Alternatives to Kennel Boarding When You Go Away

By Laurie Darroch

When you need to be away from home for any length of time, it is necessary to find care options for your dog to ensure they are safe, taken care of and fed properly. Kennels are a definite option, but they can be quite pricey. Also, your dog may not be comfortable staying in a kennel with the constant stimulation of other dogs in neighboring pens, strange or uncomfortable surroundings and unknown caretakers. Thankfully, there are some alternatives to kennel boarding.

Home Care

Your dog might be most comfortable in your home. Even with you gone, everything is familiar. They may be much more at ease staying there rather than going to a kennel. If this is the option you choose, you will need to have someone you can rely on to take care of your dog while you are away.

You can advertise for a home care person, but it’s important to make sure they are legitimate dog care specialists. Get full background information and verification of their services, whether or not they are insured. One possibility is to go through an agency that hires professional dog sitters.

Another possibility is to ask a reliable friend, relative or neighbor to care for your dog. It is a good idea to let your dog get acquainted with the caretaker ahead of time, to ensure they do not feel frightened or threatened by a different person caring for them while you are gone. Someone they see often and are on familiar and friendly terms with is a great choice. Even an older reliable child that you know well is a possible choice.

You can also choose to have someone actually stay in your home while you are away and not just come over for feeding times and playtime. The presence of another person in the house who they know may make your dog feel more at ease while you are away.

A bonus to these options is that someone will be in your house at various times to keep possible intruders from being tempted by an empty house. The caretaker can also bring in your mail and newspapers if you have not put them on hold.

Other Home Care Options

You may not feel comfortable with a caretaker coming in and out of your home when you are not there. Instead of your own home, you may choose to have your dog stay with a friend, relative or neighbor at their home. Take the dog over ahead of time to see where they will be staying and who they will be staying with, to let them get comfortable with their temporary new surroundings. You want to know before you go away that the home you choose will work for both your dog and the people who will be caring for him.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to include detailed written care instructions for feeding times and amount of their food. List your veterinarian’s name, phone number and location in case of emergencies. List contact people and your full contact information in case the caretaker needs to reach you or needs help from an alternate person.

To make your dog at ease, take their bedding and familiar toys or comfort items that help them feel at home in a different house, particularly if you will be gone a long time. Bring their CANIDAE food and some healthy dog treats like CANIDAE Bakery Snacks or Pure Heaven Biscuits. Include command words and hand signals on the list, any special medications with specific instructions for dispensing, exercises, and a leash and harness (if they use a harness), and any other personal tips particular to your dog.

When you know your dog is in an appropriate situation for their care, you can feel more secure yourself and not worry about their welfare while you are away. You will return home to a happy, healthy dog.

Top photo by Steve Allen
Bottom photo by Elfrieda

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