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We have an eight-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Emma. When she was a puppy, we found a wonderful pet sitter who takes dogs into her home, so Emma knows this woman and likes her.
We left Emma for a total of five weeks this winter, and we’re going to Europe this spring for seven weeks. We are trying to decide whether to take our dog with us or leave her for this extended period with the pet sitter. Is the routine with the pet sitter better than a lot of traveling and going different places with us, or is being with us of primary importance?
In a nutshell, my question is how long is too long to leave a dog with a reliable pet sitter?
Justine, you are describing a very interesting dilemma. I don't know of any research on the effects of long-term separation on dogs, but I do know that when they are left in crates in boarding facilities, their behavior can deteriorate quite rapidly. However, the experience of being in a home with a caring, familiar sitter is obviously very different.
My personal opinion is that your dog is better off maintaining her routine with the pet sitter, especially if you are reachable in case the sitter has to make a medical decision. It sounds like there are many win-win aspects to this option: You can enjoy extensive travel, confident that your dog is well cared for. I hope your travels are enjoyable!
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