3961 Hastings Street

Burnaby, BC V5C 2H8

604 291 6666

Client Support

Mon - Fri: 8AM - 6PM

Online store always open

Close this search box.
Do's and Don'ts for Pet Care While You're Away on Vacation | Hastings Veterinary Hospital

Do’s and Don’ts for Pet Care While You’re Away on Vacation

The season of summer vacation is upon us! In an ideal world, we could take our beloved cats and dogs everywhere we go, showing them the world and sharing special moments together. Unfortunately, depending on the destination and the kind of vacation you’re going on, it can be impractical or impossible to bring our pets with us, and so we leave them in the care of someone else until we return. 

How do we make sure our pets are well taken care of, even while we’re away on vacation? In this guide, we’ll go over some do’s and don’ts to help you make sure your pet is safe, healthy, and happy while you enjoy your vacation.

Do: Leave Your Pet with Someone You Trust

No matter who you ask to look after your pet while you’re away, you need to be sure that they’re reliable, responsible, and trustworthy. If possible, try to get someone that your pet is already familiar with. This will help to reduce their stress and avoid any problems while you’re out of town.

When asking people for help with pet care, ensure that they’re prepared to let them out (if your pet is a dog), pick up after them, give them food and water, and spend ample time playing and being with your furry friend. 

Do: Let Your Pet Stay In Your Home (If Possible)

If you can find someone willing to regularly visit your home, it will help keep your pet relaxed and happy while you’re away. Cats and dogs are creatures of habit and routine, and being in a familiar space will help them feel more at ease—even without having their usual person around.

Of course, it’s sometimes not possible to keep your pet in your home. If this is the case, do your best to leave them somewhere familiar, such as a home they’ve been to before or at least with people they know. 

Do: Get Your Pet’s Supplies Organized

No matter what you arrange for pet care, you’ll need to get all of their things in order to make sure they’re happy and have everything they need while you’re gone. Every pet has its own unique needs, so think carefully to make sure nothing important is forgotten. Here’s a list of the essentials to get you started:

  • A supply of your pet’s usual food
  • Lots of your pet’s favourite treats
  • Favourite blankets and toys
  • Other supplies (e.g., cat litter, doggy bags, etc.)

Do: Get Your Pet Sitter Up to Speed

We recommend writing an in-depth list of everything your pet sitter needs to know about looking after your pet. This means how often to let them out (and at what times), exercise needs, how often/how much to feed them, instructions on grooming needs, and any specific quirks or requirements your pet might have. 

Your sitter also needs to know about security measures in the home to make sure your pet can’t run away. Make sure they know which parts of the yard are secure, how to latch the gate, and so on.

You must also make sure the person caring for your pet has your contact information, as well as a number and address for your emergency contact and veterinarian. In case your pet needs medical attention, be sure to include all the info your vet will need, such as your pet’s name, age, breed, and sex.

Do: Spend Lots of Time With Your Pet Before and After You Go

Our pets miss us when we’re gone! While you shouldn’t let this stop you from enjoying a vacation from time to time, it’s important to make up for it by spending plenty of time with your pet before and after leaving. Take your dog for a nice walk, or spend a couple of hours playing with your cat. Bonus points if you can do this right before leaving to get them more tired and relaxed when it’s time for you to go.

Don’t: Make a Fuss When You Go

This is a tough one, but it’s a good idea to try not to drag out your goodbyes with your pets. While we obviously want to shower our pets with love before heading out the door, this often makes things much harder on your pet when you’re gone. Try not to get too worked up, as pets will usually pick up on these emotions. Keep it short, sweet, and save all the major shows of love and affection for your return.

Don’t: Choose a Boarding Place or Kennel at Random

If you don’t have the option to leave your pet in your or someone else’s home, you’ll have to turn to a pet boarding company or kennel. These can be great options—most take excellent care of your pets, providing for all their needs and keeping them healthy while away. However, not all of these facilities are created equally. It’s important that you do ample research to ensure you’re making a good choice. If possible, get recommendations from fellow pet owners or your veterinarian. 

Don’t: Procrastinate Organizing Care for Your Pet

Related to the last point, don’t leave pet care to the last minute! There’s so much planning that goes into your average vacation, but you need to prioritize care for your pet just as much as booking flights or hotels. Failing to organize this early on will limit your options, and will probably cause excess pet stress while you’re gone.

Don’t: Forget to Leave a Vet Contact

No matter who’s looking after your pet while you’re away, it’s vital that a trusted veterinarian is just a call away. Hopefully, this contact information won’t be needed, but it needs to be there just in case. Leave the name, number, address, and opening hours of your veterinary office (and ideally, an emergency veterinary hospital) for the person caring for your pet.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Hastings Veterinary Hospital and a clickable link back to this page.


Pet Heath Tips

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Clinic Hours


08:00 am to 6:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday

We are closed