Summer is just around the corner, which means barbecues, ice cream, and what’s arguably the best part of the summer season—vacation.
Vacations are a great time to get away, relax, and recharge. But as a dog parent, you can’t just take off on a whim. Before you head off on your next vacation, you need to figure out what you’re going to do with your pet.
But what, exactly, are your options? Should you take your dog with you? If you leave your dog at home, who should take care of him? And how can you get your dog—and yourself—ready for your extended time apart?
Let’s take a look at some ideas for what to do with your dog on vacation:
Option #1: Take your dog with you
Depending on where you’re going on vacation, where you’re staying, and what you plan on doing when you’re there, taking your dog on vacation could be an option. But there are definitely a few things you’ll want to consider, including:
- Transportation. If your vacation destination is only an hour away by car, then bringing your dog along for the ride likely won’t be a problem. But if you have a 20-hour plane journey with multiple layovers, that’s just not going to be ideal with your dog in tow. Before you decide whether you should bring your dog on vacation, look at your transportation schedule; if it’s too long or complicated, it probably won’t be comfortable for your dog.
- Destination and accommodations. Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind when deciding whether to travel with your dog? Where you’re going—and where you’re staying once you get there. Is your vacation destination dog-friendly? And, if so, is your hotel, resort, rental, or other vacation accommodations dog-friendly as well? If the answer to either of those questions is no, you’ll want to leave your pet at home.
- Your planned itinerary. Chances are, you’ve got a lot planned for your vacation. How does your dog fit into that itinerary? Can you bring your pet with you to most of your planned activities or will he need to be left behind? If your dog is going to spend most of your vacation sitting alone in your hotel room, it’s probably best not to bring him.
- Your dog. Some dogs do great in new situations—but for other dogs, a sudden change in scenery can be stressful. While you might consider your vacation to be the height of relaxation, if your dog tends to get anxiety away from home, it could cause him unnecessary stress.
Option #2: Leave your dog with friends or family
If you decide not to take your dog along on vacation, that means you need to leave him at home. But someone has to watch him!
If you have friends or family in the area, you could ask them to watch your dog. They can either stay at your house while you’re away—or, if they’d rather stay home, you can swing by and drop off your dog before you head out on vacation.
But what if you don’t have any friends or family to watch your dog—or all your friends and family are with you on your vacation? In that case, it’s time to move on to option #3.
Option #3: Hire a dog sitter
One of the best options for what to do with your dog while you’re on vacation? Hire a pet sitter, of course!
Hiring a qualified pet sitter is a win for you and your dog. Your dog gets a pet-obsessed person to stay home and play with—and you get to enjoy your vacation guilt-free, knowing that your pet is getting plenty of walks, treats, and belly rubs while you’re away. Just make sure to arrange a meet and greet for yourself, your pet sitter, and your dog before you leave for your vacation; that way, your dog can get accustomed to their new friend (and you can give your pet sitter any information they might need about your dog).
If you need a pet sitter, we can help! At Rover, you can browse through thousands of trusted pet sitter profiles to find the perfect match for your pet’s vacation needs, whether that’s house sitting, regular walks, or a pet sitter who can host your dog in their home. And because Rover displays reviews for our pet sitters, you can easily get a feel for other people’s experiences with each pet sitter—and rest assured knowing your dog is in good hands during your vacation.
With the Rover app, you can also get updates on your dog (including walk reports, pictures, and messages from your sitter) throughout your vacation—so you don’t have to spend too much time wondering what your pet is up to while you’re gone.
Option #4: Board your dog at a local boarding facility
If you decide not to go with a pet sitter, you can also look into booking your dog at a local boarding facility or pet hotel. Just make sure to do your research! When scouting potential places to board your dog, you’ll want to make sure your dog will get plenty of interaction (including regular walks and play time) while you’re gone. You should also check out the facility to make sure it’s clean and has a comfortable sleeping area for your pet.
How to get your dog ready for vacation
If you decide to leave your pet behind while you’re on vacation (whether with a friend, family member, dog sitter, or at a local boarding facility), there are a few steps you’ll want to take to make sure your dog is happy, healthy, and comfortable:
- Spend some extra time together before you head out. Your dog is going to miss you while you’re on vacation (and, let’s be real—you’re going to miss him even more). Before you head out, carve out some extra time to spend with your pet.
- Get your dog’s food and medications ready. A few days before you leave, make sure you have enough food and treats on hand to last your entire trip. If your dog is on any medications, make sure you have enough of the medication to carry through until you get back—and, if not, make sure to call your vet for a refill.
- Gather your dog’s belongings. The day before you leave, pull together everything your dog is going to need while you’re away, including food, treats, medications, toys, and his bed. If your dog is staying at home with a friend, family member, or pet sitter, just put it all in a place that’s easily accessible. If your dog is staying elsewhere, pack it up in a bag for easy transport.
- Leave clear instructions. Write down any and all instructions someone will need to take care of your dog—including feeding schedules, walking schedules, and instructions for medications—and give them directly to the person (or boarding facility) who will be looking after your pet while you’re away. Make sure to also include contact information for you, your vet, and an emergency contact.
Go enjoy your summer vacation
Summer is a time to get out there and enjoy some downtime. And with a little extra planning, not only will your summer vacation be fun for you, but it’ll also be a positive experience for your pet—whether you take him with you or leave him at home.