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According to the latest reports, about 470 million households include dogs right now. That number is rising by the year, and it’s expected to continue growing during the years to come. Most dog parents will agree that you can’t beat the unconditional love, loyalty, companionship, and countless photo and video opportunities that come with sharing your home with a dog. Pet dogs also seem to have an uncanny ability to understand your feelings and emotions even when the humans in your life are oblivious.

Because of all those aspects, going on vacation or taking a business trip and leaving your dog behind can be particularly difficult. You miss all the petting, snuggles, and funny moments and worry about your four-legged companion every moment you’re away. After all, they can’t take care of themselves. They depend on you for everything, and if you’re out of the picture, even for a couple of days, what will happen to your fur-baby? Fortunately, you don’t have to forego traveling if you’re a dog owner. Alternatives are available.

Dog Boarding Facilities

No matter where you live, there’s probably a Local Dog Boarding facility at your disposal. These care centers for dogs offer varying levels of accommodations. Some provide basic shelter, food, water, and outdoor time. Others are more like luxury spas where your dog will be pampered beyond belief. If you’re concerned about the care your pet will receive at these facilities, ask to take a tour and see where the dogs are kept and other features.

Hire a Personal Caretaker

Certified pet caregivers are also an option. You don’t have to turn to a random stranger who’ll promise to feed, water, and walk your dog but ultimately take your money and run. Truly qualified and trustworthy pet caregivers are out there. Certain steps are involved in becoming a certified dog walker and caregiver, though they may vary by state. There’s no harm in asking to see a candidate’s credentials, and those who are actually certified will be happy to accommodate. Professional pet caretakers won’t necessarily stay with your dog around the clock, but they’ll give him or her food, water, and attention as well as outdoor potty breaks per the agreed-upon schedule.

Ask a Friend or Relative for Help

You may have a friend, relative, or neighbor who’ll be willing to look in on your dog while you’re away. If you ask someone for help, be sure to specify what your fur-baby needs, such as the appropriate amounts of food per feeding and how often he or she typically needs to go out each day. Consider offering this person at least a little compensation for his or her time and effort. Keep in mind, though, the stand-in caregiver may not be able to keep the exact schedule your pet is accustomed to.

Considering Your Options

Dog boarding facilities, personal pet caretakers, and friends or relatives who are willing to help are the top alternatives for pet parents who need to travel for business, pleasure, or other reasons. In some cases, you may even be able to take your pet with you. An ever-growing number of hotels are now allowing pets. Some even provide pet-sitting services while you go out. In light of all that, you don’t have to give up traveling or spend your entire trip worrying that your furry companion isn’t getting the care he or she needs.