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Where should I leave my dog while I'm on vacation?

Even the most doting dog owner sometimes needs to be away from home. Do you know who you can rely on to care for your dog while you're away? Here, our Central Illinois vets share advice on what to do with your dog when you travel.

Pet Care While on Vacation

It can be challenging to find a safe, reliable place that you can trust your dog's care to while you're on vacation or away from home. Whether you are heading out of town to enjoy some sand and sun for a couple of weeks or are off on a business trip for a couple of days, you'll need to find appropriate care for your pooch.

Dog Boarding for Vacation or Time Away From Home

While it's true that pet boarding facilities were once dingy, grim places where animals remained locked in their cages for long periods, times - and expectations of pet owners - have certainly changed!

These days, boarding facilities are more than a roof over your dog's head - some seek to provide a truly warm, welcoming and social atmosphere for your pooch.

If you are deciding where to leave your dog while you're on vacation and looking for a boarding facility to take your dog to, make sure to check out a few different places in your area to find a facility that best suits the needs of your pet, and your wallet.

Facility Features

Price is generally a good indicator of the service level provided at a given dog boarding facility. You'll pay more if your pup will be treated to luxurious hotel-like spaces with comfy sofas to lounge on and TV to watch rather than a standard facility with fenced dog runs and roomy crates. 

If you'd like your pooch to enjoy an active adventure during their time there, a fun camp experience might be ideal. Dog camps across the country offer lots of time for your dog to explore the outdoors, in addition to added facilities for playing and swimming with other dogs, in some cases. 

While you narrow down your list of preferred kennels, remember that extravagant facility features don't necessarily equate to better care for your pet. 

Choosing the Level of Service That's Right for Your Dog

Dog care while you're on vacation is usually priced based on the level of service you choose. A standard kennel will cost less per day than luxury accommodations. 

Standard care for dogs at most pet boarding facilities includes:
  • A clean, roomy kennel for your pup to sleep in
  • Exercise time outdoors before breakfast so your dog can stretch their legs
  • Breakfast served in the kennel
  • Out of kennel playtime in the middle of the day to allow your pooch to burn some energy
  • Dinner served in the kennel
  • Evening bathroom break
Other services commonly available at pet boarding facilities:
If you are looking for something a bit more special than a standard boarding facility, many facilities also offer the following services:
  • Specialized veterinary care
  • Training
  • Grooming
  • Shuttle services to and from the facility

The Pros & Cons of Boarding Your Dog While You're On Vacation

  • Pros: Bringing your dog to a boarding facility for the time you'll be on vacation will ensure your pet will have a standardized daily routine that many dogs crave including meal times and exercise times on a regular schedule. Boarding also gives pets an opportunity to socialize with other animals. If your dog has a medical issue that requires medications or treatments, facilities with onsite vets and a team of veterinary professionals may be right for your pet while you're away.
  • Cons: Being away from home can be hard for some animals. Pets can become nervous or anxious in new environments which could lead to altercations with other animals at playtime. Pets in boarding facilities also face an increased risk of contracting contagious illnesses such as kennel cough in dogs or Feline Upper Respiratory Infection (colds) in cats.

Hiring a Dog Sitter

When interviewing for a dog sitter be sure to request a list of references as well as a list of qualifications. How much you will pay for a pet sitter will depend upon the level of service you choose for your pet.

Dog sitters can help to protect your home by keeping your place looking lived-in to any passers-by. Hiring a live-in pet sitter will allow you to rest assured that someone is caring for your home at night.

Extra Services Available From Some Pet Sitters:

If your dog requires more care than just feeding and being let out a few times a day, some pet sitters offer additional services such as:
  • Training
  • Grooming
  • Frequent walks
  • Housekeeping

The Pros & Cons of Hiring a Pet Sitter

  • Pros: The primary benefit of hiring this type of pet care while you're on vacation is that your dog may find it less stressful to stay at home. Other benefits of hiring a pet sitter include the increased security of having someone in your home, and pet sitters can be less expensive than some boarding facilities.
  • Cons: Bringing a stranger into your home to care for your pooch can be uncomfortable, and certainly isn't for everyone. You may also find that popular dog sitters in your area book up very quickly and may not be available when you need them, particularly at peak holiday times such as March break.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms. 

Caring for Pets in Central Illinois

Pekin Veterinary Clinic is welcoming new clients to our clinic. Contact our team to book your pet's appointment.

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