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Leaving your pet behind

I have a pooch who I consider family. I have made arrangements for her to stay at my son's house for the two months my wife and I will be in Italy. I hope the stress she (pooch) feels will not be severe. I will miss her. Have any of you had the same situation? I am a dog lover My dog seems to already know I will be leaving she is cuddling above normal. Dogs ...smarter than you think

Posted by
244 posts

Absolutely! The hardest thing is leaving our sweet yellow lab at home. Luckily she will also be staying with our son. We will be in England and Scotland for 5 weeks this September. Last year she stayed with them for 3 weeks when we were in Italy. She did give us the cold shoulder when we returned. But she forgave us! We always bring her a new toy when we return🐾.

Posted by
7737 posts

If you could have heard the absolute WAILING of some poor dog the last time I was at the airport, you would be glad you're leaving her at home. This poor dog was trapped in a carrier for god knows how long and it just broke my heart to think of the stress that the travel must have placed on her.

Posted by
767 posts

I have never had a dog as an adult-work schedule is too inconsistent. But I grew up with dogs and I am a dog lover. So I can empathize with how you are feeling. I frequently dog sit for my parents and other friends who take long trips. The dogs that know me well require no adjustment period. I am immediately accepted as a surrogate owner. For dogs that are new to me and my condo, they get a little stressed for the first few hours but after a walk outside, a meal, playing with a toy, they seem at home. If possible, take her over to your son's place before you leave so she is used to being there. And she is used to YOU being there.

Posted by
31076 posts


I absolutely know what it's like to leave pets behind, as I've had to do that every year. I have two Cats and until last August also had a much loved Dog. Unfortunately he's now gone and I sure miss him!!!

The Cats don't seem to be affected as much by my absence, at least not that they show. However, I always felt a bit guilty about leaving the Dog as he always missed me. Fortunately, I have a wonderful lady who has always taken great care of my pets either in my house or boarding the dog in her house, so I didn't worry about them when on holiday.

Yes, Dogs are indeed very smart.

Posted by
4539 posts

It's good that your dog will be staying with your son.
Sure you will miss her... but she's in good hands, right?

Dogs are very smart & very forgiving too ;-)

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
752 posts

I have to leave my cat behind. I don't have family around so she lodges at MEEOW CHICAGO.

She knows when this change comes, jumping up on the kitchen counters and hiding in the ceiling. They've had to return here after I leave to see if she's come down so they can get her in her carrier. They come as two so one can block the escape route to the ceiling.

It's quite a job to get her settled, she goes with enough food and litter to last my trip. They also help out with veterinary trips if needed. I couldn't travel without them. They are essential to my trips. I've heard that she doesn't eat the first day there, but she doesn't miss a beat when they return her back home. I'm so fortunate to have them.

Posted by
1135 posts

We have two cats to leave behind and its always a worry. There's nobody we can rely on in our city, so my parents have been driving up (one hour each way) every two days during all our trips. They used to say they truly didn't mind since they did all kinds of free babysitting for my sister and we didn't have kids, so they thought they were evening it out by taking care of the cats. But now they are aging fast (parents, not the cats), and I don't know for how much longer they are up to it. I don't think the cats would cope with being moved to their house.

My nephew will be starting University in town this fall and I played with the idea of having him do the cats during our trip next April (in exchange for use of a car for the duration), but he's somewhat unreliable and DH worries we'll come home to find he's been partying here. And knowing him, it would be one of those Facebook parties that gets out of control. So this idea is on hold until we see how he gets on.

They definitely sense an energy when we get packing and they seem a bit on edge, but don't "punish" us when we get home, as some cats do!

Posted by
3847 posts

Since we started travelling, we've had a dog we've had to leave behind. If we are travelling only a short time (week or two to the US) then my mom will generally come and stay with him (with a friend pinch hitting for a few nights), but longer, I hate to impose, so he usually goes to a boarding place with lots of other dogs. I like to think that he's having a mini-vacay of his own and getting lots of playing and exercising in. Our trip we just got home from, my mom stayed with the dog for 3 nights, then he went to boarding for three nights, then back with my mom...she said as soon as he got home he was exhausted and just slept (making life easy for her).

