Taking Your Dog on Holiday vs. Using a Boarding Kennel

Going away on vacation and can't decide whether or not to use a boarding kennel? Follow these guidelines to help you decide how best to care for your dog while you're away from home. In the past, heading off for a foreign holiday has generally meant either leaving your pets with a trusted friend or relative or alternatively checking them into a local boarding kennel.

However now with changes in government regulation and a growing number of professional pet transportation companies, it’s becoming easier than ever before to actually take your pet with you. The question is really which option is best for both you and your pet.

Leaving the “Pack”

Dogs are pack animals; that is to say they’re an important and well-integrated part of your family group and this position is important both for you and your pet. Staying in even the best boarding kennel can be a stressful experience for your pet as they are forcibly removed from their “pack” and placed into an unfamiliar environment. They will normally also be individually housed rather than being allowed to interact and socialize with other animals.

If you have more than one dog then the shock may be lessened as your pets will still at least have each other for support. However for lone dogs or those that really see themselves as “part of the family” it may be a wiser decision to consider taking them on holiday with you. While they may be shut away for a period of time during travel, upon reaching your destination your dog will be free to enjoy a wealth of new sites and sounds – all in the familiar surroundings of your family.

Regular Daily Exercise

Boarding kennels, by their very nature, only have limited time and staff available each week. This means that while your dog will no doubt receive regular exercise as agreed with the kennel staff, the exercise period it may be neither as long or as stimulating as you would provide.

Particularly active dogs like border collies, or those that are used to plenty of exercise, may find that a boarding kennel isn’t able to meet their demands. In these cases, using a pet transportation service to help you take your dog on holiday may work out far better.

Missing Your Pet

When your dog(s) are such an important part of your family its normal to miss them in their absence. Some people will be able to forget about their pets for a while and fully enjoy their time away. In contrast, others will find that their holiday is mired either by feelings of guilt as a result of leaving their dog with a stranger or of missing the pet. These feelings may be particularly strong among children.

Each individual is different and before heading off on vacation it is wise to have a family meeting to discuss the options so that everyone can agree on the best possible option for your unique situation.


For all the fun you’ll have on holiday, the fact is that the aspect of travelling can be rather stressful for all the family. Not surprisingly, this can apply just as much to your pet as to your immediate family. The caring pet owner will put some thought into minimizing stress for your pet which, in extreme circumstances, could lead to side effects such as them going off their food or increasing their chances of getting ill.

Some confident dogs seem to take everything in their stride and deal with new situations and new people without effort. These dogs can do surprisingly well in a boarding kennel environment. Equally, other dogs are far more easily stressed and a complete change of environment may be tough on them – especially if you’re not around to comfort them. In these cases it can be a smart move to consider taking your pet abroad with you.

Length of Your Stay

If you’re heading off for a weekend in Paris then frankly transporting your pet all that way only to just turn around and come back may well be considered a waste of time and money. In such cases it is normally easier to just ask a friend of family to look after them for a few days.

On the other hand, heading out to the USA for a month would be a totally different situation. Not only would this be a huge period of time to be away from your pet but the costs of boarding for such a long period of time would quickly skyrocket. In these cases, taking your pet with you might not only be better for your pet but could actually save you money too.


Certainly, your pet’s welfare must always be the primary factor in deciding whether to take him or her with you. However, there are situations where a balanced cost analysis can be useful for making a decision – especially if you’ve already spent a lot of money on your holiday.

There are all manner of factors which can affect your costs, including your chosen destination, the period of time you will be away for and the price of the individual boarding kennel you’re considering.


There is no perfect answer to the question as to whether it is better to take your pet abroad with you or leave it at home. Each individual will have their unique situation and what works for one family may not work for another. However by carefully considering the factors above and speaking to a pet relocation expert hopefully you’ll feel better able to make an informed decision.

Going away on vacation and can't decide whether or not to use a boarding kennel? Follow these guidelines to help you decide how best to care for your dog while you're away from home.