For many families, a vacation without the family pet just isn't a real vacation. Watching your dog splash in the lake, or enjoying hikes through the woods is a part of the fun. But what do you do if you want to take in some of the sights that don't welcome your furry pal? The key is to plan in advance - even if you don't end up needing the services.
Not all attractions are dog-friendly. When you have to leave your dog for a few hours, your options are:
Many accommodations don't allow pets to be left unattended, even if crated (always ask your accommodation in advance for their pet policies). It's not that they don't love dogs; but even the most well-behaved dog can get stressed out in a strange new place. Excessive vocalizing (barking or whining) and chewing or other destructive behavior can result.
Please don't ever leave your pet alone in the guest room if it's not allowed. Poor experiences with pets can cause an accommodation manager to question whether or not they want to remain pet-friendly in the future.
A dog care facility or a pet-sitter can provide your dog with exercise, love and attention. It's much preferable to sitting around alone in an unfamiliar guest room! Of course, if most of your vacation plans involve going places where you can't bring your pet with you, it's better to leave him comfortably at home with a trusted friend, family, or pet-sitter.
Personal recommendations are a powerful tool. Local businesses can be a great source of information. Ask for suggestions for nearby dog daycares, boarding facilities, or pet-sitters from:
Some pet-friendly accommodations offer short-term dog-sitting and dog-walking services. It doesn't hurt to ask!
If you don't know anyone in the area where you'll be traveling, post a question on social media channels like Facebook or Twitter.
You can also search online resources like PawShake, Rover.com, or GoFetch. Check online reviews too, but take them with a grain of salt since reviews can be faked. A recommendation from someone you know and trust is ideal.
Popular vacation times like the summer holidays and long weekends can be particularly difficult to find availability for dog boarding or sitting. Do your research in advance whenever possible, and book early if you can. It gives you the best chance of getting the pet-sitter or facility you want.
Vacations can be a wonderful experience for the whole family - pets included! Should you need to leave your dog for a few hours, he can still be lovingly cared for and ready to happily greet you when you return.
Based on our experience as a pet-friendly resort (Lake Edge Cottages) and having travelled with our dog Floozee: If you decide to leave your dog alone in a cottage that allows it, exercise your dog fully so that he/she will be tired out and enjoy a good snooze while you are away. We leave Floozee for a short period of time at the beginning of our vacation so she knows that we will return. Then, after a good hike or walk, we are able to leave her for a longer period so we can go out for a nice dinner. It works wonderfully with our resort guests' dogs too. Exercise is key along with bringing your dogs own bed, toys, treats, food bowls etc. They then know the pack is here to stay.
Great advice! Dogs who have adequately exercised are much happier to hang out and snooze. As always, travelers should check with their accommodation to see if it's okay to leave their pet alone. Some may require them to be crated, but regardless, be sure to leave a cell phone number in case they need to contact you.