Everything You Need To Know About Dog Care Before You Go On Holiday

Deciding where your dog is going to get the attention and care they need when you’re away on holiday can be tough. You want to know that your dog is going to be happy and active while you’re away - not curled up, bored or anxious.

But don’t fret, help is at ‘paw’ - we’ve compiled this handy guide to take that stress away. Simply click on the heading below to find what you need to know:

(Or feel free to read the whole guide with a cuppa!)

How Long Can You Leave A Dog Alone?

In the event that you have to resort to leaving your dog alone, the RSPCA say it should be only for a maximum of four hours at any one time.

This is down to our furry pals being highly sociable creatures, in need of stimulation and exercise.

This allows them to remain the alert, healthy and happy dogs we adore.

You may be wondering how long you can legally leave your dog alone in the UK, and following the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 we can see that there is no explicit longest length of time that is considered to be a criminal offence. Despite this, when we asked Natalie Grey from Vets4Pets about her views on leaving dogs alone, we saw a similar theme to the RSPCA:

"Personally I would not leave my dogs on their own for longer than four hours at a time"

This is down to leaving a dog at home alone having an impact on the social development of a young puppy when left for too long, as well as having behavioural effects even on older dogs. In some cases when dogs are left for too long, they can develop separation anxiety.

For more information on this topic, check out our full article on the DogBuddy Blog.

Who Can Look After My Dog While I'm On Holiday?

There are a few options when it comes to looking for dog care, but the main ones are these four:

  • Friends & Family
  • Neighbours
  • Dog Kennels
  • Dog Sitting

Different Dog Sitting Services

We’ve been talking about dog sitting, but we have not yet covered the differences between the services available: boarding, walking and day care. Let’s explore the varied options and help you choose which will be the best pick for your dog:

Dog Boarding

Definition: Overnight dog care, round the clock care that is ideal for holidays

This is what Helen, dog owner and DogBuddy customer, had to say:

"Kate was really great helping us out with dog boarding at short notice. Very quick to respond to messages, gave us updates on how things were going while we were away, and most importantly gave our beloved Paddy lots of love, attention and walks - we came home to a very happy little dog."

Dog Walking

Definition: Take the dog for a walk - perfect for ensuring your dog gets exercise

Nicky, a regular user of DogBuddy for dog walking, told us of her experience:

"My dog Mitzi thoroughly enjoyed her walking today with Rhonda. Rhonda was friendly and caring, arrived on time and took photos on their walk so show me when they returned. I am very happy with this service and will be using Rhonda again."

Doggy Day Care

Definition: Throughout the daylight hours, constant care and attention - great for quick emergencies as well as when working in the office all day

Doggy day care user, Carol, said this about her time using DogBuddy:

"Quinn enjoyed his time and walks with Alice in day care. Much appreciated the texts and photos showing me that Quinn had settled in nicely in her home. Relaxed and caring Alice made a relaxed and happy Quinn. Thank you Alice."

Start your dog sitting journey with £10 free credit, usable for boarding, walking and day care - this one’s on us!

For more information on the Pros and Cons of your other care options, check out our detailed article on the DogBuddy Blog.

How Do I Decide The Best Care Option For My Dog?

Now we know the types of dog care available, it’s time to look at the individual differences in your dog that could affect your decision.

From breed type to age, there are many things that you need to seriously consider:

Dog Behaviour & Temperament

Think about how your dog will react around new people, and potentially new dogs or other pets - this can help you figure out which option is the perfect fit for you and your pooch. It’s important to learn about your dog’s body language, as your dog might not always bark when they’re upset. Rather than showing signs of aggression, they could simply be trying to play, which means they’re comfortable around a new person or dog.

Check out some of the most common dog behavioural signs to help you learn more about what your dog is telling you.

illustration of playful dog


Look out for pricked up ears, wagging tails and even a bark or two!

illustration of aggressive dog


Beware of bared teeth and growling - this dog needs some space.

illustration of scared dog


This dog has it's ears back; they may start whining to tell you that they’re scared.

illustration of happy dog


Lots of wagging tails; relaxed ears show that this is a happy pooch.

illustration of hungry dog


You may find your dog hanging around their food bowl, as well as following you very closely to get your attention.

illustration of bored dog


This dog will likely be staring off into the distance and when they lie down they don't close their eyes.

