Tips for Leaving Your Dog in Someone Else’s Care

In many instances, taking your dog on vacation simply isn’t feasible. However, leaving your dog in someone else’s care can be stressful, for both dog and owner. Listed here are tips for finding the best care for your pet while you are on vacation.

Pet Sitter vs. Dog Walker vs. Kennel: Which Choice is Best?

Pet owners have more options than ever when it comes to leaving their dogs in someone else’s care.
The advantages and disadvantages of a pet sitter, dog walker, and kennel will be discussed.

Pet Sitter

A pet sitter is someone who cares for your dog in his or her own home, or in yours. This set-up is advantageous if your dog prefers the comforts of home or becomes stressed in a kennel-type environment. For older or sick dogs, a pet sitter can provide specialized care based solely on your dog’s
individual needs.

However, not all pet sitters are created equally. Care must be taken to ensure a pet sitter has adequate insurance, training, references, and positive reviews. Pet owners should do their research when choosing a pet sitter and find someone who pet-sits as a career, not simply as a hobby.

Dog Walker

A second option is to hire a dog walker to check in your pet 2 – 3 times per day for a short walk and meal time. If you already employ a dog walker, this option is advantageous because your pet is already familiar and comfortable with the person. 

However, hiring a dog walker means that your pet will be alone for the remaining 20+ hours of the day.
For some dogs, this situation might be ideal; however, in other scenarios this arrangement may lead to a destroyed couch.


Perhaps the most popular option is to leave your dog at a kennel. There are many advantages to kennel boarding. For instance, when choosing a kennel, pet owners are encouraged to tour the facilities, ask questions, and learn more about the training of the staff. All kennels must adhere to a strict set of business rules and regulations that are enforced by city officials. Kennels workers are also guaranteed to trained in CPR, and staff are generally on-site 24/7.

A disadvantage of boarding your dog at a kennel is that some pets are fearful when placed near other dogs. If your pet has aggression issues, this environment may not be appropriate. Additionally, illness and stress are two concerns when boarding your pet in a communal atmosphere.

Preparing for your Trip

Once you choose where your dog will be staying while you are gone, the next steps are to prepare your pet.

Update Vaccinations

Be sure your dog is up-to-date on necessary vaccinations at least two weeks before you leave for vacation. This timeline will ensure your dog has built the appropriate antibodies to disease.

Schedule a Trial Run

If you have never left your dog in someone else’s care before, schedule a trial run. Schedule your dog for a single night with a pet sitter or kennel so that your pet learns the new routine. If hiring a dog walker, make sure this person is someone who has interacted with your dog before.

Prepare Emergency Information

Make sure whoever will be watching your dog has access to your pet’s emergency information. Print off important veterinary records (especially anything that documents vaccine record and pre-existing conditions) and leave the phone number for your veterinarian-of-choice.

Pre-Portion your Pet’s Food and Medicine

To ensure your dog’s routine stays the same, pre-portion each of your dog’s meals into a plastic bag or Tupperware container. If your pet has medication (including preventative medications), use a pill organizer so that there is no confusion among your dog’s caregivers. If necessary, provide a checklist for what your dog needs each day.

Support your Dog’s Immune System

The top concern that pet owners have when leaving their dogs in someone else’s care is stress due to a new routine. This stress – particularly if you plan to be away from your dog for a long time – can lead to inflammation and corresponding illness. Pet owners can provide their dog’s caregiver with an immune system boosting supplement, such as WINPRO Immunity or WINPRO Focus.

For instance, if your dog develops diarrhea or loose stools in response to stress, WINPRO Immunity will support your dog’s gut health while decreasing stress-induced inflammation. Similarly, WINPRO Focus can be used to give your dog a sense of calm. If your dog is suffering from stress and intestinal problems, both supplements can safely be administered simultaneously.


How to Say Goodbye to your Dog when you Leave for Vacation

By far the hardest part of leaving your dog in someone else’s care is saying goodbye. Yet, this step is arguably the most important and will set the tone for how your dog responds to your absence. Never be emotional when saying goodbye to your pet. The more anxious and stressed you appear, the more anxious and stressed your dog will be. Instead, make your exit short and sweet and say the same phrase you use at home, such as “I’ll be right back,” or “see you later!”