When it's vacation time, you might board your dog with your veterinarian or a reputable kennel nearby. Sometimes, a friend or neighbor might be able to provide care for your dog in your home for a few days. But perhaps you need to travel to provide care for a parent or relative, because you are in the military, or when you get a travel or work abroad opportunity. What if you need to be gone for a long time -- weeks or months? 

Talk to your regular boarding kennel or veterinarian.

Some facilities offer long-term boarding or will help you come up with a solution based on your circumstances. Sometimes, employees of the facility may be able to take responsibility for your pet so that it is at the facility part-time and in a home part-time.

Look for long-term boarding facilities.

Boarding or temporary homes that are more like regular home environments and have only a few dogs do exist, but they can be pricey. Still, you'll end up paying less than if you had your dog in a traditional kennel, and they'll get more attention and exercise. Be sure to get references first, especially if the business is in someone's home (common with long-term pet boarding).

Check with your breeder.

If you got your dog from a reputable, small breeder then that person may be willing to take back your pet for long-term boarding. Many high-quality breeders would prefer to do that than have an animal they bred go into a shelter or a long-term boarding situation. You'll have to pay the cost of care for your dog and any fees that the breeder charges for care.

Ask a local breed rescue.

If your dog is a purebred animal, or even mostly purebred, you may be able to find a foster home with a local breed-specific rescue. Although you'll be taking a spot from a dog that may need to be rescued, you can make a significant donation that goes above covering the cost of caring for your pet. 

Find an individual dog lover.

Someone in your local community might be able to take the dog for a temporary period as long as expenses are paid. Ask at your vet's office, your local pet store and your area shelters. Once you have a lead, take these steps:

  • Most people who offer to do this will have pets of their own, so arrange a time to come visit with your pet before you commit. You can check the home and make sure that your dog gets along with their pets.
  • Make sure that anyone you find has permission from a landlord or owns their own home, and has a backup plan in case something happens to them.
  • Have your pet microchipped. The information corresponding on the chip should go to you or a friend or relative whom you trust completely but couldn't take the pet. This is a good way to prove ownership.
  • Have a contract set up that details what care your dog is to receive, how much you will pay, what vet care and grooming will be provided and what happens if there is an emergency. This is for peace of mind of both you and the caregiver.

Taking the time to make sure your pet will be well-cared for while you are away can help you manage the stresses of being gone in difficult situations.