Going on a holiday as a dog owner is emotional. On one hand you are super excited about going away but on the other hand you are anxious about leaving your pooch behind. This is how I felt leaving Toby for Africa, I just wished I could tell him that we weren’t abandoning him and we would be back soon enough. The week before we left I felt a little sick to the stomach, even though my sister, Dani and her boyfriend, Darren were moving into our apartment and I was more than confident they would look after him well, I just kept thinking of horrible scenarios.
We were leaving Toby for 2 months and I wanted his day to day routines to still stay in place in his own environment, our apartment. Dani took Toby to the park every morning and afternoon and continued to take him to Day Care every Wednesday. Dani and Darren also took Toby out with them to friend’s houses, cafes and trips to the beach, just as we would and as a result Toby handled us being away without any problems at all.
If you are planning on going away for a short or long time, here are some tips to help you make sure your dog is left in the best possible care.
Choosing the Right Person
Choosing the right person to look after your pooch is so important, get this wrong and it may result in problems such as separation anxiety and a fear of being left with others (I have heard horror stories from dog owners at the park!). Every dog is different so it is important that you match your dog’s personality and energy to a person who can care for your dog’s needs. It is also important that the person you choose respects the way you care for your dog and can uphold rules and requests you make.
Choosing Where to Stay
Obviously, the best place for your dog to stay is in their own environment, at home. However, if this is not possible it is important to make sure where you choose is suited to your dog, whether it is a friend or relative’s house or a boarding kennel. If you do decide to leave them at a family and friend’s house, it is a good idea to get your dog to spend some time at their house prior to you going on holiday. A few day stays and one overnight stay will allow your dog to feel more comfortable and know that you will come back for them. Boarding your dog in the right place can be more difficult and time consuming because you really need to do your research and shop around. All kennels are different and not all of them are suited to your dog’s personality. It’s important to take note of what the grounds look like, how they smell, how they look, do the other animals there look happy, do the owners or people that work there take special requests to meet the needs of your dog? It is also good to look up reviews on the internet of the kennel you do decide to go with, just for peace of mind.
Leave a Checklist
Leave a checklist for the person looking after your dog to make it easier for them to understand the needs of your pooch. If you are giving your pooch to a person who is not familiar with dogs, a checklist is vital. I may or may not have left a 3 page checklist for Dani and Darren. Although I had already bombarded them with information, I wrote it down just in case they forgot how much to feed Toby, when to change his water bowl or what day Day Care was. On your checklist it is very important to leave the phone number of your vet, emergency contacts, a list of allergies your dog may have, medication, behavioral issues, how often they eat, if they are allowed treats, how often they need to be walked and for how long, if they are behaved enough to be taken out to cafes, if they are allowed off lead, if they whine at night, sleeping arrangements, if they need snuggles on the couch or any other information you need to leave to allow your dog to have an enjoyable stay and so your carer is informed too.
Be honest about your expectations and fears about leaving your dog with someone. Expressing your feelings will allow the person looking after your dog to understand the needs of your dog and your expectations and will allow them to calm your worries or let you know that maybe they won’t be able to look after your pooch the way you want due to certain reasons. I expressed all my worries to Dani and Darren and asked them a million times, ‘Are you sure you will be able to walk him each morning and afternoon?’ ‘Are you sure you will be able to give him the same love as we give him?’ ‘Are you sure you will be home to hang out with him?’ And all those other annoying questions.
Go Have Fun
Go and have fun, remember leaving your dog for a few weeks or months with someone you trust is not the end of the world, in life there are highs and lows and your dog needs to experience them as well. Your dog will be fine so go and have fun on that holiday and just relax!
Do you have any tips for dog owners going on holiday?