Though your dog is a member of your family, you may not be able to take them everywhere with you. Some dogs don’t travel well, are too anxious in new environments or won’t be able to adjust to a vacation schedule.
Deciding to leave your dog behind is hard enough, but figuring how to leave them is even harder. You want to make sure they’re comfortable, safe and happy without you, which is why planning in advance is one of the best things you can do.
Being apart will be hard for both of you, but following these steps before you leave will set your dog up for success while you’re away.
Choose the Right Type of Care for Your Dog
The key to providing your dog with the best care possible while you’re gone is to find the environment that is most similar to their home environment.
There are several options available to you depending on your location:
- Local veterinarian
- Pet sitter (either at your home or theirs)
Though happiness is important, their safety and comfort are critical.
Spend some extra quality time together
An extra dose of quality time before you live can do wonders for you and your dog. They truly appreciate the time you spend with them. An extra walk, a few extra games of fetch or even a little more snuggle time on the couch goes a long way.
Meet with the sitter or boarding facility staff
Your dog will feel more comfortable if they have met the sitter a few times before you leave. Instead of feeling like they’re being handed off to a stranger, it’ll feel like they’re staying with someone they know.
Let the sitter know about your dog’s separation anxiety
Don’t leave this up for the sitter to figure out. Inform them of your pet’s symptoms, how intense the symptoms can be and what steps to take.
Send your dog off with reminders of home
Your dog’s surroundings don’t change if you have a sitter come to your house, but if your dog is staying anywhere else, pack familiar items to go with them.
The most important item to send with them is their bed. A dog’s bed makes them feel comfortable because it smells like you and your house. Other items your dog will find comforting are:
- A pair of your socks or a shirt
- Their usual food or treats
- One of their favorite blankets
If you’re the type to buy gifts for your dog when you have to leave them, send them off with a toy that can’t be ripped apart in seconds. Toys that won’t make a mess are best when other people have to clean up after your dog. Research sites like SparkysSpots for some good ideas. Just be sure you gift it at least a week before you leave so it can smell like home.
Get your dog moving before you leave
Making sure your dog gets enough exercise is one of the simplest ways to ensure their happiness. Go for a run, a leisurely stroll or a game of fetch.
All of that energy your dog has can get put in the wrong place during a time of change. By expending some of that energy during playtime or daily exercise, your dog will be more relaxed, helping them feel better when it’s time for you to head out.
Try a calming tool on your departure day
If you know your dog will need some extra help staying calm as you walk out the door with a suitcase, using a calming tool is a great idea.
Your dog may respond to pheromone products or supplements, and many owners report success with CBD oil or treats. Whatever you decide to do, check with your vet before introducing a new supplement into your dog’s diet.
Make your goodbye short and sweet
Your dog knows you better than you know yourself and can easily pick up on how you’re feeling. If you’re anxious, they will become anxious. If you give them a longer goodbye than you usually would, they will notice.
Set the tone for a good trip for you and your dog by leaving with confidence. Scratch those ears and head off into the sunset comfortably and your dog will feel just as good.
Of course you’re going to miss your dog just as much as they’ll miss you, but planning ahead can prepare them for a good vacation of their own. Planning also makes you comfortable and that’ll make it much easier for you both to deal with a temporary separation.