Are you planning a summer vacation with the family? Many of us like to take nice vacations in the summer and we look forward to it for a long time. We plan everything out so no detail is missed, no excursion over looked. However, how many of us take the time to think about what the family dog is going to be doing while we are on vacation?

If your dog is not going with you, where is he/she going to stay? Do you have a trusted care provider where your dog will have adequate play time and exercise? If not, have you checked into places? Have you done some familiarization with your dog so that when you take him or her there, the dog’s stress level will be minimized?

For many, thoughts like this never come to mind. Often people think, “oh, she’ll be fine. It’s only for a week/10 days/2 weeks.” In my opinion, this is doing your dog a huge disservice. If your dog is not at all familiar with this place you have selected, your fun family vacation will be quite stressful for your dog.

Planning Less Stress For Your Dog

So what can you do to help make your vacation less stressful for your dog? I recommend planning some very short stays for your dog. This will give your dog some practice in eating and sleeping away from home. The more you “practice” this, the more comfortable your dog will become. In addition, when your dog sees that you come back for him/her each time you drop them off they’ll know you’ll be back again in the future, too.

After these short “practice” stays and you bring your dog home, look for signs of stress by observing his/her behavior. If all seems in order, then schedule a couple more “practice” stays of varying length prior to your vacation. Again, the more you practice this “skill” the happier your dog will be when the time comes for your family vacation.

Timing is Everything

Now is the time to plan your dog’s “staycation” while you take your vacation. Give yourself plenty of time to get comfortable with the operation of our facility. Try to plan several practice overnight visits prior to going which will, in turn, make your dog feel more and more comfortable and thereby reducing his or her stress while you are out of town.

About the author- Julie Nelson is the owner of Paws In Time dog daycare and boarding centers in Oswego and West Chicago/Batavia. Julie’s entire life has been dedicated to the care of dogs through training and offering state-of-the-art services to over 2,000 clients. For more information, go to or find Paws In Time on Facebook at