How To Enjoy Going Away Without Your Dog

Tips On How To Be Better Prepared For Going Away Without Your Dog

Do you ever go away without your dog? Or can you not bear to leave him behind? Or maybe, your dog has a health issue or severe anxiety that he cannot be left with anyone. Going away without your dog isn’t discussed often and it isn’t always the easy option!

Before we had dogs, we were very lucky that we had many wonderful holidays abroad. Going away for the weekend posed no more problem than packing a holdall and booking flights!

Life changed for us when I was diagnosed with ME/CFS (I couldn’t manage car journeys, let along long haul flights!) and when we decided to get our first dog, Barney. Even though Barney was well looked after by our wonderful dog sitter, on our first holiday away from him, I spent the whole time worrying about him and, of course, missing him. After that, because I couldn’t manage long flights and I didn’t want to go away from Barney for more than 2 weeks, we started taking more holidays in the UK.

How To Enjoy Going Away Without Your Dog {GoingAwayWithoutYourDog} #GoingAwayWithoutYourDog #GoingAway #NoDog

Along came Sandy, two years ago, our scared little rescue girl, and there was absolutely no way we would be able to leave her to go away. Whether with our dog sitter, relatives, friends or a dog kennels. Holidays abroad were out of the question.

Sometimes You Just Need To Go Away Without The Dog

Don’t get me wrong, I love going away with the dogs. We have visited new places in the UK, found some wonderful dog-friendly places to stay and some amazing beaches, that would rival any around the world. However, I am a worrier and inevitably, when we go away with the dogs to somewhere new, I worry. I worry that we will lose them, I worry that they will escape, I just worry and so I don’t really relax properly!

How To Enjoy Going Away Without Your Dog {GoingAwayWithoutYourDog} #GoingAwayWithoutYourDog #GoingAway #NoDog

I do believe that sometimes we need to go away without the dogs, to get a proper rest and even though I spend the whole time away feeling guilty, it is these holidays where my mind switches off.

So what do you need to think about, if you are going away without your dog?

What is Best For Your Dog

You want your dog to be happy, safe and well looked after when you go away. You also need to feel happy with your choice, so that you don’t spend the whole time away worrying about them because then, you may as well not have gone away.

How To Enjoy Going Away Without Your Dog {GoingAwayWithoutYourDog} #GoingAwayWithoutYourDog #GoingAway #NoDog

There are a lot of options, its a matter of finding one that works for you and your dog.

  • Known Dog Sitter In Your Home
  • Known Dog Sitter In Their Home
  • Boarding In Kennels
  • Luxury Pet Kennels/Hotels ~ such as Elmtree Pet Hotel
  • Staying With Relatives/Friends
  • Pet Sitter Companies ~ such as Trusted Housesitters, DogBuddy

Preparation For Leaving Your Dog At Home

  • Ensure your dog is microchipped (it is against the law to not have your dog microchipped in the UK) and the details are correct.
  • Ensure your dog’s vaccinations, flea treatment and worming are up to date.
  • Get ID tags engraved with the sitter’s details, because should anything happen, you may not have a signal where you are, or be in a completely different time zone.
  • Write down your dog’s usual daily routine – dogs, like us, don’t like change. They are calmer and happier when they keep to their daily routine, as much as possible.
  • Write down your dog’s feeding schedule – food they eat, medication they may take, supplements you may add to their food. Treats, if allowed.
  • If staying at home, ensure you have stocked up on their food, treats etc
  • If your sitter does not know your dog well, fortunately ours does, then let them know of anything your dog does that’s a little bit different. Sandy is nervous of people she doesn’t know coming to the house, she barks and grumbles at them, however, she would never bite them, she’s too scared. She will just go to one of her safe spots in the house, so of course, I remind our sitter where Sandy’s safe spots are, because that’s where you will find her if she is a little bit nervous or scared.
  • Leave something that smells of you for them, I always a t-shirt or nightie on our bed (our dogs are allowed on the bed) should they feel they’d like a little comfort.
  • If the sitter is staying in your home, ensure you have everything written down about how things work in your house and where to find things, ie the heating, the alarm, timed lights, hot water etc
  • Advise neighbours that you are away and a sitter will be looking after your dogs and staying in your home.
  • If you have people who come to work in your home, ie gardener, window cleaner etc, let them know you are away but the sitter will be staying (this stops anyone getting a surprise!).
  • If you have an alarm, advise your alarm company you are away but that you have a sitter looking after your dogs, give them the sitter’s contact details and name.
  • Leave details of where you are going, flight details, how to get in touch with you (you might not have a signal in some places) and likely time you will be home after the holiday.
  • Contact details for your usual vet. I have a folder for each of the dogs with their medical records inside, I always leave these out for our sitter, sometimes it is good to have their history, especially if they cannot see your usual vet.
  • Keep the departure short and sweet, and as close to your normal, leaving the house routine as possible. Or have the sitter come round before you leave so they are there and can take them out for a walk after you’ve gone. I have to be honest here and say that I always shed a tear when I leave the dogs, some people might think this is a bit pathetic, but I can’t help it. So, keeping to our normal leaving the house routine works better for me too, as I don’t get quite as upset and the dogs don’t see me crying when we leave the house. They go into their crates, with a prearranged time for the dog sitter to arrive, usually no more than half an hour after we have left.

