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Family Matters: Leaving your Dog Alone


Leaving your Dog AloneOver the summer, I went on vacation.

I was gone for a week.

I brought my dog, Astro, to a local boarder who has a deluxe operation for taking care of pets when their people are on vacation. I mean, this place has TVs for each dog, a pool, a run yard and lots of great care.

Astro hated it. I mean, hated with a capital “H.” He jumped out of the car, but he refused to go in. He laid down on the concrete and wouldn’t budge. He had to be carried in, and let me just tell you; he’s pushing 100 pounds easily.

There are so many great options for taking care of pets while you’re gone, but you have to find the right one for your pet.

  1. Your vet might offer boarding. Your dog will already be familiar with going there, so that could be a great option.
  2. There are lots of places all over that board dogs, and it’s the only thing they do. See above. They are fabulous if your pet is social and accustomed to leaving the house. Make sure they have all their shots and records from your vet when you make reservations.
  3. Pet sitters. I now use a service that comes to my house on my (or in this case, Astro’s) schedule. They come every morning, love on him, let him out, feed him, make sure he has water and play with him. They do the reverse at night, letting him inside for the night. It’s about the same price as the full-service boarding, and he gets to stay home, no carrying required.
  4. Use a teenager or responsible child in your neighborhood. My boys, young teenagers, dog sat last summer and thought it was the best gig ever. That pup got more attention than our own dog receives because they were so intent on doing a great job.

There are a few things to remember before leaving your pup alone.

Make sure he has all his shots.

Make sure he has on a collar and tags, in case he does get lost. Even better, get him chipped. Many pet facilities offer this for no-to-low cost.

Make sure your sitter/facility has plenty of food (if you’re boarding him, you might need to provide your own food to avoid intestinal distress) and treats.

Make sure his caregiver has access to his favorite toys and knows his schedule, routines and any quirks. For instance, Astro will not eat if anyone is in the room, and I’ve trained him to only accept treats in one particular spot in the house.

Leave emergency contact information, and make sure there’s an in-town backup person if necessary.

LOVE your dog when you get home! He’ll have missed you as much as you missed him.


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