Dog owners who do you do it?

Someone has to say this. If you are Mitt Romney you might put your dog in a box strapped to the roof of your car and drive to your destination.

My sister takes their dog with them on trips, using a book she buys each time it is updated that lists pet-friendly accommodations by state. They take a large collapsible crate with them.

My preferred method in a house with a dog and a cat is a housesitter - currently our adult son. But sometimes its a single young adult child of a friend, or one of our own friends who doesn’t have dogs or kids.

We also have a friend who runs a dog sitting business through dogvacay - we’ve used her in the past and had someone swing by for the cat.

We’ve found friends and folks in our social circle who want to have a temporary pet. Some are even willing to take our cat AND dog together for up to two weeks, others just want one at a time. It’s always worked out well, our pets get a break from us and look forward to seeing their ‘vacation’ families.

well, the dog does anyway. who knows what the cat thinks, he just walks around everywhere like he owns the place.

I’ve had dogs for much of my life and have traveled extensively…but I don’t consider myself someone who loves to travel, so while I’ve traveled the world I like to spend an overwhelming % of my time at home. I don’t consider 3 weeks between now and what sounds like the end of the year, a particularly high amount of travel. Dog kennels can be fine, and if you have extended family or friends nearby they can be fine too. My family has dog breeders in it and some really passionate dog people, so that’s often been an option for me, but I’ve used kennels as well.

I do think if someone was traveling a really high amount, like 1 week or more every month, that I’d probably consider not owning a dog. Dogs are not good at being self-contained pets like a cat or gold fish, they need a lot of human interaction and socialization to be happy and well cared for, and I think if they’re spending a significant % of their life kenneled or in the care of others it’s questionable to have one at all.

We currently have a Mini Aussie who’s 3 1/2. He goes to play time once a week at the kennel/doggie daycare. So he’s used to going there and having fun.

We boarded him there for the first time last weekend for 3 nights. He showed no hesitation going in and when I picked him up it was as normal after playtime.

I’ve used the kennel in the past with a previous dog with the same results.

I have had my dog for nearly four years now, and I still feel this wave of anxiety every time I plan a trip. (I don’t travel internationally, but I participate in a sport that has me frequently taking weekend trips to races and competitions.) My plan is this:

  1. I pay attention to how my friends interact with my dog. If my dog and my friend seem to like each other, I ask them if they would be interested in pet-sitting when I go on trips. I actually have a list in my phone of several people who have expressed a willingness.

  2. If I plan a trip to stay with a friend, I ask if I can bring my dog. If I am booking a hotel room within driving distance, I book a pet-friendly hotel room. My dog does not do well in hotel rooms (she is clean and won’t mess anything up, but she’s a guard dog, and so she barks at every little noise she hears), so this is strictly as a back-up plan in case I can’t line someone up.

  3. I have one friend that I typically leave her with. They adore each other, so I don’t feel like I’m imposing on him, and he doesn’t charge me anything.

  4. If that one friend is not free, I will check in with the other people on my list. I try to find someone who can take her into their house, but if not, I have a neighbor who I pay to stop in twice a day and feed/walk her.

Granted, a lot of what I wrote above may not apply to you. It’s hard to see how your friends interact with your dog if you’re staying at home all the time; a puppy is different from an adult dog; your dog may be better in a hotel room or a kennel than mine is; your dog may have separation anxiety whereas mine doesn’t at all. But really, the best advice I can give is to keep your eyes and ears out when you venture out into the world again. Even if a person doesn’t meet your dog, if they mention liking dogs, or wanting a dog, or pet-sitting for somebody else, or having a teenager that wants a dog (that’s how I found the neighbor I pay), make a mental note. Or even a physical note.

Fourthing or fifthing or whatever the trial run in advance.

But mostly coming in here to say: make your arrangements, whatever they are, as soon as possible. Lots of people got Pandemic Puppies; and a lot of those people are now going back to work in person and/or going travelling. The people in the business of taking care of dogs while their humans are elsewhere, having had a year of next to no work, are now drowning in work; and may well be booked up and unable to take new clients for some time.

I spend a lot of time on travel forums. I definitely encourage anyone traveling with a dog to double and triple check if dogs are still allowed at wherever you’re staying at. And, I’d follow up a few days before your actual arrival date.

Covid + lack of housekeeping staff has made a lot of places change their policies on dogs. Plus, it’s still a crazy new travel world out there.

Most dog owners I know simply ask friends to either look after the dog at their own place, or housesit plus dogsit. They generally get hordes of willing, free volunteers.

I looked after a friend’s dog on and off for about for years - I ended up having her for about a third of the year overall, with the longest single occasion being four months. For us, it was ideal, since we technically weren’t allowed dogs but I could prove this wasn’t my dog (and, since she was an extremely well-behaved dog, none of our neighbours - a few of whom also owned dogs - were ever likely to complain) and it meant I didn’t have to pay vet’s fees or even pay for her food.

None of my friends have ever reported any problems with this sort of informal friendship boarding. Most dogs seem to be pretty adaptable.

It’s generally a good idea to have some sort of local back-up person to look after your dog, anyway - what if you both fell ill and temporarily couldn’t look after your dog, for example a car crash?

So even if you go for kennels instead, it’d be a good idea to choose a friend who’d be in loco parentis (for want of a better word) if something went wrong while you were away.

One of our neighbors in our complex is a dog walker, and she also pet sits. Max gets along with her dogs, so it’s perfect. He’s in a familiar environment with people/dogs he already knows.