How do I decide if I should take the dogs on vacation?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – We live in South Florida and have 2 dogs (1 is 13 and 1 is 3) and a cat (who is 1). We ALWAYS take our animals with us when we go on vacations. We are going on a vacation July 4 for a week to Georgia, Tennessee and then down the Carolina's back to Florida.

My partner asked me to think about having someone stay at our house with our animals while we are gone. I am in AGONY over this, but I don't want to start any fights. The person going with us also has a dog (14 years old) and is going to have someone stay with her dog. She has traveled MORE than us without her dog so I don't think it bothers her that much.My partner is telling me that it would mean so much to her to go on this trip without the animals and not having to worry about getting back to the hotel to feed them or stop what we may be doing to go and take them out. I need a PROFESSIONAL opinion on this situation, because I am having a problem dealing with it. If I say No I want the animals to go, then I will disappoint her and be the bad guy. If I say yes and we leave them, then I know I won't be happy. Also, is it true that maybe owners and animals need to have time away from each other? PLEASE HELP ME!

Robin Dutcher


Hi – thanks for your email Robin. It sounds like you are in a dilemma. You wrote that you want to take the dogs on vacation and your partner wants you to find a dog sitter.

This is a very subjective question and I know there is a lot of experiences and emotion in how each of you feel. There is no clear right or wrong answer. However, I'll give you my opinion.

Personally, I think with a multi-state trip like this – a pet sitter is best. I'd spend a lot of time finding the right person so that you feel completely comfortable with the care your dogs will receive while you are gone. I think dogs should ADD to your life – not be a stressor when you are on vacation. Trying to get back to the hotel to feed and walk them doesn't sounds like a fun thing for you, your partners or your dogs.

Articles that might be helpful to you are Getting a Pet Sitter for Your Dog and Pet Sitter Instructions for Your Dog.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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