I had hoped my husband and I would be able to do our dream trip to Australia this year to celebrate his 50th birthday and our 25 years together, but my concern with having to board the dog for 4 weeks made me decide that we would wait to do that trip until after he is gone (which hopefully won't be for years yet). He's 7 now, and the thought of leaving him for so long just made me too sad (3 weeks in Europe is hard enough).

And we always expect so much excitement when we get home...but after about a minute, he's back to have a

Posted by
1653 posts

We took a 10 day trip/cruise with our nephew and his wife and I was impressed with how she called her mother every day without fail and spoke for at least 15 minutes each time. When I complimented him on his good fortune to have married such a sweet and thoughtful woman, he practically choked and spat out, "Are you kidding me?!? Her mom is watching the dogs." I still think she's nice.

Posted by
869 posts

This is actually the only part of of international travel that I dread. I think that I have as much separation anxiety as our two dogs (aka, our children) do. We are very fortunate to have friends that are a couple and they actually come and live in our home while we are gone. The dogs know them very well and these people are dog lovers. My anxiety is quickly put to rest when the sitters send the first few pictures of the dogs frolicking in fields on their daily walks and playing in the river. We even do FaceTime.

Finding the right person to care for your furry family member can be very challenging, but once you have found them, they are worth their weight in gold for that peace of mind. :-)

Posted by
27 posts

My dog is starting to get clingy too, he always knows when a trip is coming up! I hate leaving him but I have family that fights over who gets to keep him while we're away so I know he's having a great time being spoiled! He's always happy to see us but he also loves his adventures while we're gone! I will usually leave him with a t-shirt I've worn or wrap it around his pillow so my scent is still around. Sounds crazy but I think it helps comfort them, or maybe it just makes me feel better!

Posted by
8293 posts

Our cats used to jump into the suitcases as soon they were placed on the bed to be packed, and then stare at us with mournful eyes. Guilt? Tell me about it. Both cats are now in Pussycat Paradise, where no one ever leaves them behind and catnip is readily available.

Posted by
5399 posts

Our doormat tells the tale: "THE DOG and his domestic staff reside within"
When we travel (for a weekend, a week, or a month) HE has the house to himself, with a trusted sitter who comes in twice a day to feed and play. Same person every time for the last 4 years -- if she stops doing pet care, we're sunk!

Posted by
3343 posts

Our dog has been spending vacation time at Creature Comforts Pet Resort in Tucson for years. He's so used to it and is treated so well there that the minute we walk in the door he goes over to whatever person is there to take him in and doesn't even say goodbye or look back. I'm glad that he likes it so much.

The longest we have left him at once there was this past fall when our 5-week trip turned into 6. But I had taken in enough food and treats to last much longer than that. He was glad to see us and ready to go home when we picked him up, but he has so much fun there, I don't feel bad about leaving him.

It's not cheap, but twice against my better judgement, I've left him with friends who absolutely insisted on taking care of him. It did not work out well for them or for him. I feel much more comfortable leaving him with the professionals.

Posted by
10337 posts

If we could read their canine minds, I think we would learn that your dog will not enjoy Europe as much as you will.
She/he will be happier here than in Paris/Rome/etc.
Yes, even though you're not with her/him.

Posted by
9454 posts

It is difficult to leave them behind. We talk about our cats constantly while traveling, and miss them very much. We find it is less stressful to leave them at home with a house/cat sitter and have been fortunate to have many friends step up to the "challenge" of visiting Roma and staying in our apartment while we travel. If you cannot find a friend or family member, consider checking out Trusted Housesitters. I posted there once as a trial and was overwhelmed with people willing to come and stay with our girls.

Posted by
1106 posts

I look at this from two sides. One, I am a dog sitter, both boarding in my home and/or doing visits in their home. Luckily the dogs I take care of all adjust quickly and are fine. It helps that many are repeat customers, so they know me!

But, when I recently left MY dogs home, I was heartbroken! I had a live-in house/pet sitter who sent texts and pictures often, so I knew they were fine. I was just a worried mom. I think the stress of an international flight would have been worse.

Posted by
11613 posts

I took my cat, Roma, to Italy once. She was miserable. We left her with trusted friends in the countryside when we went touring, thinking she'd like it there. But turned out she was a city cat. Very happy to get back to her air-conditioned home in Miami.

