How to Vacation Without Worry: Tips for Leaving Your Dog Behind

Lola at the park in Salt Lake City

I have an Olde English Bulldogge named Lola. Breeds like the Olde English Bulldogge, Pit Bulls, Pugs, Boxers, and many others find themselves on numerous airlines' no-fly lists. This designation means they can't fly unless they're certified service animals. While Lola is undeniably a sweetheart, flying isn't an option for her. And while the mental image of me hauling a 70lb bulldog through airport security might be humorous, it's not the impression I want to leave.

So, whenever I plan a vacation or embark on a work trip, Lola and I either travel by road together or she stays home. The prospect of leaving her often induces anxiety, sometimes weeks in advance. Over the years, I've formulated five key strategies that have greatly eased my concerns and allowed me to journey stress-free. If you too wrestle with similar anxieties, these insights might be what you need.

1. Entrust Your Dog to a Friend or Family Member They Know

I've been blessed with family nearby willing and able to watch over Lola in my absence. This knowledge alone, knowing she's safe and in a familiar setting, significantly reduces my stress. On occasions when family options were limited, friends have stepped in, even those whose homes Lola hadn’t previously visited. I found arranging a pre-stay dinner party beneficial. It allowed Lola to acclimatize to her new surroundings and offered my friends insights into Lola's unique behaviors.

Lola the olde english bulldog at the park

2. Engage a Reputable Dog Sitter

At times when neither friends nor family could assist, professional dog sitters became my go-to. The peace of mind knowing Lola remained in her familiar home was invaluable. Personal recommendations are gold; coworkers, friends, neighbors, and sites like Rover provided rich sources of reliable sitters, some even medically trained for pet emergencies.

Preliminary introductions are vital. Before a sitter takes over, I ensure Lola is familiar with them, sometimes even accompanying them on local walks. If a sitter hesitates on an introduction, it's a clear signal to continue my search.

Communication is paramount. While most sitters appreciate the value of daily updates, it's essential to establish and respect boundaries. Note that employing professional sitters does carry a cost, with my experience ranging between $60 to $90 nightly. An added expense, but invaluable for peace of mind.

3. Notify Neighbors and Landlords When Employing a Sitter

Open communication lines with neighbors and landlords can save unnecessary complications. By informing them of my travel plans and the presence of a dog sitter, I've avoided many potential misunderstandings. Sharing contact details, both mine and the sitter's, builds a network of trust, ensuring Lola remains safe and well-attended.

4. Provide All Essential Information and Comforts for Your Dog

Whether Lola stays with friends, family, or a professional, she needs her comforts:

  • Health and Emergency Details: Vet contacts and health records are vital.
  • Familiar Items: Lola's favorite toys, bed, and treats help maintain her comfort.
  • CBD Peanut Butterand Wellness Treats: A personal recommendation. Especially useful for dogs with separation anxiety, these treats offer both engagement and calm.

Ensuring your pet's caregiver has all they need is a straightforward route to travel peace of mind.

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