Traveling – Do you take the dog along or leave him with someone?

< A version of this article was published in the April 2016 issue of Down East Dog News>

Summer, the time of year for family gatherings, weekends away, and long, relaxing vacations will be here before we know it. If you have a dog you need to start making a decision; what do you do with the dog? Do they come along or do you leave them in the care of someone else? There are good reasons for doing both.

Family Gatherings

Group of people with dog-canstockphoto26857205Whether a family gathering is at your home, grandmas, or someplace else; it is likely to be a hub-bub of activity and probably a little bit stressful for all involved. Stress can make one more hyper, and it can also make one more irritable; not good traits in a dog that is around lots of people, especially strangers. These are some questions that I suggest you ask yourself as you consider your dog’s involvement in a family gathering.

  • What’s your dog like when they are hyper or irritable? How will others react to your dog when they are in this emotional state?
  • How well is your dog trained and how easily can you help them get from a highly aroused state to one of relaxation?
  • Which adult family member(s) will be responsible for watching out for the dog and keeping them under constant supervision during the event?
  • If your dog is not having a good time, will you be prepared to leave the event or will you have a stress-free location the dog can stay until you are ready to leave?

As much as we love our dogs they do not necessarily enjoy large groups of friends and family. For example, if you have a dog that is uncomfortable around children, and your grandchildren are coming to visit, your dog might enjoy a vacation at your local pet-friendly boarding kennel. You will be free to show the grand kids a good time without needing to worry about cutting the day short to take care of the dog. Additionally, your dog will not be stressed out, and everyone can have a better time.


Traveling With Your Dog

sit before exiting car-canstockphoto15017330Whether it is for a weekend or two weeks, taking your dog with you can make your vacation a true family holiday, providing your dog enjoys rides in the car and that you are willing to make some sacrifices. Many dogs do not like change and suddenly staying someplace new may be stressful. What if you dog barks all night at the hotel, and you are asked to leave? What if your dog and your parent’s dog do not get along? Your dog may be the best-behaved dog on the planet, but it is unlikely that they will be allowed in most restaurants and many tourist attractions.

Letting the Dog Have Their Own Vacation

Playing with my friend at Green Acres makes my day -color- 1000x800Sometimes the best course of action is to leave your dog with a trusted caretaker. For suggestions on what to look for, review my article Pets – Who Cares for Them When You Are Away? in the September 2015 issue of Downeast Dog News and on my blog

Things to Consider As You Make Plans

  • Prepare a copy of the invoice from your veterinarian that proves your dog is current on their vaccinations. You need to bring this with you because it will be essential if you need to see a veterinarian. if there is an issue with animal control where you are traveling, if you need to board your pet; either at home or in your destination, or if crossing international borders.
  • Make sure that you dog is micro-chipped and that they are wearing a collar with a tag that has your cell phone number on it.
  • Have a plan B. Research kennels and daycares long before your trip; so you have a place for the dog to stay if you chose to leave him alone or if you bring him along. Boarding facilities are busiest when the rest of the world goes on holiday. That means the best ones will be booked weeks and in some cases months in advance.

No matter what you choose, I hope that you and your dog have fun, wonderful experience.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (

Pet Care Options When You Go Away: Pet Sitter, Neighbor, Boarding Facility

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet Friendly” Philosophy – Part 1

Please Be Cautious When Choosing Who Cares For Your Pets

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (

Pet Care Options When You Go Away: Pet Sitter, Neighbor, Boarding Facility

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet Friendly” Philosophy – Part 1

Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at Don also writes about pets at his blog:

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