This blog post is kindly supported by Furbo.
Despite our best efforts and intentions, travelling with dogs isn’t always an option.
Some countries are not as dog friendly as others, while there are still some public transport options like the Eurostar that don’t let our furry friends on board.
Which means sometimes our only option is going on holiday and leaving our puppy or loving dog at home.
But any dog owner knows that this can be easier said than done.
Who do you leave your dog with?
Should you leave your dog home alone?
What other pet care is available while you’re on vacation?
All of this is enough to make even the most relaxed dog owner feel some sort of anxiety about leaving their dog at home while travelling.
This is where these tips come in!
Kai patiently waiting for us to come home… on our bed!
Top Tips For Leaving Your Dog At Home While On Holiday
To avoid causing unnecessary stress for your dog, it’s recommended that you make every effort to keep your dog at home in familiar surroundings.
Here are some things to try and top tips for leaving your dog at home while on holiday.
Please note that we would never condone leaving your dog home alone while on vacation. The following tips all centre around involving a trusted adult in your dog’s care while you’re away.
1. Ask a friend or family member to dog sit
If you’re fortunate enough to have a friend or family member that is happy to dog sit for you, then this is the perfect option to go for!
This should be dog sitting for you at your own home if possible so that your dog can be most comfortable.
You should instruct your dog sitter to keep their routine the same as when you’re at home, such as keeping to the same eating, walking and sleeping times.
2. Book a professional pet sitter
If you’re unable to find a friend or family member who can help, then you could try booking a professional pet sitter providing you’re planning your trip well in advance.
Although this will take up a sizeable chunk of your travelling budget (average prices are £30-50 per day), you’ll feel safe in the knowledge that your dog will be looked after by someone knowledgeable, trustworthy and experienced.
3. Invite a trusted house sitter into your home
If you can’t quite budget for a professional pet sitter, you could also try inviting a trusted house sitter into your home.
Although they may lack experienced dog handling skills, if you’re able to leave detailed instructions for them (more on that later) and your dog is fairly relaxed around different people, then you’ll likely find this a suitable option for shorter trips.
Kai really knows how to make himself comfortable doesn’t he?
4. Ask a neighbour to check in on your dog
Although it’s most recommended to leave your dog with 24/7 care, this isn’t always possible.
If you have a trusted neighbour nearby who is happy to check in on your dog, then they can ensure your dog is fed, watered, walked and played with while you’re away.
5. Leave behind detailed pet care instructions for your sitter
To ensure your dog receives the best pet care while you’re on vacation, you should leave detailed instructions for anyone looking after your dog while you’re away.
Think about things like:
- What is your dog’s routine? Dogs love routines; feeding times, walks and sleeping habits should be kept as close to normal as possible.
- How much do they eat at each meal? List how much meat, kibble or mixer biscuits should be given to your dog for each meal. Or – even better – portion out the food before you go away.
- What emergency processes do you have in place? Should something go wrong – heaven forbid – your sitter needs to know who to contact in the event of an emergency and who your dog’s vet is. You should also leave some details of how you can be contacted while on holiday too.
- What medication will your dog need? Whether your dog is on prescribed medication, or needs a flea or wormer tablet while you’re away, make sure all of this is noted down with details on when and how much your dog should have.
- Does your dog have any unusual behaviours or habits? Whether your dog paces while anxious, pulls on the lead or jumps up, you should list any unusual or abnormal habits or behaviour your dog often displays. This will ensure your sitter is aware of what may happen and how to handle these situations when they arise.
6. Use a camera to keep an eye on your dog while you’re away
Even if you’re leaving your dog at home with someone you trust, you might want to check in to see how your dog is doing, both for reassurance that everything is okay and for your own happiness as you may also be missing your best friend.
Rather than racking up a huge phone or Facetime bill, invest in a specially designed dog camera.
We’ve recently been gifted a Furbo, which not only has a good quality camera, but also has two-way speaking, bark alerts and treat-tossing functionality.
