It’s great to take a vacation, but not every trip is pet-friendly. Whether your furry friend just doesn’t travel well or you’re going to a place that’s not great for pets or pet parents, it’s important to make sure that any temporary separation isn’t too stressful for you and your furry friend. Here’s an overview of what to do with your dog while on vacation.
Figure Out Where Your Dog Will Stay and Who Will Watch Them
When you leave for vacation, your dog needs to somewhere safe and secure. There are a few options that you can choose from, depending on your furry friend and what’s available to you.
Have Your Dog Stay at Home
It’s important to have someone who is reliable check in on them. A great option for your dog while you’re on vacation is to keep them at home, so they can feel safe and comfortable. This route is great for dogs who don’t respond well to change, as they get to stay in a place that’s familiar to them.
In terms of who would be the best fit to feed your dog, let them out, and spend some time with different people and see who they respond to best. A familiar face works best, especially if they can stay at your house while you’re out of town. Having someone your dog knows take care of them while you’re away is good because your dog will feel more comfortable when a person they recognize walks through the door.
If you don’t have a familiar face to watch your dog while you’re on vacation, hiring a professional pet sitter is another great option to make sure your furry friend is taken care of during your absence. Pet professionals can help make sure your dog’s routine stays consistent and that they receive all the care they need while you’re away.
If you go the pet sitter route, it’s valuable to have you and your dog meet with them before you leave on vacation. The reason this is important is because not everyone is going to be the right fit for your furry friend, so meeting them beforehand will give you the peace of mind knowing they are in good hands.
Have Your Dog Stay with Someone
If your house isn’t an option while you are away, your furry friend may be able to stay at the home of a friend, family member, or trusted guardian. The environment may not be as familiar, but having a friendly face will help ease your dog’s potential stress. Another benefit of leaving your dog with someone they know is that they will get lots of love and snuggles that they otherwise wouldn’t if they were home alone.
If you do decide to bring your dog to someone’s house while you’re on vacation, make sure to stop by for a pre-trip meet and greet to ensure your furry friend will be comfortable in their temporary accommodations while your away on vacation.
Board Your Dog
Another option is to board your dog at a reputable pet boarding facility. Some veterinarians my offer boarding services as well. Regardless, you’ll want to visit the facility to see how it’s run, what the living conditions are like, and what a typical day will look like for your canine companion. Make sure you ask staff members:
- What type of exercise your dog will get.
- Which vaccinations they require for boarding.
- Facility protocols for medical emergencies.
Many boarding kennels even offer video cameras so you can keep an eye on your best friend every day that you’re away!
If your dog is the sociable type and doesn’t mind being around other furry friends, a well-run facility could make sense if stay-at-home options aren’t available. However, if your dog gets nervous or reacts badly in new environments, boarding may not be the right option for your four-legged family member.
What to Do to Make Sure Your Dog is Ready Before You Leave
Once you have a plan in place for your pooch, it’s time to prepare for your departure! There are a few important steps you’ll want to take to make sure that they’ll be ready for when you’re gone.
Get Your Furry Friend’s Things in Order
Dogs are just like humans when it comes to routines, they prefer to stay consistent. Part of making the separation process easier for your furry friend is making sure that they have all the things they need to keep their days as consistent as possible. This includes:
- Providing their sitter or boarding facility with enough of their favorite food, like Bil-Jac Picky No More formula.
- Making sure any necessary medications are packed and ready to go.
- Sending a supply of their favorite treats for good behavior.
While food and medication are crucial, it’s also very important to consider leaving your furry friend some special items to comfort them during your vacation, especially if they are not staying at your house. If your dog has a favorite stuffed animal, toy, or blanket, make sure you take those with them so that they have something that looks and smells familiar. Bringing their favorite treats also can bring your dog comfort. Lasty, if your dog sleeps in a dog bed, you will want to take that as well. Even snuggling with one of your shirts can offer some comfort while you’re away.
Inform the Sitter
In addition to leaving food, treats, meds, and other items behind, you should also go over any necessary instructions for your dog’s sitter or boarding facility. This includes:
- Contact Information:
- Your full name, phone number, and email address.
- Backup contacts in case you cannot be reached.
