Leaving your dog while on holiday

Where to leave your dog when you go on holiday

With peak holiday season fast approaching, many of us will be faced with the dilemma of what to do with our pets.

You may notice that just before you go away, your puppy may develop psychic powers. Many pet owners claim that their dogs have a knack for knowing when they’re going on holiday!

It’s important to prioritise preparations before you leave so you know your dog is in safe hands when you go on holiday.

Going Away and Leaving Your Pet

What can I do with my dog when I go on holiday?

Leaving your dog at home when you go away can be tough. It can be difficult to know what to do for the best, especially if it’s the first time you’ve had to leave them home.

There are different options for making sure your pet is well looked after while you go away. Knowing they are in safe hands and finding someone to look after them as you would can be a daunting task.

Ultimately, the right option for you will depend on what your dog will be most comfortable with, the availability of certain options and your budget.

Where can I leave my dog when I go on holiday?

Whether you choose to leave them at home, put them in kennels or enlist the help of friends or family, there are different options available for leaving your dog when you go away.

Options for Pet Sitting during Your Holiday

  • Professional Pet Sitting

If you know your dog won’t cope well if they aren’t home, one of the best options is finding a professional pet sitter.

This way you don’t need to put them through the stress of being away from home and having to travel.

Pet sitters will either stay in your home until your return or if you’d prefer, they can visit daily/multiple times a day.

  • Dog Kennels

This is the traditional boarding route for many. Kennels are where your dog will stay while you’re away.

It’s important to make sure that they’ll get plenty of access to entertainment, exercise, and mental stimulation during their stay.

We recommend doing plenty of research before leaving your dog in a kennel. It's important to make sure that you're happy with the dog kennel facilities and staff. Many will allow you to visit before boarding and may want to complete an assessment before your dog can stay.

It’s always best to contact them with any questions or queries. Make sure you give enough notice as many book up far in advance.

  • In-Home Pet Boarding

This is a good option if you would prefer a hybrid between professional pet sitters and dog kennels.

This involves taking your dog to stay in someone else’s home where they will look after your puppy while you’re on holiday.

This can be a more comfortable boarding option than a dog kennel and isn’t as expensive as having a professional dog sitter come and stay or visit your home.

Family, friend or neighbour caring for your dog

  • Family, friend, or neighbour

If you have family, friends or even neighbours who are willing and able to pet sit for you, it’s a good idea to ask.

You might prefer it if your dog stays in their home or perhaps they could visit daily/a few times of day to check in on your canine companion. They might even be willing to stay in your home with your dog.

If they will be staying with someone else, always make sure they will be comfortable in that environment. For example, if your dog is used to being the only animal in the house and then they’re forced to cohabit with other dogs or cats, this can be distressing.


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  • Bring them with you!

It’s not always an option, but bringing your dog on holiday can be a great choice. This means you and your puppy won’t need to be separated, and it’s great to be able to offer your dog the opportunity to explore and travel with you.

It’s important to make sure nothing is stopping your dog from joining you on your holiday. Things like travel, holiday activities and location should be considered first to make sure it’s pet-friendly.

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7 Tips for Leaving Your Pet While on Holiday

1. Do your research

Make sure you do your research before leaving your pet in an unknown or unfamiliar environment. You’ll need to make sure:

  • They can cater for all of your dog’s needs during the stay.

  • That you don’t need to do anything specific, such as getting your dog vaccinated for kennel cough before staying anywhere.

  • That you book in advance! Pet sitters and kennels can be booked months in advance.

  • You check references/reviews of home boarders or pet sitters.

  • Always check that people have the correct insurance and licenses before booking. 

  • If they will allow you to bring your dog to a kennel/home boarder before the stay to get them used to the environment before their stay.

2. Share your Instructions

Make sure that whoever looks after your dog is familiar with the commands you use e.g. ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. It’s also important to:

  • Make sure whoever is caring for your dog has clear instructions on how to care for your pet, including feeding times and typical routines.

  • Give them all the details they need such as your vet’s number and any medication.

  • Leave enough food and treats for the duration of the stay, especially if they have any specific dietary needs.

3. Routines are Important

Make sure that whoever is responsible for your dog while you’re away is considerate of your routine to minimise stress and disruption for your pet.

Always ask whoever is taking care of your dog if they have any requirements, or if there’s anything they want to know, especially if they are staying in your home.

4. Check ID and vaccinations are up to date

Ensure that their identification and vaccinations are up to date regardless of which option you decide on.

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5. Keeping them entertained is key

They should be kept busy and entertained wherever possible. This should help distract them from your absence.

7. Familiarity to soften your absence

Using familiarity can limit the impact your absence has on your pets. Whether it’s toys, bedding, or even familiar people. This can go a long way to making your dog comfortable in your absence.

If you’re anxious about leaving your dog, ask their caretaker to send regular updates. Boarders and
kennels may even have cameras you can access to check on your pet when you’re on holiday. 

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Want to learn more?

Forever Puppy is proud to work hard to educate all dog lovers on a variety of health, care and welfare topics. Check out some of our other Dog Guides here.

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