How to emotionally prepare your dog before you leave for vacation
Your dog is a member of your family, and leaving for vacation may be hard on you both. Part of leaving for vacation involves planning in advance. You want your dog to be as comfortable as possible for both your sake and his. Let’s talk about ways to prepare your dog emotionally for your getaway.
Where Will Your Dog Stay?
There are several options for your dog while you’re away. You can board your dog with a veterinarian or at a kennel, but hiring a pet sitter is often easier on your dog. Whatever you choose, be sure to inform all parties about your dog’s needs, routines, and quirks. Also provide all necessary health information, including your vet’s contact info.
With the logistics taken care of, let’s focus on your dog’s emotional wellbeing. I study canine behavior and psychology, and in my experience, following these steps will help your dog get ready for your absence.
Preparing Your Dog for Your Absence
There are several tips to help your dog prepare for your vacation, including:
1. Spend Some Extra Time Together
Spending extra time with your dog before you leave can help both you and your dog. Your dog appreciates all of the time he gets to spend with you.
2. Meet The Pet Sitter Or Staff At Your Boarding Facility Of Choice
Allowing your dog to meet the pet sitter a couple of times before you leave will help her feel more comfortable. She’ll feel like she’s staying with someone she knows rather than a stranger. If you’re using Rover, a Meet & Greet is a standard procedure before booking.
3. Reduce Separation Anxiety
If your dog experiences separation anxiety, do your best to ensure her separation anxiety is eliminated or at least reduced to a manageable level. Talk to your dog’s caregiver about her separation anxiety. Be sure your dog won’t be left alone for long periods, or at all if the separation anxiety is intense.
4. Consider Calming Tools On The Day Of Departure
5. If Your Dog Doesn’t Have A Doggy Bed, Look For A Cozy One
When you leave for vacation, be certain the bed stays with your dog while you’re away. The bed will smell like you and your home and make him more comfortable.
6. Don’t Show Your Anxiety
Your dog can quickly and easily pick up on your emotions. If you’re feeling anxious about leaving him, he will feel anxious about you leaving. If you’re feeling comfortable (though of course, you’ll miss him), your dog will feel the same way.
7. Invest In A Few New Toys
Choose a few interactive toys like a new KONG or puzzle toy a week or so before you leave for vacation. This way, before you leave, your dog can learn how to interact with these toys and you can determine which is his favorite. The favorite toy(s) can then be sent to the pet sitter.
The Bottom Line
Your dog will miss you, just as you will absolutely miss her. But remember: if you’re comfortable, your dog will be more comfortable. Your dog reacts to your reaction. She looks to you for comfort.
With a little extra planning, both you and your dog will be better prepared emotionally for you to go away.
Written by Amber Drake for Rover.