Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

Going On Vacation: Bring, Board or Babysit Dogs with Separation Anxiety

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It is hard for many of us to leave our dog and extra hard to leave dogs with separation anxiety. Where do you leave him? What is the safest, least potentially damaging option?

Counter-intuitively to many, it is usually boarding your dog. And here’s why: If you leave him at home and hire a pet sitter, you run a big risk of escalating his anxiety whenever you leave the house in the future. Now he knows that sometimes you actually do not return at night and knowing this can skyrocket his concerns.

Why not bring him along? Sometimes you can if you are, say, camping and he is with you 24/7 (all day, everyday). But leave your SA dog alone in a new and unknown location and expect him to panic beyond what he does at home.

So, the best choice? Board him. “Why,” you ask, “he will be so frightened and upset!” True, he may well be but that fear and upset will be triggered by that location – not by being at home or left in a motel.

If your dog is social and friendly, you can leave him at a facility that offers group play, which might go a long way to releasing any of his tension and letting him have a fine time. He may actually learn how to accept crating at “camp” when it is done on schedule, in a matter-of-fact way and when he is truly tired.

If the kennel is an indoor/outdoor run set-up, ask for a “covered run” (one with a secure top on it) if your dog has any potential to climb. Better safe than sorry.

Now go – plan a vacation and enjoy. Your dog will survive the experience and may even be better for it. That would be a win/win for all concerned.

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