Hello everyone! I know, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here but it’s summertime and I’ve been camping a lot with my family. We actually have another trip planned for this weekend, which brings me to my topic of boarding. Choosing whether or not to bring any of our dogs is never an easy decision and is only to be made with a lot of thought and consideration. There are many different factors that help me to decide, some minor and several major, for our 3 dogs (boxer, dachshund, and a doberman). When it comes to our cats, I have a friend come to my house and take care of their needs. They do much better at home than in a boarding facility and I doubt that this will ever change.

Safe, secure and stress free at home.

One of our first factors to review is if pets are allowed where we are going. Not just where we are lodging but if we plan to go out to dinner, to an event or even to the store. Will someone stay behind with the pet or can the pet safely, (no chance of escape, overheating or getting stolen) quietly stay in a hotel room/tent/kennel while we are away? Our boxer will try to escape if left behind, the doberman will howl and the dachshund will rub his nose on a cage door until it’s raw. Leaving ours behind is NOT an option!

Next decision is which pets would we even consider bringing. As I mentioned previously, our family does a lot of camping, in tents the majority of the time. Therefore, weather plays a big factor, whether we want it to or not! I know if the temperatures are going to be high, our boxer that overheats easily, will be safer in an air conditioned boarding kennel. I also know our little dachshund doesn’t like the cooler evenings, to be left in a cage/kennel at all or to be on a leash (as most campsites require), so he stays with a friend at their house. Our doberman can handle the heat and cold and doesn’t mind being on a leash, as long as he can be included in whatever we’re doing! When we rent a cabin, they all get to come!

Other than eating, this is their favorite pastime.

We also consider where will the pet sleep, eat and go to the bathroom. My dogs are all spoiled and sleep with one of my kids in their bed but if your pet is used to sleeping in a certain chair or in it’s kennel, be ready to make special arrangements so your pet can get a good night’s rest also. When it comes to feeding, some pets are like people and have routines that they don’t like to change. My pack all gets fed at the same time but where the bowls are placed can be a total turn off for one of my pooches. One can’t stand ants so feeding while camping can be tricky. On the other hand, going to the bathroom is not an issue when camping but if you’re staying on the 27th floor of a hotel and your pet is used to being let out into a backyard to run loose and do it’s business, you might want to reconsider or do some planning and training ahead of time.

Another point to consider while planning your get away is how are you getting away. Are you driving for an hour or 12 hours? Are you flying to your destination? Do you have any layovers? How will your pet do in a car for an hour? What about a 12 hour car ride? Will there be room in the car for your pet to ride comfortable and allow you to drive safely? Should you try any medications for anxiety or would the pet do better with sedation? Will someone be able to keep an eye on the pet if medicated? What if the medication causes side effects or it doesn’t work? Do you have a back up plan? When traveling by air, the guidelines and restrictions can vary depending upon the airline company and where you are going, especially if out of the country). It is extremely important to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork, prior to your departure. Some paperwork is time sensitive and non-negotiable. We have heard some horror stories when it comes to flying with pets and the best advice I can give is to do your own research, way ahead of time. Your lack of planning can cause a whole vacation to be wasted so plan ahead.

When planning to include your pet in your vacation, a list will help to ensure nothing is forgotten.

As much as we want our fur babies to be a part of the family, all the time, sometimes it is best for them not to be included. This weekend is one of those times for mine. While camping this weekend we plan to visit a huge flea market, mostly on a hot blacktop, that is not dog friendly. I know we will all be gone for several hours and dogs should not be left at campsites unattended, so boarding arrangements have been made for my 4-legged crew. The boxer and doberman are boarded here at Gahanna Animal Hospital and the spoiled dachshund stays with a friend at their house. This way, I know everyone is safe and no one is stressed out, and that makes this momma very happy, relaxed and able to enjoy our get away!

My hopes with this blog is it helps someone think of different aspects that they may not have thought about prior to reading this. For even more tips, read my blog from last year, Camping With Dogs. Bringing your pet with you on your vacation or weekend get away is a big decision and hopefully with my help, you won’t regret it!