June 19, 2024

It’s not easy leaving your best friend to go on a holiday

You and your dog do everything together — from enjoying long walks and playing in the park to sitting on the couch. You can’t imagine life without the friendly tail-wagging best friend and pup, so it’s hard to picture spending a vacation without them. Who will feed them? Will the sitter give them enough cuddles? Is your dog better off at home, boarded at a kennel or left with a friend or family member? Leaving your dog to go on vacation is tough.

You are probably worried about how to ease the separation anxiety, keep your dog as happy as possible, and provide the best possible conditions while you’re away. Even worse, you may continue to worry about your dog during your vacation, which could make it difficult for you to relax and enjoy your vacation.

If you’re anxious about going away without your pup, you’re not alone — according to a State of U.S. Pet Travel study, 74% of pet owners spend part of their vacations fretting about the pets they’ve left behind, and 24% admit to worrying during the entirety of the trip. Owners tend to fear for both mental and physical health of their dogs while away, with 20% worrying the pet might injure themselves or not eat enough, and 60% worry whether being alone will cause long-term anxiety issues.

No matter how much you love your pup, spending your vacation stressing over them will only ruin your vacation, and it certainly won’t help your dog. Prepare everything ahead of time to make sure the time you spend apart is the best it can be.

Not sure you know the right way to leave your dog for the first time? Don’t worry — from finding the right caregiver to planning the perfect ways to keep your pup’s tail wagging when you’re gone, here’s how to be an awesome parent and enjoy your trip.

Leaving Your Dog for Up to 2 Days

If your vacation is a day trip, or a weekend getaway, leaving your dog at home will be easier than you think. Since you’ll only be out of the house for a short time, the separation anxiety is a lot less prominent for both you and your pup. After all, you’re probably used to being separated during the day while you’re at work, and even if you spend more time together than the average pup and owner, the absence will pass quickly. Short trips are also easy to prepare for.

Here are some common concerns and how to address them.

Home vs. Caregiver:

Because you want someone to look after your pup every hour of the day, it’s tempting to consider recruiting a friend or family member to keep them in their home while you’re gone — or even to board with a kennel. You might feel most at ease knowing your dog is safe, even if that means an unfamiliar environment. Your dog will likely be just fine staying in your home while you’re gone, so depending on how much of the two days you will spend away from home, you can always ask a friend, neighbor, or family member to stay over or stop by a few times to spend time with, feed, and check on your dog.

Food and Comfort:

Recruit a friend to keep him company or decide she’s fine on her own for the day, it’s important to make sure to provide for your dog’s basic needs. Leave out extra water and food so hunger won’t be an issue, or if you’re worried about that becoming a mess, consider installing an automatic food and water dispenser that will portion out just the right servings at the right times. To keep your pup happy as well as healthy, make sure you provide some comfort items. For example, you can leave his or her bed in an accessible spot and put out safe toys.

Leaving Your Dog for 3 Days

If you are planning a long weekend, you should enjoy your time away while resting assured your dog is okay. Preparing to leave your pup during a three-day trip won’t be too different from leaving for a day or two.

You’ll find it easy to find someone to stop by a couple times a day to check on food, water, offer plenty of love and provide potty breaks. If you can’t find a friend willing to watch your dog occasionally, consider hiring a trained, certified pet sitter.

Leaving Your Dog for a Week or Longer

When you know you’ll be out of the house for a week or more, care becomes a little more complicated. You’ll need someone to look after your dog every day, providing them with food, water, attention, and affection during your absence. A week is a long time when it comes to attending to your dog’s needs, but it’s still short enough that packing up everything your dog needs and transferring them to another house or a boarding kennel can be an unnecessary hassle. To prepare easier for both you and your dog, plan to have a friend, family member or dog sitter care for your pup in the comfort of your own home. Here’s how to choose the right person to dog-sit and how to make sure everything is set for the week.

Choosing a Carer:

When you’re picking someone to care for your pup, make sure it’s someone you trust. This means a reliable, responsible friend you know can dedicate the proper amount of time to looking after your pup. If you have parents or siblings who live nearby, they’re great candidates because they know you, your dog. A neighbor is also a great option because they’re always nearby and can keep an eye on both your house and your dog around the clock.

Consider the people who know your dog best — familiar faces are the best option for putting them at ease when you’re not around. To make matters easier, ask your carer if they can stay in your house while you’re away — that way, you have a built-in sitter to provide your dog with comfort and affection, in addition to food. If no one you know is willing to watch, search for a certified pet sitter to hire. It may cost more, but you’ll know your pup is in good hands.

Preparations:

Whether your friend, neighbor, family member or professional pet sitter is staying in your home or stopping by every day, make sure you provide everything needed. Stock up on food, set up the house the way you’d like it to stay — with any specific doors closed or areas blocked off — and leave everything your sitter needs in a specific area. Set out your dog’s leashes, harnesses, collars, doggy bags, treats, extra food and medication for easy access, and make sure you also provide cleaning supplies like deodorizers, and stain removers. Make certain their tags are up-to-date and your registration, if required, is valid.

Instructing Your Carer:

Along with supplies, leave instructions on exactly what your dog needs. Tell your carer how to feed; how often to change their water, when to give treats, how frequently to take them out, whether they need a leash or not, where to walk and socialize with them and any other routine.

If your dog takes medication, make sure to be specific about how and when to give it, and be clear about explaining your dog’s behavior. Every pup is different — tell your sitter exactly what your dog likes for food, playing and cuddles, explain triggers that might upset them and make a note of when or where your dog is territorial. You can also give suggestions for handling your dog. Make a list of allergies and leave a contact number for your vet.