We initially had a couple of connection issues, but once it was completely setup and in use, it’s been perfect for checking in on our dog and keeping him entertained with dog treats.
One tip we do have is to either use part of your dog’s meals as treats or buy special low fat ones… just in case you get a bit trigger happy with throwing treats via the Furbo phone app!
Travel planning is a breeze when you know your dog is well looked after at home… although be prepared for him to give you puppy dog eyes to make Furbo throw more treats!
When You Can’t Leave Your Dog At Home…
Sometimes it’s not always possible to leave your dog at home.
Maybe you’re travelling for a two or three week trip.
Maybe you’re leaving your dog for a month or longer.
Maybe you don’t have any friends or family nearby.
Or maybe you’ve not yet met your neighbours, let alone trust them to keep an eye on things.
Here are some things you can try when you can’t leave your dog at home.
1. Board your dog with a professional pet sitter
Professional pet sitters don’t only have to do home visits. Often, you’ll be able to find trusted pet sitters who offer an at-home boarding service.
This will see your dog staying at their house for the length of your trip.
You should ensure your dog meets your pet sitter beforehand so that they’re comfortable staying with them in your absence and it’s best to leave your dog with some home comforts such as their own blanket and bedding or favourite toys. This goes for wherever your dog is staying during your holiday.
Kai giving me kisses and flowers after being away for a few days. Altogether now… aww!
2. Leave your dog at a friend or family member’s house
If you’ve got a more nervous dog, then staying with someone they know and recognise can be a great option.
If your friend or family member can’t stay at your house with your dog then the next best option is for your dog to stay with them during your holiday.
Remember to pack those home comforts though!
3. Board your dog at kennels
Although we’re not massive fans of kennels ourselves, we do understand that this is one of the most common methods of caring for dogs when on holiday and is sometimes the only available option.
If it’s your first time boarding your dogs at kennels, then you should visit the kennels before your trip to check you’re happy with the setup and care.
Here are some key questions and things to consider during this first visit:
- Where will your dog be kept? Consider how much space your dog will have in the kennel for sleeping, eating and playing, and whether they will be in a private or shared kennel.
- How much social time will your dog get? Find out how much of each day will be spent in the kennel versus playing with the other dogs and getting walks. It’s recommended that your dog is let out of the kennel for around 3-5 hours each day. If your dog is lacking a few social skills, find out how the kennels will deal with this as well. For example, will your dog be able to have his or her own outside space to play in? And can he or she be walked separately?
- How much will it cost? Ask how much it costs for each day/night, and check what this includes. Some kennels charge extra for heating, dog walks and food, so make sure that you know exactly what your final bill will be in advance so you can be sure your budget will stretch for everything your dog needs.
- What is your gut telling you? Let’s call it “dog owner intuition”. You’ll know better than anyone how your dog is likely to react when left at a kennel. Equally, you’ll get a gut feel during this first visit on the level of care your dog is likely to get in your absence. Whatever your gut is telling you, listen to it. When it comes to our precious fur babies, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Dogs make the most amazing friends, don’t they? Make sure they’re well looked after when you’re travelling!
Travelling Without A Dog Checklist
To summarise, here’s our quick travelling without a dog checklist:
- Will you be leaving your dog at home or boarding him or her somewhere?
- Do you need to hire a professional and make an advance booking?
- Have you written up some detailed pet care instructions for your sitter or boarder?
- What home comforts will you be leaving with your dog?
- Is your Furbo camera topped up with tasty dog treats?
We were kindly gifted our Furbo for free in exchange for this blog post. However, all advice, opinions, words and photos in this article are – as always – entirely our own! We’d never recommend a product we don’t like or haven’t used extensively ourselves.
Anyway, we hope these tips help you gain some reassurance when leaving your dog at home while on vacation! With a bit of advance preparation and tender loving care, you’ll ensure your dog has a great time while you’re away and that you’ll also enjoy your trip!
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