Whether it’s work, a wedding or a well-deserved vacation, every pet owner occasionally needs to skip town to travel. Leaving your dog behind can be hard on both you and your pet, but by planning ahead, you can set your dog up for a low-stress transition while you’re out of town.
Before hopping on a plane, it’s important to decide where your pet will stay while you’re away. You can board your dog at a kennel or veterinarian’s office, but many owners opt to hire a pet sitter. Not only does this minimize stress by allowing your dog to stay within the comforts of his own home, but also provides you with a house sitter to pick up mail, water plants and take care of other day-to-day activities while you’re gone. Whatever option you opt for, be sure to provide your pet’s caretaker with any necessary health information, including your vet’s contact information in case of an emergency.
Once you’ve arranged a spot for your dog to stay, you can begin mentally preparing Fido for your trip. Invite your pet sitter over or take your dog to meet the staff at the boarding facility so he isn’t confronted with strangers on departure day. If your pet is prone to separation anxiety, discuss this with his caretaker and ensure he won’t be left alone for long periods of time. Spend some extra time with your dog before you head out and make sure he’s had plenty of exercise to help him relax during the transition. If you’re dropping him off at the kennel or vet’s, you can send him with familiar objects, such as toys and bedding, that will bring the smells and comforts of home. You can also send your dog with his usual food and treats to minimize any changes to his diet. Some pet owners find it helpful to leave their pets with time-consuming toys, like a Kong, to distract them the day of their departures. When it’s finally time to leave, be sure to remain calm and confident, as dogs can easily pick up on their owners’ emotions.
Your companion will miss you, just as you miss him during a trip, but a few preparations can help ease the transition. Planning ahead will help you feel ready for your temporary separation, and if you feel confident on departure day, so will your dog.