How To Enjoy Going Away Without Your Dog {GoingAwayWithoutYourDog} #GoingAwayWithoutYourDog #GoingAway #NoDog

Packing List For Your Dog If Not Staying At Home

Some of these will be the same for leaving your dog at home, but there are other things to think about if your dog is not staying at home.

  • Ensure your dog is microchipped and the details are up-to-date, as your dog could feel unsettled and wander off, becoming lost. This way if your dog ends up at the vet or with the dog warden, they will be able to contact you and arrange contact with the dog sitter.
  • Ensure your dog’s vaccinations, flea treatment and worming are up to date.
  • Pack your dog’s favourite toys, bed and a comfort blanket.
  • Include your dog’s food and water bowls.
  • Some places provide food, however, you may want to include your dog’s usual food and treats, along with a daily feeding schedule and how many treats are allowed.
  • Any special food allergies your dog may have ie gluten-free.
  • Details of where you are going, flight details, how to get in touch with you (you might not have a signal in some places) and likely time you will be home.
  • Contact details for your usual vet. I have a folder for each of the dogs with their medical records inside, I always leave these out for our sitter, sometimes it is good to have their history, especially if they cannot see your usual vet.
  • Their leads, coats or any special vest they may wear ie ‘I am anxious’.
  • A list of your dog’s habits, will they run off at the sight of a squirrel, are the nervous around certain things, will they chase after people on bikes? All of these details help the people who will be looking after your dog, know your dog better and therefore keep them safe whilst you are away.

How To Enjoy Going Away Without Your Dog {GoingAwayWithoutYourDog} #GoingAwayWithoutYourDog #GoingAway #NoDog

Whilst You Are Away

Any good sitter will keep in touch with you whilst you are away. Hopefully they will send you photos and let you know how the dogs are getting on.

Some sitters/kennels will post pictures and keep you updated via Facebook or WhatsApp.

If you are really worried, you could of course, have a GPS collar and app, so you can keep tabs on where your dog is. Or, if you have a sitter staying in your home, you can install a camera which you can access via your phone, such as Furbo.

There are so many options nowadays, but your priority should always be ensuring that your dog will be happy, safe and looked after. If you don’t have confidence in this, you will not enjoy your holiday.

What works for some people, may not be right for your dog and you. For the first 18 months of Sandy living with us, we would never have gone away and left her with anyone. However, our dog sitter has spent much time and a lot of patience, getting to know Sandy. Sandy loves and trusts her. So we know, we can go away, safe in the knowledge that our dogs will be happy, well looked after with lots of walks and fun. Consequently, we will come home relaxed and rested and very happy to see them both!

Do you go away without your dog? What works best for them and you? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear about them.

How To Enjoy Going Away Without Your Dog {GoingAwayWithoutYourDog} #GoingAwayWithoutYourDog #GoingAway #NoDog

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  1. Steph & The Spaniels

    Great post. I’m not bothered about the leaving them and how they’ll be (they usually stay with my parents, and as a VN everyone at work would be great if anything happened that side of things too) but I just don’t want to. We generally only leave them to go to Disney now, that’s not set in stone but has been the case the last few trips. I just don’t find the UK as fun without them, I’d never do a holiday in this country without the dogs. They get me enjoying the outdoors and hiking the mountains.

    Love From, Steph & The Spaniels

    • Michelle

      Thanks Steph! I do love going away with the dogs, but there are times that it is not possible for us, as we have a very nervous dog, so I believe, sometimes it is better not to take her (usually day trips or weekends away), otherwise for holidays in the UK, we always take them as we feel lost without them there! :o) x

  2. Megan

    Enjoyed the post! I think I suffer from separation anxiety when I have to leave my critters behind. So usually we opt for a good ol’ backpacking trip with the dogs.

    • Michelle

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, I do miss them terribly but I worry less because I know our dog sitter is amazing and the dogs love her so much!

  3. The Dogvine

    Really comprehensive post! Now Belinha is older and has arthritis I do worry about leaving her so less holidays abroad for us 🙂

    • Michelle

      I understand, I would feel the same way too if our’s were older.

  4. Rachel

    I’m so guilty of feeling bad when I leave my dog !

    • Michelle

      I do too, Rachel, it’s so tough leaving them, even when you know they are in good hands.

  5. Julie B

    We take Jake to boarding kennels (with a Seaview) and he absolutely loves it! We pack Jake’s own food due to dietary problems/allergies and his favourite blanket. We do feel guilty when we drop him off but when you see him so excited once he’s out of the car and greeted by the kennel owners, it takes the worry away instantly, and we get to have an enjoyable few days away. Don’t get me wrong though, taking Jake on a road trip is great fun too.

    • Michelle

      Ahh, that is great that you have found somewhere that Jake loves going to and also makes you feel comfortable and happy in leaving him. Sometimes it just isn’t practical to take our dogs with us, so it is good to have a backup plan. x


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