- Emergency Contacts:
- Contact information for your veterinarian, including the name of the clinic, phone number, and address.
- The contact information for an emergency animal hospital or clinic in the area.
- Pet’s Information:
- Your pet’s name, age, breed, and sex.
- Any distinguishing markings or features.
- Medical History:
- List of current medications, including dosage and frequency.
- Information about any allergies or known medical conditions.
- Recent vaccination records.
- Instructions for administering medications, if applicable.
- Feeding Instructions:
- Detailed instructions on the type of food, portion sizes, and feeding schedule.
- Any dietary restrictions or preferences.
- Routine and Schedule:
- A typical daily schedule, including feeding times, walks, playtime, and any specific habits.
- Preferences for where your pet likes to sleep or spend time.
- Behavioral Tips:
- Information about your pet’s behavior around strangers, other animals, and children.
- Any known triggers or fears your pet may have.
- Exercise Needs:
- Instructions on how much exercise your pet requires and preferred activities.
- Locations for walks or favorite spots for play.
- Grooming Instructions:
- Specifics about grooming needs, such as brushing, nail trimming, and bathing.
- Any preferences or aversions your pet may have.
- Pet’s Comfort Items:
- Identify favorite toys, blankets, or other comfort items.
- Any specific routines or rituals that comfort your pet.
- House Rules:
- Information about any areas of the house that are off-limits for the pet.
- Instructions on using specific pet-friendly furniture or equipment.
- Security Measures:
- Details on how to secure doors, windows, and any outdoor enclosures such as fences or playpens.
- Information about any security systems or alarms.
- Preferred Method of Communication:
- Let the pet sitter know how and when you prefer to be contacted (text, call, email) and the frequency of updates.
Like people, every dog has their own quirks, so you will want to communicate as much as possible to whoever is taking care of your furry friend. Does your precious pooch have any specific routines or places where they like to hang out in the house? What specific commands do you use when going outside, getting a treat, or letting them know it’s time to eat? Let your sitter know information like this ahead of time so they are prepared to take care of your dog while you’re on vacation. Sometimes even a simple tip about where your furry friend likes to be scratched can help your sitter relax them if they are feeling stressed.
There is a lot to remember when you leave your dog with someone else. Feel free to use our Vacation Prep Checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Spend Some Quality Pre-Vacation Time Together
You won’t be able to see your dog while you’re away, so dedicate some extra time to hang out with your furry best friend before you travel. Taking your dog for a nice, long walk, playing fetch, and other forms of exercise can help your dog exert some energy so that they aren’t as jumpy when you head out for vacation.
It’s also a good idea to try to get any packing, planning, and other vacation prep done ahead of time. A flurry of activity the night before you leave can signal that a change is coming to your furry friend. By prepping early, you can spend the evening snuggling up on the couch so that your dog is more relaxed going into the big day.
Stay Cool and Calm When You Say Goodbye
No matter where your dog is staying while you’re gone, it’s important to stay calm when you leave. If you get really worked up or anxious when you say goodbye, your dog likely will as well. When you leave your house or drop them off at a friend’s or a dog boarding facility, try to make the situation feels as normal as possible. This will help them stay calm as you walk out the door.
Stay Engaged While You’re Away
Technology has come a long way in recent decades, and that includes tech for pets. New apps and toys can help you maintain a strong connection with your dog even when miles apart. Depending on what app you choose, you can receive real-time updates, photos, and even live video feeds of your furry companions, Additionally, interactive toys equipped with cameras and two-way audio systems enables you to engage with your dog remotely, turning playtime into a shared experience, no matter where you are.
We do suggest you test these toys and cameras out ahead of time to make sure they are comforting to your furry friend. Some pups may not always respond well to hearing their pawrent but not being able to see or smell them.
Make Vacation a Relaxing Time for You and Your Dog
No one wants to be worried about their dog while they’re away on vacation. By planning ahead and taking the necessary steps, you can help ensure that your furry friend is in good hands and anxiety-free while you’re away.
Want to learn more about what you can do to make sure your favorite furry family member is happy and healthy? Join the Best Friends Club today to receive special training tips, informative articles, and members-only discounts on Bil-Jac products.