As much as we wish we could take our furry family members with us everywhere, occasionally it is necessary to leave them behind. Maybe you’re traveling for business or flying overseas. Maybe you’re going on vacation or a cruise. Sometimes your dog just can’t come on the trip.
Still, whether it’s with a trusted friend or family member, at a “pet hotel,” or with a highly-recommended (or at least well-researched) pet sitter, there are several things you can do to ease you and your dog’s anxiety about being separated for longer than a day at work. Here are 5 tips for leaving your dog in someone else’s care.
#1 – Make sure ID tags are up to date
Accidents happen, and if your dog somehow escapes, you’ll want a current tag with your cell phone number on it. You can also consider getting a temporary tag with the contact number of the person watching your dog, as well as friends and family that could help out in a pinch. Making sure your dog is microchipped before you leave can give you an added sense of assurance that your dog will be returned to you if they happen to escape – just make sure that that information is current, too.
#2 – Leave detailed care instructions
Dogs thrive on routine, and the closer your stand-in can stick to your dog’s routine, the less your dog will stress about your absence. Leave a note with how much food to feed at each meal, as well as the times your dog is used to eating. List how many treats your dog is allowed and if they have any medical needs the caretaker should be aware of. If your dog is being watched at your own house, have the pet sitter come over ahead of time so you can walk them through your dog’s routine, show them where everything is, and introduce them to your pet if they haven’t already met.
#3 – Mention important details about your dog
All those little quirks that you never think about can suddenly become big problems when somebody else is watching your dog. Do they like to chase delivery trucks? Are they socialized with other animals? Do they have any leash aggression issues? Are they prone to slipping out the front door any time it’s opened? You’re used to dealing with these behaviors on a regular basis and probably don’t think twice about the little things you do to keep your dog safe, but a new person won’t instinctively know all those details about your dog, which can lead to trouble.
#4 – Keep the goodbye short and sweet
When it’s time to leave, the longer you clutch your dog and swear you won’t be gone for very long, the more stressed out and anxious he’ll become when you finally walk out the door. If you can pretend it’s just another day at work, despite the luggage you are carrying, your dog will feel much more relaxed at your departure.
#5 – Leave small comforts
Try putting an item of clothing that you’ve worn but haven’t washed in your dog’s bed or crate so they can be comforted by your scent. If you’re concerned about them chewing your favorite shirt or are looking for an added level of stress relief, try a comfort cuddler. Treat dispensing toys and dog-safe chews can also help keep your dog occupied and happy if they’ll be alone for large portions of the day while you are gone.
With a little bit of preparation, leaving your dog behind doesn’t have to be stressful. You should be able to relax knowing that your dog is in good hands.
(H/T: Dog Tag Art)