Tips for Leaving Fido During a Vacation
FiXiT President Stephanie’s, puppies at their favorite boarding center, Thee Dog House in Virginia Beach
Last week I gave you some tips on taking your dog for a trip in the car. This week I list some options for those that have decided to leave Fido at home. Fortunately, there is a wide array of options from basic boarding to an overnight pet-sitter.
You will need to provide current vaccination records to use boarding facilities, so make a visit to the vet, if neccessary. When possible, start testing out difference services well ahead of time: try out a daycare center or hire a pet sitter for daytime walks. Establishing these relationships ahead of time will make it less stressful for you and Fido when the time comes for an extended stay.
Do a little investigation.
Look into more than one option, regardless of the type of service you choose. Tour the facility. Ask lots of questions:
- How often/how much social time will the dog receive?
- Is there a vet on call?
- Do they accommodate your pet’s special needs (diet/meds)?
- When can you call to get an update? Or will they call/text you?
- Can they provide you with references?
Quality boarding facilities/pet sitters will fill up during popular vacation times. If fact, if you are thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas trips, it’s not a bad idea to reserve your space now.
Boarding keeps your home safe from a disappointed dog that may cause a little trouble. Multiple dogs can typically stay together, which is a money saver. Costs often are based on the weight of your dog and the number of extra services. Make sure to bring toys or bedding from home to make it less stressful and/or pack their favorite treats.
- Vet’s Clinic/Basic Boarding – This is often an essentials-only, but reliable boarding situation. But what better place for your dog to be if it gets ill? Of course, some clinics can offer additional services, such as grooming and social time, but on average this will be strictly basic care. Your dog will get walked and provided a clean and safe space, but it may not get a lot of individual attention.
- Daycare + Boarding Center – If your dog is a doggy dog and likes to play with others, this is just the ticket. In this environment, your dog will often receive hours of playtime to keep her distracted (and tired) while you are away. If your dog is shy, these daycares often offer one-on-one human companionship. A great thing about this option is that you can take advantage of the day care for a couple days before the trip to
- Luxury Hotels – There are also luxury boarding + daycare facilities that are clearly meant for the pampered pooch. In addition to lots of playtime, these centers can feature pools, massages, web cams, and gourmet treats. In fact, your dog may just have a better vacation than you!
Keeping your dog at home is another option, which is great if you have multiple animals, including cats, or if you would like some other basic home services, such as watering the plants or bringing in the mail. This is a nice option for those dogs that have a hard time with new dogs or the loud and potentially stressful kennel experience. If you are trying someone new, you can ask you new pet sitter to meet with you and your dog 1-2 times before your vacation to give your dog time to build a relationship.
- Daytime Visits – Often pet-sitting services can provide a daily multi-visit package that includes feeding, potty breaks, and playtime and/or walks. For socially needy dogs, this probably would not be great beyond a short trip. However, if you have a friend or neighbor that can help supplement the time and make regular check in’s, it may work for you.
- Overnight pet sitter – For dogs with separation anxiety, this is a nice option. Cuddling up on their own couch with all the comforts of their home or playing in their own yard can reduce the anxiety of a new person/loss of mom or dad.
- Slumber party at the pet sitter’s – While this is technically not staying at your house, staying at a pet sitter’s gives the luxury of 24/7 care and probably some entertaining playmates. This is often a little less expensive than the overnight at your house, but is limited to accommodating sitters.
Planning ahead will save you from a lot of worry and stress. Once you know you have made the right decision, you can use all your energy for enjoying your vacation!