Are you going away for a well-deserved break this holiday but already feeling weepy about leaving your dog with a pet-sitter or at a boarding facility? These 8 steps will make it easier.
1. Set up a few ‘get acquainted‘ visits with your pet-sitter or boarding facility. If your dog is naturally wary of new people, ask the person who will be looking after your dog to initially avoid eye contact and let your dog approach him or her in their own time. Have some treats at the ready for when your dog starts to relax and initiate interaction. This will encourage your dog to associate this person with positive experiences, making the next meeting a happy and relaxed one.
2. Ask the person who will be caring for your dog to bring an item of clothing with their scent to the above visit and take it home. Introduce this item to your dog in the days leading up to your trip and reward him for being happy and relaxed around it. If using a boarding facility, leave your dog with a favourite blanket, bed and toy when it is time to drop him off. This will not only have his scent on, but yours and your home’s too, providing a sense of familiarity and security.
3. Go for a walk on one of the ‘get acquainted’ visits. This is a good opportunity to show your pet-sitter some of your dog’s favourite routes. It will also encourage your dog to start getting used to having to keep his eyes and ears on a new person. At a boarding facility, it encourages your dog to get familiar with his new environment ahead of his stay.
4. When the time comes to say “goodbye”, leave a detailed schedule of your dog’s routine, including feeding, walking and any medication. Ensure easy access to anything that is required for this schedule such as medication, leashes and poop bags etc.
5. Leave your vet’s contact details in case of an emergency and inform your vet that they have your permission to provide medical care.
6. If using a pet-sitter, let your neighbours and security company know that someone will be staying in your home while you are away. Leave your pet-sitter’s number with them and their numbers with your pet-sitter.
7. If you feel that your dog will need some extra support while you are away, ask your vet to recommend a natural and gentle remedy that will help ease anxiety and promote relaxation.
8. On your return find an eco-friendly toy or treat to make the reunion that much more exciting.