Leaving Your Dog for a Month, or Longer

Leaving your dog in the right care during these situations can be even more stressful. Whether you need to go away for long-term, you need to make sure your pup is in good hands. Here are some options when leaving your dog for a month.

Leave Your Dog with Family or Friends:

 If you have friends, family you trust, they’re the best option. It makes more sense for your dog to stay in your sitter’s home because of the length of time you’ll be away. Rather than picking anyone who’s up for the task, narrow your search to people who know you and your pup. This isn’t just pet-sitting for a week — it’s becoming a foster parent for a significant amount of time and being in the care of someone you already see frequently will help put your dog especially at ease. Plus, you can be sure that person has your best interests at heart.

You should consider the schedule and home conditions of the person your pup will be staying with. If they have a crazy routine and aren’t often at home, have kids or other pets your dog might not be comfortable with or live in a significantly smaller or less pet-friendly setting, this could be a problem. Make sure your sitter knows what they are getting into and is fully equipped for handling a dog full-time. If you do need to leave your pup with a family with children or other pets, introduce them beforehand to make sure everyone is comfortable with each other when the time comes.

Leave Your Dog with a Professional Pet Sitter:

If there’s no one close to you who can take care of your dog for as long as a month, a pet sitter is another comfortable alternative to a kennel. You can find a sitter by searching professional pet care websites, house care sites or classifieds — or ask your veterinarian for recommendations. Make sure the sitter you choose is certified, and you spend some time with them before you leave, so your dog can become accustomed to the person. Whether you leave your pup with the pet sitter, or the sitter stays in your house is up to you and the professional. While your friends and family might care for your dog without a fee or for a cheaper price, this option will cost you more, but it’s worth it for quality care.

Board Your Dog at a Kennel:

You can always choose a veterinarian or boarding kennel to keep your pup long-term. You might be less happy with this option, but don’t worry — boarding kennels have experience caring for pets and will make sure your dog is safe and cared for. Just make sure to do your research beforehand to determine which kennel is right for your pup.

Here’s what to consider:

How much space is there? How big are the runs — or sleeping areas — where your dog will stay, and how much room is there for your pet to play, exercise and socialize? Will your dog have an individual or shared space to sleep? Depending on the size and personality of your pup, these are important factors to investigate before choosing a kennel. You should also check into the size of the kennel itself and how many dogs it holds at once.

Will your pup have social time? Some kennels allow dogs to enter a common area for a specific amount of time each day to exercise and socialize with other animals. It’s important your dog gets around three to five hours of playtime a day — otherwise, they will feel cooped up. On the other hand, if your dog is anxious or unsocial, you need to see whether the kennel will allow dogs to exercise in their own space or play with human workers instead. In addition, see if the kennel separates dogs by age and aggression levels to make sure the environment is safe for yours.

How many carers will be around? It’s important for your dog to receive the proper amount of attention, so investigate how many people work at the kennel and when they will be around to interact with the animals. The larger the kennel and the more dogs they board, the more carers there should be. You should also check their experience level and certifications to make sure your pup is in the best hands.

What accommodations does the kennel have? Will your pup have a comfortable bed and toys to play with? How often will they eat? Make sure you understand the specific conditions you’re leaving your dog in. If your pup is of an advanced age or has special medical needs, investigate accommodations for those conditions, as well.

What are the fees, requirements, and inclusions? Check into the boarding fee per night and make sure you understand what the price includes. Does the fee cover food and additional services, or do you have to provide your own food and pay extra for grooming? Also, find out whether the kennel can pick up and drop off your dog, or you must do so yourself. Depending on the kennel, you might have to put your dog through a health screening or make sure they are up to date on vaccinations.

What’s the kennel’s reputation? Look at the kennel’s website and social media page for testimonials and customer reviews or ask any friends who have boarded pets there before. Recommendations can give you a good idea of what kind of environment and experience your pup is in for.

Prepare a Month of Dog Supplies and Instructions:

Make sure you’ve prepared everything your pup will need for the month. Here are the details you need to have organized.

  • Provide the right amount of food and medication to last the month.
  • Work out the routine with your caregiver, covering details like what to give your dog, when and how much.
  • Make sure your dog sitter knows how often your dog goes potty — and where.
  • Leave rewards for comfort and good behavior.
  • Leave your sitter with your dog’s bed and toys, so your pup feels at home.
  • Make a list of allergies and medication instructions.
  • Alert your carer to any special needs, anxieties, or personal traits they may experience
  • Apply flea treatments and get vaccines before you leave.
  • Provide contact details for yourself, a vet, or another emergency contact.

Last Tips for Leaving Your Dog

It’s hard to leave your dog. If you prepare everything before you set off, there’s nothing to worry about. Here’s some additional advice on how to make the distance easier when you leave your pup.

Provide small comforts: You’ll miss your pup, and they will miss you too! To keep yourself in your dog’s heart, leave little reminders out at home — put your sweater in your dog’s bed or leave out a pair of shoes so your pup can stay close to your scent until you return.

Don’t drag out the goodbye: Your dog is used to you leaving the house sometimes — don’t make a big production of your departure, or you could risk making your pup anxious. Act confidently and casually when cuddling your dog before you leave, and both of you will feel more relaxed.

Keep watch: If you’re still concerned about parting from your pup and wish you could keep an eye out while you’re gone, think about investing in a Furbo Dog Camera to stay in contact with the one you love. With features made especially for interacting with pups, Furbo is the only smart dog camera that lets you see, talk, and give treats to your dog from anywhere.

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