Where To Leave Your Dog Or Cat While On Vacation

No matter how much you love your pet, you can't always take them with you on vacation. In this post, our San Diego vets offer you advice on where you can leave your cat or dog while you are away.

Being Away From Home for Multiple Days

It can be hard to determine where to leave your dog or cat while you are on vacation or away from home.

It's generally okay to leave a healthy middle-aged cat at home alone for 24 to 48 hours if they are provided with enough fresh food and water. But, dogs, kittens, senior cats, kitties with underlying health conditions, and some cat breeds will need to be provided with supervision and care if you are away for more than a few hours. And if you are gone for more than one night you will also need to find quality care for your healthy adult cat.

Whether you are going away on vacation for a couple of weeks or leaving on a business trip for a couple of days, you will have to find the appropriate care for your animal companion. At College Animal Hospital our vets understand how hard it can be to find the best care for your pet. However, you can make this process a little less stressful by doing some research on the options available near you, and finding out which features each service offers.

Boarding Cats & Dogs While on Vacation

While it's true that pet boarding facilities were once grim, dingy places where animals stayed locked in their cages for long periods of time, times have changed!

These days your dog or cat can be pampered and well care for while you're away. Dogs can have fun socializing and playing with other pups and their caregivers while you are traveling. And cats can enjoy plenty of pats and cuddles (if they like interaction with people). Cat and dog kennels are kept clean and smelling fresh with cat litter boxes being changed regularly.

Today's animal boarding facilities range from pet spas and doggie summer camps to medical boarding for dogs and cats that need a little extra love and attention. As with most services, the price points for animal boarding can vary from affordable to extravagant.

If you are in the middle of deciding which boarding facility to leave your cat or dog at, remember to look into several different places in your area to find a facility that best meets the needs of your furry friend and your wallet.

Features at Boarding Facilities

When determining the level of service a boarding facility offers, price is generally a good indicator. If your animal companion will be treated to luxurious hotel-like spaces with comfy sofas where they can lounge and watch TV, you're going to pay more than you would to board your pet at a standard facility with roomy crates, fenced runs for dogs, and comfy viewing areas for cats.

If you want your dog to enjoy an active adventure when you are gone, a fun camp experience could be ideal. Dog camps across the country offer lots of time for your dog to explore the outdoors, some even offer extra facilities where your dog can swim and play with other dogs. 

Some of the fancier cat boarding facilities have luxury cat condos that include cat-specific furniture that they can lounge on and 'cat gyms' where they can climb.

While you are narrowing down your list of preferred kennels it's essential to keep in mind that extravagant facility features don't necessarily add up to better care for your pet.

Selecting The Service Level That's Right for Your Pet

Care for your pet when you are traveling will generally be priced based on the level of service you opt for. Luxury accommodations will cost a lot more per day than a standard kennel.

Standard Care Most Pet Boarding Facilities Offer For Dogs:
  • A clean, spacious kennel for your pooch to sleep in
  • Exercise time outside before breakfast so your dog can stretch their legs
  • Breakfast served in the kennel
  • Playtime outside of the kennel in the middle of the day so your pooch can burn energy
  • Evening bathroom break
  • Dinner served in the kennel
Standard Care Most Boarding Facilities Offer For Cats
  • Meals served following your instructions
  • A clean spacious kennel for your kitty to sleep in
  • Frequent litter changes and bedding changes
  • Playtime with staff for cats who enjoy human interaction
Other Services Pet Boarding Facilities Might Offer:

If you want to choose something a little more special than a standard boarding facility, lots of facilities also offer these services:

  • Grooming services
  • Specialized veterinary care
  • Shuttle services to and from the facility
  • Training

The Pros & Cons of Boarding Your Pet While You Are Away

  • Pros: Pet boarding provides your pet with a standardized daily routine that many dogs and cats crave including meal times, walks for dogs, and social times on a regular schedule. Boarding also allows your dog to socialize with other animals. If your furry friend has a medical condition that needs medications or treatments, facilities with onsite vets and a team of veterinary professionals might be preferable for your pet while you're away.
  • Cons: Being away from home can be hard for some animals. Pets can get nervous or anxious in unfamiliar environments which could lead to altercations with other animals at playtime. Pets in boarding facilities also face an increased risk of contracting contagious illnesses such as kennel cough in dogs or Feline Upper Respiratory Infection (colds) in cats.

Getting a Pet Sitter

When interviewing pet sitters don't forget to request a list of references as well as a list of qualifications. The amount you pay a pet sitter will be determined by the level of service you choose for your cat or dog.

Pet sitters can help to protect your home by keeping your place looking lived-in to any passers-by. Hiring a live-in pet sitter will allow you to rest easy, knowing that someone is caring for your home at night.

Extra Services Pet Sitters Might Offer:

If your dog or cat requires more care than just feeding and being let out several times a day, some pet sitters offer additional services like:

  • Pet Bathing and grooming
  • Dog training
  • Housekeeping
  • Frequent dog walks

The Pros & Cons of Getting a Pet Sitter

  • Pros: The main benefit of hiring a pet sitter is that your pet might find that staying at home is less stressful. Other benefits of getting a pet sitter include increased security of having someone in your home, and cat & dog sitters can be less expensive than some boarding facilities.
  • Cons: Bringing a stranger into your home to care for your pet can be uncomfortable, and isn't for everyone. You may also find that the popular pet sitters in your area book up very quickly and might not be available during the times you are away, especially at peak holiday times such as spring break or Christmas.

Choosing The Right Kennel for Your Pet While on Vacation

Pet parents often feel anxiety when they leave their cats and dogs in the care of others while on vacation. Finding the right level of care for your pet ultimately comes down to personal preference, price, and availability in your area. By researching the services available in your area, you will be able to find the right option for your cat or dog, at a price you can afford.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact our San Diego vets and schedule an appointment if you would like more advice on selecting the best place to leave your cat or dog while you are traveling.