It’s summertime and for a lot of us, that means travel plans are in the forecast for the next few months! While it’s so exciting to get out of your area and explore, we’re often left worrying about those we leave behind: our four-legged family members.
While some trips are certainly pet friendly, unfortunately, we can’t bring them everywhere with us. Leaving them behind can make us, and them, feel a range of emotions, and for us those often range from anxiety to guilt. The best we can do is take the necessary steps to ensure that our furry friends are safe and comfortable during our absence.
Finding a professional, pet loving sitter to stay with your fur kids is a great solution to allow your fur family to remain in the comfort of their home while you are gone. TrustedHousesitters.com is a trusted website/app connecting you with vetted, experienced house/pet sitters (who love animals), many of which will also be companions to your pets while you’re away. When possible, having pets watched in your home is always the best option as this is where they feel the safest. By removing the need for them to relocate, you’re already increasing their likelihood of quickly settling in without you. And, if you manage your fur baby’s vaccinations with titers tests instead of a conventional vaccine schedules (to avoid vaccine redundancies), it may be a necessity, as many boarding facilities have strict or blanket vaccine policies (some per state law.) For this reason, TrustedHouseSitters.com or similar web sites and services, or local pet sitter professionals are a great alternative.
OR - Find a Pet Boarding Facility
If your fur kid and you have or find a trusted pet resort or boarding facility that checks all the creature-comfort and safety boxes, schedule your puppers there. Some important features to look for may be 24-hour human presence (versus camera monitoring for night time hours); daily agenda inclusive of hours out of crate or confinement; how much human interaction and qualified staff ratio; how many dogs at a time will your kiddo be with; how does facility match your dog with others, temperament-wise; how will a facility match your dog with other compatible dogs with similar play styles and temperaments.
If you’ve ever brought home a puppy, chances are they were sent home with an item that smelled like their mother to aid in the adjustment period. This same logic can be applied to leaving a worn t-shirt or other personal item of yours behind for your dog while you’re away! Leaving them with something that has your scent that will remind them of you can help to lessen their anxiety until you return. Fun Fact: Dogs’ sense of smell is 10,000 times that of us
humans, so leaving pupper with a scent of you is especially anchoring, like a photo might be for us sight-centric people.
The reality we all have to face is that emergencies do sometimes happen, and it’s so much better to be well prepared for those instances (better safe than sorry!) Leaving behind vet details for your sitter will give you peace of mind and help them quickly know what to do and who to contact if the unthinkable happens. We recommend leaving three veterinarian names, addresses and numbers: Your primary vet, the closest vet, and an after hours emergency vet.
Other important numbers to leave include family members (in case you are unreachable) and a neighbor (or two, the more the merrier) that you are friendly with.
According to the San Francisco SPCA, microchipped dogs are 2.5 times more likely to be returned to their owners when at a shelter.
While getting your pets microchipped is important, ensuring that the chip is active AND that the contact information is up to date is the vital piece of the puzzle that is sometimes overlooked. If you’ve moved or changed phone numbers since having your pet chipped, chances are your microchip information needs updating.
If you know your pets microchip number (which can be found on your adoption papers or documents obtained from your pets breeder) you can enter it at the universal online registry American Animal Hospital Association. If you don’t know your pets microchip ID you can obtain this information by having their chip scanned at a veterinarian's office.
Are you someone who is going to want constant photos and updates of your fur baby while you’re away? Let it be known upfront! Set expectations early for clear communication between you and your sitter. If constant check-ins and photos will ease your mind best, be sure to let them know so that you’re on the same page.
Clear communication about what behaviors to expect can also help a sitter identify if something is wrong with your pet. For instance, if your pet typically has solid stool and the sitter reports that it’s continuously loose, it may be time for a trip to the vet. Feeding amounts and frequency, their favorite treats and how many they can be given per day, walk and sleep schedule and locations, and other standard routines are important for your sitter to know. How many hours are they able to stay alone? Do they have any food sensitivities or allergies?
And detailing a summary schedule of your pooch’s daily routine will give your dog a further sense of normalcy during a potentially anxious scenario while you are gone. It is also a matter of convenience and comfort to the pet sitter, ensuring that they can quickly and easily access any information vital to caring for your pet! Having everything in one centralized place helps them know where to look if they have a question you may not be available to answer, and it’ll provide you peace of mind knowing that you provided the necessary details to cautiously care for your pet. Both print and digital versions are a good idea.
If you find yourself anxious about what your pet may be doing at home while you’re away, how they’re faring, or what they could be getting into, try a pet cam! The Furbo dog camera is a popular choice as it offers a 360 degree view while also giving the option to both communicate with your pet or dispense treats for them! A surveillance camera is also an excellent way to ensure you’ll receive immediate notification in case of an emergency.
Accidents happen and sometimes people are unable to fulfill prior agreements. For this reason, it’s always good to have a backup dog sitter or dog walker when possible. This way, if something goes not according to plan, you’re ready with a backup.
While traveling without our pets may seem tough at first, when the right measures are taken, it’s very possible to have an amazing trip while having peace of mind that our furry friends back home are doing just fine, or even having a wonderful new experience with a different fur kid lover! And, the best part is coming home to the best possible greeting!