You love your dogs, they’re part of the family. You agonize over taking a vacation and deciding what to do with your furry friends. Should the dog stay or go? Check out my list on what to do with your dogs when you travel.

1. Take your dogs with you

It seems like the obvious solution.

Get the back of the car comfortable for traveling with the dogs and enjoy a family vacation. Make sure your dogs are used to car rides. There’s nothing worse than taking a dog on a long car trip and finding out it gets car sick, either vomit or diarrhea.

The main problem when traveling with dogs is finding accommodation where your dog is welcome. If you’re traveling to visit friends or family, and they have a house where they’re happy to have you bring your dog, then that’s a great holiday.

But what happens when your vacation plans take you to cities where you don’t know anybody?

The answer is usually book a hotel. An Internet search or phone calls can answer the question of whether or not your dog can stay in the hotel room.

My pet peeve (pun intended!) is the annoying trend hotels have of charging extra for dogs. If you have two dogs and the hotel charges $25/night (or more!) per dog, then that greatly bumps up the nightly hotel rate. And then some hotels have stupid rules regarding dog size.

Your well behaved, housebroken black lab might be too large for some hotel rules, while a tiny, yappy ankle biter who’s not housebroken falls into the size requirements. I used to book a cottage at the Harrison Resort because they allowed two dogs for no extra charge, and now they charge a $30/night sanitation fee. To avoid paying extra for your dog, look at Airbnb (though some will charge a pet fee) or these chain hotels allow pets to stay for free.

One more hotel to add called the Hotel McCoy in Pullman, Washington. Small chain, 3 hotels. It looks like a fun place to stay and I was considering it during my last road trip to Oregon. No pet fee, but they charge a $50 deposit, in case of accident or damage. Money will be refunded if neither occurs.

You can check availability for the Hotel McCoy on (affiliate link).

2. Hire a house/pet sitter

Sometimes it’s just not possible to take your dogs on vacation because you’re not driving, and you’re taking a lengthy flight, a cruise, or the country has a long quarantine period. Check with friends. One of them might like to hang out at your house or know someone available to stay in your house and look after your dogs. Perhaps they have an adult child still living at home who will be happy to get some privacy and their own little holiday in your house. If you can’t find anyone, and you’re comfortable with a stranger, check Craigslist ads or put up your ad.

3. Sign up at house sit exchange websites

Instead of paying a local house/pet sitter, consider signing up to a site that helps match homeowners with sitters.

This is like a work exchange. The sitter gets a free place to live in exchange for providing pet care and home security. This obviously works better with out of towners who want to visit your area. Local pet sitters do this as a side hustle business.

I use (affiliate link)

This is a free service for home owners. Housesitters pay CAD $50 annual fee. Click banner below for more information.

4. Take your dog to a boarding kennel

At $30/day and up, boarding your dog at a kennel isn’t always the cheapest option. You might as well bite the bullet on a hotel that charges pet fees.

5. Ask a neighbor

You might have a neighbor who can stop in at your house several times a day to feed your dog, fill up the water bowl, and let it in the backyard or take it for a walk. This works best with dogs who don’t suffer from separation anxiety. You don’t want to come home from vacation and find out your dog trashed the house.

6. Check with doggy daycares

Some doggy daycares offer overnight boarding or have staff who will take a dog home with them. Your dog must be friendly and social with other dogs to be welcome here.

What do you do with your dogs when you go on vacation?

Published by Cheryl @ The Lifestyle Digs on May 13, 2017 and updated on June 30, 2023.

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  1. We use house sitters when we can find them. Otherwise, like right now, we use pet sitters who have them in their house/flat. It adds to our travel budget, but we get separation anxiety and prefer to have them in a house as opposed to a kennel (we had a fantastic couple who ran a kennel in Malta, that was awesome and the dogs couldn’t wait to go there..).

    1. Kemkem, that’s the key word. Using housesitters when you can find them. We had a couple of friends who we paid to come to our house and stay there and look after the dogs. Unfortunately one of them became sick and went to the hospital but her brother was able to pick up our dog and bring her to his house, so that worked out. Sometimes kennels offer peace of mind even though they’re expensive. Its highly unlikely that the dog will escape or that all staff will get sick at the same time and unable to tend to the dogs. However, mostly I take the dogs with me and I tend to travel in spring and fall when the weather is better for the times I have to leave them in the car. Places like Disneyland and SeaWorld have dog kennels and I’ve also used doggy daycare during the times when I can’t have the dog with me during the day.

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