By: Jessica Brody

You love your dog like family, but Fido can’t go everywhere you do. When you leave town to spend time with family and friends over the holidays, you want to know that your dog is in good hands. However, with so many different options for pet care these days, how do find the right choice without breaking the bank in the process? These tips will help point you in the right direction to find the choice that works best for you.

Know Your Options

  • Boarding kennels: Kennels have been around for a while now, but today’s kennels offer more amenities than ever before. Some kennels still stick with the basic services, while others go the extra mile to make your dog’s stay feel more like home (or like they’re on a vacation too!). If you’re considering a kennel, Vet Babble recommends booking in advance because the holidays are such a busy time for them. You should also be aware that some kennels will have a holiday surcharge.
  • Vet clinics: Another option is to check with your veterinarian to see if they offer boarding. Vet kennels may not have the luxurious features of others, but the upside is that you know medical care is right on site, so you don’t have to worry about safety.
  • Professional sitters: There are different types of pet sitting services, so be sure you know exactly what each one offers. For example, a dog sitter usually provides more care than a dog walker. And if you want around-the-clock care, you may want a house sitter.
  • Friends and family: If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to ask a trusted friend or family member for a little help. Even if you compensate them, they will likely take a smaller fee than a professional.

Which Option Is Best?

The reality is that there isn’t just one “right” option. What’s best for you will depend on your budget and your dog’s needs, so keep these factors in mind:

  • Safety: There are safety considerations for every option, so the most important thing is to do your research and plan ahead. For example, if you have a sitter, can they get your dog to the vet safely if necessary? If you have a car seat for your pooch, be sure to leave it for the sitter. If you don’t have a booster seat or harness for the car, now is a good time to research car safety for dogs by checking out some online reviews for the best options. Make sure your sitter has the name and number of your vet, and give them permission and access to funds for treatment if the need arises.

If your dog will be staying in a home, whether your own or a sitter’s, make sure the sitter is aware of safety hazards that come along with the holidays. Purina reminds us that gifts and gift packaging, holiday plants like mistletoe and poinsettias, and popular holiday foods like chocolate can all be dangerous or even deadly to dogs.

  • You dog’s personality: Dogs that are social may love staying in a kennel where they get lots of playtime, but if you have a dog that isn’t friendly to other dogs or who is fearful, they may be happier staying at your home. Whichever option you choose, it’s a good idea to get your dog acquainted with the location and people who will be caring for them.
  • Special needs: If you have a senior dog or one with medical needs, this is something to bring to the attention of whoever cares for him. Some pet parents choose to board their dog at their veterinarian in this case so they will get the best medical care. Others feel their dog will be more comfortable in their own home with a sitter.

As a pet parent, your number one goal is the well-being of your dog. When it comes to who you rely on for care, there are options to fit every budget and situation. Weigh the pros and cons of each to find the one that ensures a safe and happy holiday for you and Fido.

Photo credit: Pixabay