Where to Leave My Dog When Travelling or on Vacation

Taking a holiday is supposed to be a relaxing experience, but if you’ve never left your dog alone before it can be a bit worrisome. Whether it’s a full holiday or just a few days away, there will come a time when you’re  not going to be home with the dog for the night. While some animals can fend for themselves for a little longer, dogs require some pretty constant care! In the best case scenario your dog can come with you, but this isn’t always possible. Luckily, you have a lot of options in this kind of situation. A common one is to leave your dog at a dog hotel, however there are some alternatives too.

Where to Leave My Dog When Travelling or on Vacation

When you’re leaving your dog for a night or a few nights, there are options beyond traditional boarding. Dog hotels are like kennels, but a bit fancier! Rather than just being a holding area for your dog, many dog hotels now have a wide range of amenities and activities for your pet, helping to give them a fun break too. Alternatively, you could go for an option that gives your dog a more normal experience. You can have someone look after your dog in your home, or in-home borders. These are dog sitters that ‘adopt’ your dog for the duration that you’re away, letting them into the house to live with them. Any of these can help if you have a busy lifestyle.

There’s also the option of getting a family member or friend to look after your dog, although this really depends on your personal situations. There are a lot of different options, but which is right for your pet? There are a few things you’ll need to consider to make your mind up. Each of the possible homes away from home has a different benefit for a different type of dog. This is what you’ll need to think about:

Dog Hotels and the Alternatives

Dog hotels aren’t suited to every pet. These are the main alternatives and options, and which type of dog they’re going to be right for:

Dog Hotels 

The main option is to send your dog to an establishment set up just for this scenario! Dog hotels range from places where dogs are cared for in groups to full spa-like hotels with grooming and even paddling pools. These are a good choice if you’re looking to spoil your dog, but a pet that isn’t happy around other dogs might not enjoy their stay.

In-Home Boarding

This option is where your dog goes to live in another home for the period that you’re away. You can usually find these services and pick if your dog needs to be alone, or with other pets. This can work well for a dog that likes to remain in a familiar routine and is outgoing with people.


Kennels are like dog hotels but they tend to be a bit simpler! This is the more traditional way of caring for your dog when you’re away. They’re usually just a building with personal areas for each dog and an open enclosed space for exercise.

Dog Sitter

A dog sitter can come to your house to house-sit your pet. This has advantages like not taking your dog out of familiar territory. However, it can make some owners uncomfortable having a stranger in their home for an extended period.

Stay With Family or Friends

If you have family or friends that are willing and get along with your dog, sending them to stay there is a great solution. This one is quite limited though since not everyone has a friend or family member up to this task. 

What to Consider When Making Your Decision

Where to Leave My Dog When Travelling or on Vacation

Those are the main options available for your dog when you’re away. However, there isn’t an objective best out of this list! Different owners and different dogs are going to have certain needs. To make sure you’re choosing the right one for your dog, there are some important things you need to consider and think about. 


This is probably the most important thing that you need to think about when choosing an option. You need to do your research, no matter where it is that you’re sending them. If you’re going for a dog hotel or boarding then look for certifications. These should help you know that you’re leaving your pet with a professional. If it’s a more casual arrangement like a dog sitter or in-home boarding, then some certification or proof of past service should be easy to find too. It is important for building trust.

Before you commit to leaving your dog there, it might be helpful to have a look at the facilities yourself and meet the staff. This way you can see first hand how the dogs there are being treated, what conditions they’re in, and make a better judgment on if it is right for your dog or not. 

Sociable Dog or Not?

Some dogs love to spend time with others, but some are more solitary animals! This is one of the biggest factors in deciding what facility is right for your pet. A dog that doesn’t enjoy the company of strangers might not be too happy in someone else’s house. Equally, a dog that doesn’t like new dogs probably won’t have much fun being boarded with a large number of them!

If your dog is friendly and adventurous, then you’ve not got much to worry about! For more sensitive pets it is more difficult. This doesn’t have to rule any option out though. You can spend some time talking to people who run in-home boarding or dog hotels and see what they do for less sociable dogs. Most operations are going to be prepared for this eventuality, since a lot of dogs can become a little resistant to new people. If you’re happy that the steps they take to make your dog comfortable will alleviate the problem, then you can still send them there.

Do They Have any Special Considerations?

If your dog has special health conditions or temperament then they will have extra concerns from a dog hotel or alternative. You need to make sure where you’re leaving them is equipped to deal with any concerns. Like with dogs who are a bit unfriendly, speak to the operator beforehand. They should be able to tell you how they typically deal with situations like this. 

Special needs from a dog can mean that some options aren’t suitable for them. An anxious dog might struggle in a traditional kennel, but be happy in a more homely environment like in-home boarders. A dog with demanding medical needs might be too much for a dog sitter to handle, but most dog hotels will have people trained to deal with these things.

Separation Anxiety?

Where to Leave My Dog When Travelling or on Vacation

Separation anxiety is always going to be a factor if your dog hasn’t had to spend an extended period of time without you before. If your dog already suffers from this though, then you need to make an effort to reduce their stress. There are a few things you can think about for this. The first is sticking to their routine. You should try to leave them somewhere that can take this into account. You can also take the dog to visit the site before their stay and try to introduce it to them, this can help things to feel less overwhelming. Allowing them to take some favorite toys could help too.

How to Prepare to Leave Your Dog

When the day comes for your dog to go for a little stay somewhere, they’re going to need to be fully prepared. There are some things you should see too before you send them off, to make sure their transition goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Food – Some boarders or dog hotels might have a specific brand of food, but it can be beneficial for your dog to stick to their normal diet. Discuss this with them beforehand, and take the right amount with you. If possible bring a measuring cup or something to indicate how much they need to be fed and when. 
  • ID and Microchip – While this is always good advice, make sure your dog’s microchip and tag have up to date information! Most of the time, this won’t even come up. However, it can help with peace of mind to know that your dog can be easily traced back to you should an accident happen. 
  • Special Instructions – if your dog has any special needs or health requirements, writing them out clearly will be a good way to make sure the dog hotel or sitter knows what to do. Listing all of their needs makes sure that everyone is on the same page and prepared for your dog’s stay. 

Which Option is Right for You?

Those are the main options available to you when you’re leaving your dog somewhere overnight. Each of them suits a different type of dog though. Once you’ve thought about everything you need to consider, you should have a better idea of which one will suit your dog. Most pets would enjoy at least one of these options, so narrowing it down is often just a case of thinking about who can best meet your dog needs, and what you know they’ll most enjoy!

Where to Leave My Dog When Travelling or on Vacation

With a right dog hotel or alternative picked out, you can take some time away and be secure in the knowledge that your pet is having a good time too!

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