Check out our full post to get to know breed specific behaviours, and more!

Preparing For A Pet Sitter

Regardless of your choice of care, you'll need to make sure that you have everything provided in terms of information, schedules and even a favourite toy so that your beloved canine can relax and enjoy their time away from you as much as possible. There’s no way better to make sure that your dog feels like they’re in a home from home!

Why not take a look at an example of a sitter kit that you could prepare for your caregiver so that you know they have everything they would need to look after your prized pooch!

Walking Schedule

Ensure your dog has enough exercise while you are away. The easiest way to do this is by providing a walking schedule to your care provider tailored to your pet’s needs. PetMD suggests that:

"Though exercise needs are based on a dog’s age, breed, size and overall health, your dog should spend between 30 minutes to two hours on an activity every day."

Take a look at our walking schedule template below if you’ve not prepared one for a dog walker before:

Alternatively, you can fill out the schedule for walks when you sign up for DogBuddy and you register your dog. Also, with that link you can get £10 free credit for any service!

With our DogBuddy App you can take this to the next level, you can see your sitter sticking to the routine that you have laid out for your pooch, thanks to our GPS tracking!

For more on preparation for your dog sitter, including a downloadable feeding schedule and much more, check out the full article on the DogBuddy Blog.

How To Prepare Your Dog For A Pet Sitter

Let’s not forget about what your dog needs before you jet off on holiday! Here are a few things to consider doing before you leave, to make sure that your dog has a seamless transition.

Meet & Greet

owner meeting sitter

To make the transition as easy as possible for your dog, you should introduce your dog with their sitter face-to-face before the time of care so:

  • You can see if the care provider is a good match for your dog
  • You can find out about their experience with dogs
  • You can discuss schedules

But most importantly, it means that your dog will be looked after by a familiar face!

Here are DogBuddy’s tips for the perfect meet and greet:

Meet in public, if possible meet at a neutral location

This prevents any potential resident dog from becoming territorial. A neutral location also allows the guest dog to find their natural place in the pack, which is especially important if other dogs will be present in the sitter's home.

Ask questions

A meet and greet is the perfect time to learn more about a guest dog’s health, diet, behavioral history and other needs. It’s also a great opportunity to discuss what the dog sitter and the dog owner will provide (e.g. tags, leash and collar) for the duration of the stay. Remember to get each other’s contact details and veterinary information (especially if you'll be travelling during the booking).

Confirm the booking

If the booking has not been paid for yet, remember to pay online through DogBuddy to make sure your booking is covered by our insurance policy.

If you have any more questions about meet and greets, check out our dedicated FAQs site, help.dogbuddy.com

For more tips on getting your dog prepared for your dog sitter - head on over to the complete post on the DogBuddy Blog.

How Can I Track My Dog While I’m On Holiday?

So you’ve confirmed your dog caregiver, packed your bags and jetted off on your holiday. You want to be able to check in on your pooch at a moment’s notice.

We know that owning a dog can come with some obstacles. You always want to know that your dog is safe, and when you can't... you worry. We wanted to know what restrictions these concerns can lead to, so we asked dog owners all about it. When talking about restrictions, 60% said that owning a dog stopped them from taking a short break or going on a holiday longer than a week.

Even 11% of those people suggested that owning a dog has stopped them from taking a certain job or career!


At DogBuddy we aim to make these situations a thing of the past, and turn owning a dog into a walk in the park!

To find out what we offer, head on over to the full post on the DogBuddy Blog!

Ready to give dog sitting a try?

Now you have all the information and options around dog care while you’re away, you can feel confident to move forward with the best dog care for you and your pooch. To start your search for the perfect dog sitter, click on the button below and let us help you find the sitter that your canine companion deserves:

Use this guide to make your decision and choose not only a ‘least stressful option’ but the decide on the dog care option that will enrich your dog’s life: combating separation anxiety, increasing socialisation and giving them a new home from home.