Posted by
104 posts

As I read each post I empathized with each of you!

When I began thinking about a year life sabbatical in Italy the first research was how to bring my dog. Jake has loved every minute of our traveling together for over 3 years. He slept the entire flight to Paris, then enjoyed looking out the window when we flew to Rome a few days later.

Since arriving in Orvieto he has made many dog friends and even a tri-color cat that hangs out in the square next to us. It's wondetful how Europe embraces pets to accompany you everywhere (except churches, museums, grocery markets and theater). He is welcomed as a "regular " at our favorite cafe.

I'm leaving him at our hotel room while I soak in Andrea Bocelli next week. I will bribe him with a fresh marrow bone. But I will still get the big sad eyes and cold shoulder when I return. Pets are truly like our "other children "!

Posted by
3308 posts

Trustedhousesitters is a great website to find people who are looking for a vacation and have experience with animals! You don't pay's a simple exchange of lodging for pet care.
We home exchange so when we travel there is almost always someone here to care for our cats - we happily take care of other people's pets on the exchanges as well. It's fun to have a temporary pet to get to know and take care of! This summer we cared for cats and fish on our home exchanges. In the past we've cared for dogs as well. Gives peace of mind on both sides of the exchange! I loved it when my home exchange partners would message me pictures of them with my cats and I sent pics of their pets!

Posted by
524 posts

We have two dog kids. I wish we had family that was willing/able to care for them. My mom kept them for us, but sadly she is no longer with us. I have offered to pay my sister, what I pay for kennel, along with car privileges, but her family obligations prevent her. I have thought about pet sitters, but I have trust issues. What if they never show up? Luckily, we have have found a wonderful kennel, Rover Resort. They post pictures on FB, will email and text. The boys have AC and TV (for noise-one has storm anxiety), a private patio, plus lots of outside time. They know when we are planning a trip, they think they are going too. They get so excited. I tell them they are going to doggy camp. They seem happy when we drive up to kennel and they rush into the building with tails wagging. They, too, are exhausted and come home and sleep. I miss them terribly while away, and always look forward to home again smooches.

Posted by
4539 posts


I think dogs, just as children, can sense your apprehension and this in turn makes them apprehensive.

Posted by
24 posts

Hi Jim,

I find it very difficult to leave our dog Rocky home when we go on vacation as well. Like you, we are huge dog lovers and consider him a part of our family too. They can sense that something is going on as you prepare. We notice it every time and try to give extra attention before our trips.

I would agree with the suggestions to make sure she is comfortable with your son and the arrangements for while you are away.

I am also fortunate to have family to stay with him, for that I am thankful. As we prepare for our trip only a few weeks away, my mom just asked me (given his age) the dreaded question, "if he is to pass while you are away, do you want me to call you?". Ouch! I don't know how to answer. On one hand I want to know but on the other, should we wait? These types of things you don't want to think of as you are planning for your trip but as our pets age, they are questions we must consider...if your dog is an older dog you may want to consider whether or not you would want to be notified... Don't mean to add to your stress but something to think about if you do have an older dog like me..


Posted by
792 posts


Good question. I think I would rather not know if something happened until I returned home. It would completely ruin any time I had left on the trip.

Posted by
1446 posts

Yes, this is the hardest part of traveling! We use to find house/pet sitters to stay in our home & care for our cat when we travel. We have met some wonderful people & they typically don't charge for their services...most of the folks we've had are retired & are looking for the opportunity to is it new places rent-free. I always insist on paying them something &/or leaving some restaurant gift cards for them to use while staying in our home. Not only is my cat happy but the added benefit is that or house is "lived in" so as to detract thieves, etc. it can be hard to turn your home over to a total stranger but we've always had a good comfort level with the house sitters we've used & I always tell my neighbors to let me know if they see something suspicious. Our Housesitters have always been good at sending us pics of our "baby" while we are traveling so we can see that he is okay.

Posted by
506 posts

We had our "baby" for 15 years until she passed away. But we found over the years having someone come in and stay with her at home was the best. Double fold, you get someone to watch your house and your dog only has you missing but everything else is the same. If your dog is close to your family than that probably will be second best. You are probably all set for this trip, but maybe in the future try out some house sitters. Ours was with us for so many years she was like family.