How to Vacation When You Have a Dog

Young girl in the back of SUV with luggage and dog by her side.

With Summer coming to an end, now is the time to take that much-needed vacation with the family. You might be wondering, will your four-legged friend join? Will you leave them at home? Or will you board them? It’s always better to plan what you’re going to do with your dog ahead of time so there is time to get them acclimated. This will give you the opportunity to have a safe and stress-free vacation. Follow our tips below to learn how to travel when you have a dog!

Know Your Pet

All dogs are different, and no one knows your dog more than you and your family. Does your dog like being around other new people or do they tend to hide? Do they become extremely hyper around people they might not know? Does your dog prefer to stay at home or do they like to explore new places? These are all things to take into consideration. Some dogs prefer to stay at home and have someone check on them and let them out a couple of times a day, while others like to socialize with other furry friends in a boarding facility. Before deciding what you’re going to do with your dog while you are on vacation, you need to think about your pet, what would they prefer and enjoy the most?

Your Vacation Plans

Depending on where you decide to vacation, your beloved four-legged family member may not be welcomed. If you are only leaving for a weekend, it might be best to leave them at home- only if you are, of course, okay with that. There are many dog walking services nowadays that are affordable and trustworthy if no one you know is available. Puppies are a little more to handle when leaving at home. They need to be taken out and fed more than an older dog. They are also notorious for getting into trouble, so leaving them at home may not be an ideal option. A puppy will need care every 2-3 hours and possibly overnight as well. For an older dog, make arrangements to have a friend, neighbor, or a pro to visit 3-5 times a day to take your dog outside for potty breaks, and check food and water. Your dog will also appreciate the playtime and cuddles too.

Boarding Options

All boarding facilities require proof of vaccination from your vet in advance. Be sure to get all the paperwork in order before you schedule the dates to board them. Most facilities, much like The Barking Lot, have some great amenities, activities, and even closed-circuit monitors owners can access while they are on vacation to keep an eye on their furry friends! It’s always a good idea to read reviews, ask friends for suggestions and visit different boarding facilities before picking the one. Your pet may also like to try out daycare services first to ensure they are comfortable there.

Pet Sitters

It’s imperative that you trust and enjoy the pet sitter you pick to watch your dog. Make sure they are comfortable watching and being around your dog. We know that might sound crazy, but sometimes people feel weary around certain breeds of dogs. Try to plan for at least one visit with the sitter to meet your dog before the vacation to see how they get along.

Care and Medical Needs

Be sure to leave a list of instructions and detailed information about your dog’s needs, vet contact information, and emergency phone numbers where you can be reached. If your dog is coming on the family vacation, you might need some proof of health status/immunizations. Your family vet can provide you with a health certificate required for pets traveling on planes or across state lines. Call airlines ahead of time to find out the pet requirements. To qualify as a “carry on” luggage, the pet carrier must fit under the airline seats in front of your legs. These days, the price to travel with a pet has become quite costly and some carriers and hotels won’t allow animals at all, so make sure to find this out in advance.


Don’t forget to bring your pet’s food, treats, bed and plenty of toys for them to play with! You can also check to see if there are local stores around that carry the brand of food your dog eats. It’s also important to research emergency vets in the area you are traveling to. In addition, check with the hotel that pets are allowed. You wouldn’t want to check-in and then find out your furry friend is not allowed.  Preparing for your pets’ comfort during your vacations gives you peace of mind so you can enjoy your time while on vacation. Your pet will be comfortable too!

Once you have checked through all the points of which we listed above, you are one step closer to your stress-free vacation! The Barking Lot is your local Deerfield boarding center. We have a state-of-the-art facility that your dog would have the best vacation at! We have large indoor and outdoor areas for your pup to play in – your dog is destined to bark the days away with some new great friends! For more information on our facility, what we offer, prices, and more feel free to give us a call at (847) 205-3647 or visit us at 495 Lake Cook Rd in Deerfield, IL today!


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