Is Dog Boarding An Option When You Travel?

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One of the things I never really thought about before bringing home a puppy was what do you do with your dogs when you travel?  Is dog boarding an option?  What other options do your have if you have dogs, but you still want to take the occasional vacation?

Why am I thinking about this topic today?  Well it’s about 9:40pm and I’m sitting in the lobby of a casino in downtown Las Vegas and I was just thinking what if my parents couldn’t watch my 2 dogs: Stetson and Linus for the weekend?

Lucky for me when it comes to my guide dogs puppies in training I basically have 2 options.

  1. Dog Boarding At the Guide Dogs of America kennels – this is an option for your puppy as long as he’s 6 months of age or older.
  2. Guide Dog puppy sitters – Lucky for me there are literrally dozens of puppy raisers who could potentially puppy sit for me.  In fact I put together a video about guide dog puppy sitting when I had Anne and Jim watch Dublin.  Take a look:

Yesterday Apache my Golden Retriever guide dog puppy in training took a trip to the GDA kennels for a little vacation.  It’s also good for our guide dog pups to stay at GDA at least once a month so they can get used to staying in the kennels before they start their formal guide dog training.

However, what do I do with my regular pet dogs: Stetson and Linus?  And that brought me to the question:

Would Dog Boarding Be An Option When I Travel?

I don’t think I would have a problem boarding my dog, Stetson as I don’t think he’d have any problems staying elsewhere with other dogs for a few days.  However, my concern would be with Linus who exhibits separation anxiety.  It’s been over 7 years and Linus has always had a place to stay when I took vacation whether it be with family or friends.  I never had to resort to anything else.

Dog Boarding
Dog boarding? Who wouldn’t want to take care of these 3 boys?

I guess if it came down to it I’d have to consider boarding my dog, but what other options do I have.  That’s what I thought about on my car ride to Vegas.

  1. Friends and Family – this is what I normally do with my dogs and lucky for me I have a great network of friends and family who are also dog lovers and seem to always come through for me.  This is definitely my go to when I need help with my dogs.
  2. Pet Sitters – I think this would be my number 2 option if number 1 Friends and Family fell through.  There are tons of reliable pet sitters out there and I wouldn’t mind ponying up the cash, but the most difficult part would be finding someone you know and trust.  I’ve been following PetSitUSA for a while and I think that would be a good place to start if you’re looking for a pet sitter.
  3. Dog Ranch –  A friend of ours told us about Camp Bow Wow and said it’s a great place to take your dog if you’re going on vacation.  It’s not too far from home in San Clemente California.  Here’s a little snippet from the Camp Bow Wow site: “Here’s a little sample of what campers (and you, of course) can expect: in addition to lots of love, attention and exercise, your pups will have tons of fun exploring our large indoor and outdoor play areas. Certified Camp Counselors spend all day watching over each and every camper and you can too with our 24-hour doggy cams. Each camper receives a special Campfire tasty treat each night before being tucked into his/her own cozy cot in a spacious (and most importantly—CLEAN) cabin. Oh, and have we mentioned our camp is climate controlled?”
  4. Pet Hotels – How about boarding your dog in his very own pet hotel?  Yep, PetSmart has these pet hotels which is another option I find very interesting.  There are serval of these pet hotels located near my home in Southern California.  Here’s a little bit about PetSmart Pet Hotels: “Our Doggie Day Camp is available to provide all-day play and exercise in our fully supervised play rooms.  PetSmart PetsHotel® is a revolutionary alternative in day and overnight care for cats and dogs. PetsHotel is focused on providing superior care and personalized attention for all pet guests so pet parents have peace of mind that their pet is safe and happy”
  5. Dog Boarding – As a last resort I guess I’d go with your standard dog boarding.  When I think of dog boarding I think about dog boarding kennels like your vets office where your dog has to stay in a kennel most of the day with the occasional journey out to the dog run.  Not too exciting and not too fun.  I guess if it really came down to it I would use dog boarding with my local veterinarian as a last resort.

One final option comes to mind when it comes to travelling and that is why not just take your dog(s) with you?  Travelling with your dogs has become very popular in recent years.  In fact many businesses are catering to the pet travelers from pet friendly hotels, to pet friendly restaurants and businesses.  There are many great dog books and websites available on this very subject.  In fact I purchased the The Dog Lover’s Companion to California: The Inside Scoop on Where to Take Your Dog (affiliate link) to find more information dog friendly places in Southern California.  I also frequent the GoPetFriendly website and subscribe to their blog to find out more information on how I can travel with my dogs.

In the end if you decide to bring home a puppy then please consider what you will do with that puppy when you go on vacation or have to travel for work.  After all as you can see dog boarding is not the only option available to you.

Did I miss anything (I’m sure I did)?  What do you do with your dog when you have to travel?  Do you board your dog?

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5 Comments

  1. Another cage-free dog boarding alternative that is great for dogs with separation anxiety is boarding in a private home. Obviously not all home boarding facilities are going to offer the same types of services or level of care but at mine for instance, dogs are guaranteed a human companion at all times. They stay in our home as they would in yours. They have the opportunity to go on walks in our local park. We also do 5 mile hikes 4 X a week and 3 mile runs 2X a week for more active dogs. Dogs can also swim if they like. Ultimately, your dog will enjoy a doggie vacation of his own when he stays with us. I don’t mean to make this a hard sell though I’ve included my contact info at the end of this post in case you or any of your readers ever need dog boarding in Los Angeles and you don’t want to use a kennel. But I just wanted to let people know that there are other options out there when it comes to finding the right boarding facility for your dog. Before my dog passed, I had no idea there was such a thing as home boarding. I felt so guilty leaving him in the pet “resort” that we used as he was locked in a cage by himself all day and all night with the exception of 2 15 minute breaks per day. I wish I had known about home boarding back then. The dogs truly love it here. In fact, some don’t want to go home with their owners.

    Anyhow here’s our info: Green Doggie Home Boarding, Granada Hills, CA. We serve the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, and West Los Angeles areas. (818) 517-1472 You can find us on Google Plus here: https://plus.google.com/104430441848325128883/about?hl=en

    Colby, I know you asked about a national company. I believe “We Serve Pets” operates in several states on the west coast. Also, Dog Vacay (national I think) is another company that refers dog owners to individuals willing to take in doggie guests while their owners are away. I’m not sure how much time their hosts actually devote to their guests so you’d have to check to see if they are willing to provide the things that are important to you.

    1. Hi Denise,

      Thanks for the information! We’re actually planning on meeting with DogVacay next week! You’re not too far from Guide Dogs of America. I bet you get a few of their career change dogs from time to time.

      Take care,
      Colby

      1. Interesting. I didn’t realize they are right here in Sylmar. They sent us the cutest X-mas cards last year.
        We get a lot of labs but no ex-guide dogs so far.

  2. I bring my dog with me whenever possible. I try to plan pet-friendly vacations. But when we took sailing lessons last summer, Honey was not invited. We’re lucky to have an excellent pet sitting company so that Honey can stay in her familiar setting even if we’re not home. I arranged for someone to stay at our house overnight and come in to visit Honey during the day.

    She’d probably do ok in a boarding situation but I’m not crazy about getting extra vaccinations that are required.

    1. @Pamela is the pet sitting company that you use a local or national company? If they’re nationwide I’d be interested just in case I ever have to get a pet sitter for my dogs while I’m out of town.

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