Leaving Your Pets at Home While on Vacation


I haven’t owned a pet in almost ten years. This makes it easy when I travel to pack my bags, lock my front door and leave for however long I need to. When I did have animals, it definitely wasn’t as easy to just pick up and go whenever the mood struck!

Something happened recently that reminded me what it was like when I did have furry family members to look after…

During our 12-day Tanzania safari (truly a trip of a lifetime!), a common topic of discussion around the evening fire was what people had done with their pets while traveling.

Some had family members or friends looking after their pets and some had professional sitters living in their homes. This option offers the additional bonus of having a presence in the home while you’re gone—a deterrent to any potential thief.

What do you do with your beloved pet(s) when you travel? Here are a few suggestions:

If you’re a cat-owner and you’re only heading out of town for a weekend: As any cat owner knows, cats are pretty independent and if you’re only away for a couple of days it’s usually acceptable to leave them to their own devices, with lots of food and water.


For longer trips, I recommend you get a neighbor or relative to either check on your cats daily or, if possible, have them stay in your home while you’re away. While cats are independent, they DO get lonely when left for extended periods of time.

If you’re a dog-owner, the situation is obviously a lot more complicated. Not only do dogs need to go out at regular intervals as well as requiring frequent walks, they need constant loving and reassurance. Unless you have a willing friend or relative who is happy to take your pet, finding a sitter can be an added stress when planning your vacation.

Vet clinics and boarding kennels are options. Do your research and read testimonials. You want your pet staying somewhere that offers the best care. Be sure the facility is clean, that it requires all its animal guests to be up-to-date on their shots and that your pet will have plenty of time to play and take exercise.

Perhaps your best option is to hire a house/pet-sitter from a professional agency. Yes, it may cost a bit more than other options, but it also gives you an added level of security around your home. If you’re looking for a reliable sitter you may want to check with a professional organization such as The National Association of Professional Pet-sitters or Trusted House-sitters.

We know you love your pets but we hope you don’t let them be a deterrent to booking one of our tours!

Embrace life,


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Photo credits:
Dog – LuAnn Snawder via Flickr
Cat – Kevin Dooley via Flickr

About Pat Awmack

With 25+ years in the travel industry, Pat is the Client Liaison at WanderTours. Got a question about one of our tours or destinations? She'll get you the answer.