, especially for the first time, is that their pet will think you've abandoned them. It can be helpful to remember, though, that your dog's sense of time is different that your own! Even though you may be gone for a few days, there's a chance it may only feel like a few hours for your dog. As stated earlier, leaving plenty of comfort items and toys for your dog can be a great way to ease their anxiety. It's also helpful to keep your goodbyes short. Dogs can easily pick up on anxiety or negative emotions, so keep things short and sweet! Another thing you can try doing is calling your sitter to check in on how things are going. This not only gives you peace of mind, but it can allow a chance for your dog to hear your voice while you're away.


While it may be hard to leave your four-legged friend for the first time (or the fifth or sixth), don't stress too much. There are plenty of options for keeping them happy and healthy while you're gone, and before you know it, you two will be reunited again. Bon voyage!




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