To Bring or Board? What to Do with Your Dog When You Travel for the Holidays

SpotOn Product Review Finn

The holiday season is right around the corner, and travel is about to be at an all-time high. Although we all would enjoy spending the holidays with our beloved pets, understanding what to do with your dog when you travel is important. Read on to help you decide on the best environment for your dog during the holiday season, based on their behavior, temperament, and level of training. Explore these tips on holiday travel with dogs to determine if your dog is ready to join in on the fun this year!

Plan Ahead and Consult Your Host

You have your dog because you love spending quality time with them, but the pros and cons of holiday travel with a dog are critical to consider. Regardless if you’re flying or driving, there are many factors to consider before deciding to board or bring your dog.

Here are a few questions you will want to ask whoever you’re visiting before making the decision:

  • Will there be other dogs there?
  • Is anyone in the house allergic to dogs?
  • Would you require my dog to be kenneled or can they explore the house freely? 
  • How comfortable are you with dogs in your space? 
  • How many people will be staying at the same time?

Once you know the answers to these questions about visiting family with your dog, the best holiday plan for your dog will likely become clear. For example, if your dog is reactive and other dogs are attending, or if someone else staying has a severe pet allergy, it might be best to board your dog.

If the decision is not clear after talking to a family member, think through your dog’s tendencies, and how they behave in different situations. Do they handle new situations and new people well, or does a change in routine make them nervous? Understanding their behavior will indicate what to do with your dog when you travel.

Dog Etiquette Visiting Family & Friends for the Holidays

Dog etiquette while visiting family can make or break your quality time together, so you want to ensure that your dog is ready to be on their best behavior. Let’s go through some behavioral considerations you’ll want to think about before you decide what to do with your dogs when you travel this upcoming holiday season.

Is your dog extremely vocal?

Holiday cheer is always welcome in family homes—but barking dogs is another story. Not only will it be a nuisance to your family, but it could also lead to neighbor complaints and negative behavior from other animals in the home. 

Before you commit to holiday travel with dogs, think about factors that increase your dog's likelihood to bark. They might bark at other dogs, small animals like rabbits or squirrels, the mailman, or make noise when they want attention. Dealing with barking and other attention-seeking behaviors while opening gifts is not in the best interest of you, your dog, or your family.

If you want your holiday travel with dogs to go smoothly with a vocal pup, you can follow the tips below to keep barking at a minimum:

  • Freeze a Kong toy with a peanut butter or yogurt mixture to create a distraction.
  • Offer dog enrichment puzzles to help entertain & ease your dog into a new environment.
  • Take your dog for a walk around the neighborhood for some alone time.
  • Build a SpotOn GPS Fence around the property you're visiting and let them roam freely.

Is your dog prone to making messes and being destructive?

If your dog is a puppy (or just a puppy at heart) you might need to worry about them making messes—because the last thing you want is garbage strung around the house or an accident on your aunt’s new rug. When your dog exhibits destructive tendencies, your dog (and family) will be happiest if you decide against visiting family with your dog.

Has your dog ever displayed aggressive tendencies?

Dogs who have displayed aggressive behaviors in the past are more likely to show aggressive behaviors again. This could include other dogs, children, men, and more. Understanding if your dog is a danger to others is important for everyone’s safety—and it could also save their life.

Will other pets be staying there?

Has your dog ever been to the dog park or dog daycare before? If the answer is yes, that’s great news! You have proof that your dog can tolerate other canines, and they might even enjoy quality play time with other dogs.

While you might be biased that your dog is the best boy in the world, putting your dog and other dogs at risk of confrontation or aggression is something you want to avoid. Here are some questions to ask about where you’re visiting before traveling with your dog for the holidays:

  • What are the breeds of the other dogs that will be staying there?
  • Do the other dogs have experience playing with new dogs? How have they been socialized?
  • Have the other dogs ever displayed aggressive behavior towards another dog? 
  • Do the other dogs display any resource-guarding behaviors with toys or food?

Answering these questions will help you navigate your decision to bring or board your dog when you don’t know what to do with your dog when you travel.

Can your dog follow basic commands to follow the house rules?

Following basic commands is important, so your dog doesn’t decide to jump on grandma during her meal or knock down your new baby niece while she’s opening her first holiday gift. Think about how responsive your dog is to commands such as sit, down, stay, lay, off, and come.

Is there a fence in the new location?

When you go on holiday travel with your dogs, finding a place they can exert their energy and use the restroom is a must. If your family is in an apartment or a large city, it might be best to board your pup. Otherwise, you might be missing out on a lot of holiday fun while you take your dog out to exercise and use the restroom.

But, for those lucky enough to be visiting family or friends with a large backyard where your dog can play for hours, you’ll still want to make sure there’s a containment system in place to avoid the risk of your dog escaping. Checking to see if they have an existing fence is a great place to start. You can also check out our pet-proofing yard tips that your family can use to prep their yard before you come!

Of course, if your family or friends don’t currently have a fence, you don’t need to ask your host to install one just for your dog—that’s where the ease of a portable dog fence comes into play. The mobile SpotOn fence is a reliable, GPS-powered solution that’s perfect for traveling with your dog.

What to Do if you’re Not Confident about Visiting Family with Dogs

Although it is a tough decision, ensuring your dog’s happiness and health is your top priority. Here are a few options if your dog isn’t quite ready to travel with you for the holiday season.

Board your dog

Finding a highly-rated local boarding facility helps you guarantee that your dog is in good hands. Many boarding facilities are tech-enabled, allowing you to watch your dog on webcams, log in to portals to see status updates, and more!

If your dog has high energy levels and enjoys playing with other dogs, we recommend you find a boarding facility that includes ample playtime and socialization for your dog.

Have someone who’s staying in town pet sit

If one of your friends or family members is staying in town, it might be a lonely time of year for them, and having your dog around could bring them some holiday cheer! Reach out to friends in the area to see if they’d be willing to watch your dog. You will have a direct line of communication and trust, and this gig can give them a little extra change in their pocket. Depending on your location, in-home overnight sitters usually range between $25 to $75 per night.

Rover and other online dog services are great alternatives to a friend or family staying at your home. Going through a third-party vendor ensures sitter verification and a layer of protection if anything goes wrong.

We all love our pets, so for this holiday season, let’s make sure we provide them with the best environment. Before determining if you want to travel with your dog during this holiday season, consider your friends' and family’s preferences, where you’ll be staying, and your dog's behaviors.

If your dog is ready to travel this holiday season, learn what makes our portable GPS dog fence the easiest choice for your dog’s next travel adventure.

Related Stories

7 Tips for Safe Holiday Travel with Your Dog
7 Tips for Safe Holiday Travel with Your Dog
The holidays are coming and many of you are planning to travel for either Thanksgiving or the December holidays…
Read More

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published