Vacations and Pets - what do you do?

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  • Dec 10th, 2019 6:04 pm
Jr. Member
Jul 31, 2008
163 posts

Vacations and Pets - what do you do?

Hi everyone,

One of the things that's always on my mind is what to do with pets when going on vacation - it's stressful having to think about, and it doesn't want me to want to plan my next vacation as much as I want - not like I travel constantly, but I have traditionally take one trip a year, which is usually 1 or 1.5 weeks. Now that I have cats, I'm feeling a bit resentment....thoughts??

Well, I'm just wondering what you all do when you go on 1 or 2 week's vacation - I know some have suggested using cat sitting services, but at $30 a day, it really adds up - curious how well these services are, and the thought of giving 'strangers' the key to the house makes me edgy. Neighbors aren't pet people, so that makes it a challenge too, and besides don't know them that well. I could board them at $15 a day I suppose, but then the cats will be out of their environment.

Anyhow, I'm open to thoughts and other pet parent's viewpoints to assist me with my thoughts and what options are there.

Thank you
21 replies
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2014
3078 posts
We board our dog with an excellent home dog boarder at $65 - $70 PER night - it is not a franchise where we do not know where our dog is - he is always at this lovely woman's home. Many "home boarders" are the middleman and place dogs with different families. We also hire a bonded and insured company to check on the house (as per our insurance requirements). We limit vacation time as well to 2 weeks. However, sometimes we have to board our dog at other times because of various things that happen in life.

Our dog does not do well in a kennel environment (nature of the breed). When we had a cat and a dog, we boarded the dog with the home boarder and our cat at the vet clinic. The vet clinic charged a lot more than $15.00 a day - more like $30 plus and that was several years ago. I don't know what it would cost now. However, we knew that he was safe.

We also do not have much of a relationship with our neighbours. And unless you know of one that you can really trust to actually show up at your house, I wouldn't even think of it.

We also live in Toronto.
Deal Addict
Mar 11, 2004
2997 posts
I am in the same boat OP. I got two cats and I am ok living them alone with food and water for 3-4 days but longer than that nope. I did some looking into and Pets Mart offers boarding ($20/day) I was told. Other then that, I dont know what to do. But hey, if you look after my cats I will look after yours :)
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Oct 27, 2004
1127 posts
We have a small maltese-mix. We have twice in the past left her at a local kennel when we've gone away, but I won't do it again. She doesn't eat a bowl of food like most dogs, she grazes all day long like a cat. So, when we would pick her up from the kennel, she looked emaciated, like she hadn't eaten in a week (she probably hadn't!).

Now, we either take her to a relative's house, or have a relative house/dog-sit.

It's a real thing to consider when thinking about getting a pet. Just don't be one of "those people" who take their animals with them as emotional support.
Deal Guru
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Sep 21, 2010
11958 posts
I dunno why you would feel resentment towards your pets, that's very misplaced, not as if they waltzed into your life and said NO MORE VACATIONS FOR YOU!!! Lol. Strange mentality since you chose them, not the other way around.

Anyway, when I had rabbit/chinchilla, I didn't do any flights and stuck to road trips so I could bring them along. No idea if you could crate cats so maybe not applicable. I'm not a big vacation guy so didn't miss much in addition to doing lots before then. You may go stircrazy w/o a real trip, so YMMV.
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May 22, 2005
19300 posts
My mom cat sits at her apartment with our family dog. Works for me. I've also started taking both cats to my friends house to get them used to their place, so eventually they can cat sit.
Deal Addict
Apr 25, 2011
1160 posts
British Columbia
Don't get pets if you value traveling.

We travel with our pets if at all possible... Such as to the cottage or within the province on road trips. Usually the family doesn't all go away at once.

I think most people find family or friends to take their pets. Dogs need more attention than cats and become more difficult to find people that have time for them. For dogs I would find a reputable person to board the dogs within a home environment. Kennels are horrible and I never would do this to my pet. They cost about as much or more than someone keeping the pets comfy in a home environment. If you trust the person they could even stay in your home.

In the case of cats they could stay in a single room with someone you know, it should suffice. Alternatively someone you know - even a neighbour - could drop by your house once or twice a day if you are only dealing with cats. Cats mostly are ok on their own unless they have a medical condition, and would only require a little attention, food, and someone to clean the litter box.
Last edited by Karala on Nov 30th, 2019 9:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2017
2462 posts
SW corner of the cou…
We've used pet sitters 4x in the past 2 years, and were pet (and house) sitters ourselves for nearly 4 years. Can run a lot less than boarding if you don't mind someone staying in your house, not to mention probably less stressful for the critters if they stay in their environment.

I was reading something the other day about it being acceptable by people in the U.S. to put their dog down before a vacation. That, plus getting new dog, was much cheaper than boarding.
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Deal Fanatic
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Mar 23, 2008
9911 posts
We have in-laws who have pets, as well as friends who have pets. When someone goes on holidays, often someone else will take in their pets. What comes around goes around.

We've also used kennels in the past as required, but prefer not to.

Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2017
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SW corner of the cou…
amz155 wrote:
Nov 30th, 2019 8:57 am
You could try: ... 0wod_dwGaQ

I’ve never used them but have had them bookmarked for ages in case I ever need to go that route.
That's one of two websites my wife and I offered/found house/pet sits through. You can find reliable people that you can trust to keep your pets (and house and belongings) safe, often for free (just utilities you'd normally pay). Also have to be careful when you screen potentials (just like screening potential tenants for a rental). If your pets like company, one thing we advise against is getting a house/petsitter who is coming a long way and is essentially a touring visitor. as they might be gone a lone time seeing stuff. We were hardly gone from the house for more than 4-6 hours, hardly ever in the evening, and only once gone overnight (very last house sit, when we went to move our belongings to the newly-acquired house). Some of the dogs got walked as much as they were asked to be, and a lot more than they were by their owners. Young singles are probably not good either (unless working, and say, staying at home with parents). Also need to assess if they will actually show up or not (you see lots of pleas for last-minute sitters when the prearranged ones don't show up.

FWIW, getting/finding S-T sitters is a PITA (as easy to set up for months than say, just a weekend).
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Deal Fanatic
May 9, 2007
6934 posts
Vancouver Island, BC
I travel (driving) for work and typically have three to four overnights each month. When I had my cat (sadly she is gone), I left her at home for one-night trips and brought her for trips that were more than one night away. Hotel pet charges were typically $15-$20/night. I brought her travel litter box, food and a water bowl.

When I went on longer trips for vacation I would fly and take her with me. Depending on the airline she would come in the cabin with me or travel in the heated hold of the plane.

She appeared to be completely fine with these routines.
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Jr. Member
Feb 4, 2017
109 posts
I used dog boarder or Rover Services. I never had bad experience. I always get photos and daily updates.
Deal Addict
Aug 16, 2005
2384 posts
North York
I have a friend who has a shitzhu which we have been dog sitting since he was a puppy in 2014. We just lost our lab that year and we weren't sure if we wanted another dog or go through the pain of losing another. This was great for the past few years as we dog sit on average 2-6 weeks of the year. Then last year we rescued a bichon frise that was only 13 weeks old and left on someone's door step. So this year when went to Cuba it was no problem for my friend to repay the favour. It is a good thing his wife and mine are stay at home moms so the dogs are not left alone. Here are some pics of them last June when we went away.



My friend's wife and kids can't wait till we go away again so they can dog sit for us. It makes things so much easier knowing you leave your pet with someone you trust plus they can send you cute pictures too.
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