Any dog owner knows that leaving your best friend behind while you travel can be difficult — for both you and your dog. But when you’re trying to find the right place for an elderly dog, there are many additional factors to consider. There are lots of potential challenges that can come with age: mobility problems, anxiety, loss of sight and hearing and other health problems. You’ll need to think carefully — and be realistic— about how he’s doing when making plans for him. Boarding at Traditional Kennels Senior dogs can stay in kennels, of course, but there are several things to contemplate before choosing to board your furry friend: Potential for stress: Think about whether your dog has been stressed from being in new or different environments or even just being away from you. Vaccine policy: You should inquire about the facility’s vaccine requirements, and then talk to your vet to make sure your dog is up to date on all needed vaccines. Some might be required by the kennel, like rabies, while others might not be, like the flu — and that means your dog has the potential to be exposed to something against which she's not already vaccinated. Your vet can advise you as to whether you should consider a vaccine your dog hasn't already had. Flooring: Ask whether the facility has “surfaces that are non-slip so that they don’t slide around on the floor when they’re trying to walk.” Exercise needs: An older dog should still get a walk to stretch her legs or the chance to spend time outdoors. Comforts from home: You can also check to see whether the facility will allow you to bring your dog’s own bed so she has something familiar and comfortable with her. If not, you might ask about what kind of bedding or soft surface will be available, particularly for dogs who are arthritic. Staying With Family or Friends As your dog ages, you might think about asking a family member or friend to take care of her instead of bringing her to a boarding facility. It’s really nice when you have other family members who the dog knows, because that can be really helpful when you travel, if the dog can either stay with them or they can stay with the dog. Hiring a Pet Sitter You can hire someone to stay at your home 24/7 while you’re gone or set it up so the pet sitter comes in multiple times a day to feed your dog, give her attention and get her outside. Depending on the dog, you might want to try this option out on a short-term basis first to see how it goes — maybe for one night while you’re not far away. Take some time to get your dog used to this person, if it’s someone new to her.