How to Leave Your Dog at Home While You’re on Vacation or Away
Whenever you’re faced with having to get out of town, figuring out what to do about your dog while you’re away can be a stressful and difficult decision. Whether the reason is something exciting like a vacation, or if you have other circumstances that force you to be away from your pet for an extended period of time, you’re going to be faced with a lot of factors that influence how your pet is taken care of.
Especially if you have a dog with behavioral issues or severe separation anxiety, this is something that needs to be planned extensively and not taken lightly. Luckily, in this day and age there are a myriad of options that can be tailored to fit both the exact needs of you as well as your pup.
Here are some things to think about and options to consider if you’re faced with leaving your dog at home while on vacation or away. (Also consider reading our article about caring for your dog when you’re busy at work)
Will My Dog Think I Abandoned Him When I Go on Vacation?
If you are going out of town on vacation it is understandably a little nerve wracking worrying that your dog will think he’s been abandoned. And for a pet who has separation anxiety this can be extra concerning.
Dogs are social animals and having their person leave them will certainly have an effect on them initially. However, they’re also very adaptable creatures who will adjust to having you not around with a good amount of preparation.
Another important thing to remember is that dogs pick up on your emotional cues. If you’re worried and acting anxious about going away, they’re going to sense that energy and in return be worried and anxious as well.
Depending on what you arrange for her care, there are definitely things you can do that will make leaving her a better experience for both of you. You can spend extra time together so he feels some extra love prior to your departure. If you’re planning on having someone initially unfamiliar to him take care of her, make sure that they have a meet and greet session so that she’s not leery of a complete stranger. You can leave him with a familiar item or two (like a shirt or blanket that has your scent) so that he feels your presence even when you’re gone.
There are plenty of tips and tricks, you just need to make sure you put in the work (if possible) prior to your leaving so that you’re both as comfortable as possible in your absence.
Anxiety About Leaving Your Dog While on Vacation
As mentioned above, your dog is able to sense if and when you’re feeling uneasy. It’s completely normal to feel emotional and anxious about leaving your pup, but it’s also important for you to do your best to not express these feelings while around him because it will only make the situation worse — for both of you.
If you find yourself feeling upset or anxious, take some deep breaths and do your best not to project your feelings on your pet. Take her outside and play some fetch to clear your head or share some extra cuddles on the couch together. Not only will it make you feel better, it’ll increase your bonding time before you leave, which is essential.
Where Can I Leave My Dog When I Go on Holiday?
Now that the initial feelings around how you and your dog both may feel before your separation have been addressed, it’s time to discuss your options — and luckily there are plenty! There are lots of things to consider before making your decision: your dog’s demeanor, his potential health situation, your budget, to name a few. So let’s look into what may or may not work for you when you go away.
Leave Dog at Home
Leaving your dog at home is a great option if you are worried about your dog not adjusting well to unfamiliar surroundings. Having them stay at your house means they’ll be in their own space and with their own things, which can be a huge comfort to them in your absence.
You can make this happen in a number of ways, which we’ll discuss further below.
Leaving Dogs Alone at Home
It should go without saying that leaving your dog alone in your home for extended periods of time without care is not a good or responsible decision. Even if you provide them with basics like food and water, they won’t be getting frequent bathroom breaks, and there are a host of things that could go wrong and with no one supervising or monitoring them it can be a very unsafe and dangerous decision to make.
With the amount of options available these days it’s always best to either find someone to look after your dog in your home or find other places for him to stay so that he has adequate care.
Family Dog Watcher
If you’re fortunate enough to be in a location where you have a family member or members available and willing to look after your dog in your home, that’s a great option. Chances are your dog is already familiar with this person/people so there wouldn’t be a need to introduce someone completely new who isn’t aware of your dog’s personality and schedule.
Just make sure that you’re clear about how you’d like your dog to be cared for so there aren’t any discrepancies or issues while you’re away. For instance, if you’ve noticed a family member who feeds your pet from the table or lets them jump on them when those are things that you’re strict about, it may cause strife and anguish for your relationship as well as enforce behavior you don’t allow from your dog.
Having a dependable and responsible family member who has the time to help care for your four-legged-family member may not be easy, but even if you don’t have someone like this available when you need them, there are other ways to find your pup care.
Pet Sitting While on Vacation
If you don’t have a family member close to you or willing to travel to help take care of your dog, there still is the option to have someone else come look after your pup in your home while you’re out of town.
There are plenty of companies, like Release the Hounds, that not only offer dog sitting while you’re gone, but also are willing to provide household services like getting your mail, watering your plants, and more. It will give you complete peace of mind knowing that there are experienced professionals not only caring for your dog but also for your home during the time that you’re gone.
Make sure to acquaint your dog with the person prior to having them stay there and also leave detailed instructions — even if you think you’re going information overload it will help the sitter and also make you feel more comfortable knowing that they’re prepared with a document to reference in case any questions should come up and you’re unreachable. This can include food and potty routines, any medicine administration, favorite toys, sleeping habits, and especially a veterinarian contact. The more information the better.
Also make sure that you have a reliable way to communicate with the pet sitter. More often than not you’ll want to get daily updates and pictures to see what fun your dog is having!
Finding The Best Place to Board Your Dog
Another option you can consider if you don’t have anyone trustworthy or if you’re uncomfortable having someone stay in your home is boarding your dog in a professional facility or kennel. Places such as Jet Pet Resort have locations throughout Canada and the United States with seven days a week operation with flexible hours to fit your schedule.
Plus, on top of your pup being pampered both indoor and outdoor during their stay there, they also offer a host of other amenities like spa treatments, webcam access (so you can peek in on your dog from time-to-time), food prep, and more.
For a safe and fun environment with fully licensed professionals, this option is always an awesome bet and typically will provide you with a completely stress-free experience so you can focus on enjoying your vacation or whatever else is needing your attention while out of town.
Take Your Dog Along
This obviously isn’t always on option, but if possible it would be incredible to bring your dog along with you depending on where you’re going and the circumstances. For instance, if you’re planning a weekend trip to hike with friends and have a dog who loves engaging in outdoor activities with you, it would be a fantastic way to spend together and further your bond!
If you’re heading to a family member’s for a holiday and they’re comfortable with your pup being packed along for the trip, why not help your dog socialize with new people and learn how to interact in a new environment?
As always it’s imperative to consider your dog’s temperament, their reaction to change, and willingness to travel; but this is a really fantastic opportunity to strengthen your connection with your dog and not have to worry about leaving him behind.
You know your pet best and what will work best for both of you when you’re going away or on vacation. It’s important to do your research and consider a number of factors before you make your ultimate decision, but with the amount of services and options available these days, you’re likely to know which will work out better for everyone in the long run.
The most important thing is for you to have the ease and comfort of knowing your dog is in safe hands and properly looked after while you’re away, and no matter how it’s done, that’s really all that matters.
If you’re travelling and you also have a cat at home – check out our article about Leaving Your Cat Home Alone While On Vacation