What to Do with Your Pets When You’re on Vacation

June 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Travel News & Tips

For those of us who own pets, we’ve come across this question before.  What do you do with your pet when you’re going on vacation?  Depending on the trip, you may consider taking your pet with you.  Though if you have a pet like ours, that may NEVER be an option.  Whether you plan to take your pet on vacation with you or leave them behind, here are some suggestions to help you make your decision.

Bringing your pet along

This can be an attractive option since your pet is part of your family. Leaving it behind can seem so wrong! Traveling with your pet is becoming more and more feasible as more hotels are becoming pet-friendly. If you’re taking a pet-friendly vacation and your pet loves to travel and travels well, this could be the best option.

However, having your pet along can limit what you do on your vacation.  Consider the type of activities you plan to engage in on vacation.  Many establishments including parks and beaches do not allow pets.  As a result, your pet may spend too much time alone in your hotel room. As well, travelling can be stressful for your pet especially one that isn’t comfortable away from home.

If you do choose to travel with your pet, search for pet-friendly hotels at OfficialPetHotels.com. They will give you a list of all the pet-friendly hotels in any given city with up-to-date verified pet policies.

Boarding your pet at a kennel

When pet owners decide to leave their pet behind during vacation, they often think of boarding their pet at a kennel. There are many types of kennels to choose from. Some are mom and pop operations and others are more like luxury hotels. Your vet may even offer boarding services. Kennels are popular choices because they offer different price ranges, and are a simple solution if you don’t have a friend or neighbour to help, or if you can’t afford a pet sitter. Before choosing a kennel, be sure to visit the location and observe how it’s run.  Make sure it’s clean and the people are friendly.  Talk to the manager and/or employees and find out exactly where your pet will be staying, what they will be doing, and who will care for them.

On the flip side, boarding your pet can be very stressful for the animal. They usually have only a small cage to themselves with limited exercise time. They are surrounded by other animals they don’t know. Though kennels can provide very good care, the staff won’t give your furry friend the quality care and attention they’re used to.

Pet sitting

Another option is to hire a pet sitter to come into your home and care for your pet. This is a desirable option because your pet can stay in its home, and not deal with the stress of having to leave. As well, a professional pet sitter can follow your pet’s normal routine and schedule. The pet sitter can also water your plants, pick up the mail, and give your house that lived-in look while you’re away.

There are professional pet sitters for hire, or you may want to hire a student or friend. On the downside, hiring a professional pet sitter can be expensive. Even if you choose to use a student or a friend, it can be stressful for you to have someone stay in your home while you’re not there.  Ask friends or neighbors who own pets for pet sitter recommendations.  They may know of someone you can trust to allow in your home.


If you have a neighbor who likes pets, or who at least likes your pet, enlisting them to care for your pet while you’re on vacation may be an option. Your pet can stay in its own home while your neighbor comes by on a regular basis to walk, feed, and let the pet outside.  This is the option we normally use.  Our cat does not like to travel and gets extremely stressed out whenever he has to go anywhere.  However, he doesn’t like just anyone.  Consider which neighbors your pet is most comfortable with and ask them to help take care of your pet while you’re away.

One thing to consider before asking a neighbor to help is that this type of situation can put a strain on your relationship with your neighbor. When they need a favor later on, they may expect you to help them because they helped you out. Also, it can be uncomfortable having your neighbor in your home while you’re not there.

While you’re making your travel plans, remember to carefully plan what to do with your pet while you’re on vacation. It’s most important that your pet has a safe, healthy, and happy experience with you or while you’re away.  No one option is the best for every pet owner, and what works for you this time may not be the best option for your next trip.

Presented by:
Sima Kimble

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