A few years ago, my family and I went on a week-long vacation, and we had to leave our cat at the ‘cat motel’ (a dorm room-like accommodation for felines).
When we returned, he wasn’t happy.
In fact, he was grumpy for a week before forgiving us for leaving him there.
This experience made me realize that perhaps the best thing you can do for your pet when you go away is to keep them in a familiar environment even if it means leaving my cat with an automatic cat food dispenser.
It can be a little heart-breaking to say goodbye to your pets when you jet off on holiday—seeing their furry little faces looking up at you, wondering why you’re leaving them behind.
But there are some things you can do to make their break (and yours) a little easier. And the best part? It doesn’t involve hauling them away to a kennel!
1. Give them plenty of love before you go
Animals can be incredibly sensitive and attuned to changes in your routine.
With all your packing and sorting your pet can probably sense that something is going on, so it’s a good idea to give them some extra love to comfort them and ease the goodbyes.
Take your dog for an extra long walk at the beach, give her plenty of cuddles and maybe even a treat to keep her tail wagging.
2. Get a dog sitter
It’s always best to keep your pet at home to avoid stressing them out too much.
This is especially true for cats, but dogs also like to have familiar scents nearby.
Of course, you can also get a trusted friend or neighbor to come in and housesit for you, while also taking care of your pet. This might be less threatening for them and easier for you to manage.
3. Make sure your dog gets walked every day
It’s important for dogs to stay active even while you’re away.
Most dogs need to be walked every day or every second day depending on their breed and how energetic they are.
You can organize to have a dog walker who will regularly (sometimes a few times a day!) walk and play with your dog.
Dog walkers take their job very seriously and have an intense love of animals, which means your pooch is in good hands.
Making sure your dog gets his daily walk is also a chance for him to socialize with other dogs so he won’t be missing you the whole time. One of the keys to happiness!
4. Keep toys nearby
Toys are essential for pets, especially dogs.
Dogs need mental stimulation, just like people do otherwise they can resort to destructive behavioral habits.
When left to their own devices, dogs will look for anything to fulfill their needs (including chewing on your favorite pair of shoes and making a mess of everything).
If your pet has a special toy they love, make sure they have access to them.
Toys also have familiar scents and textures that are comforting to your pet, while also keeping them occupied.
5. Keep them in a familiar environment
If your pet gets nervous when left alone, it’s a good idea to have a friend or neighbor come over to offer them company.
Unless you need to, avoid relocating your pet when you’re away. Some dogs are prone to running away when taken to a location that is unfamiliar to them.
6. Don’t leave anything potentially dangerous lying around
Without supervision, your pet can get up to no good.
Make sure you lock doors and cabinets and keep food not meant for your pet somewhere they can’t get to it!
7. Keep Their Potty Area Clean
If your pooch is toilet trained, he’s likely used to going outside to do his business.
If that’s the case, make sure you allocate an area for him inside to use so that you don’t come home to a nasty surprise.
Mistakes do happen, but if he gets his regular walk, it’s unlikely to be a big mess.
And there you have it! Hopefully, these quick tips can mean the difference between your pet being happy instead of miserable while you’re away on vacation.
Don’t forget to give them plenty of hugs and attention when you return (though you probably don’t need to be reminded!)