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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pet Solutions Helpline:
Preparing for a Vacation

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© All Things Dog Blog
Home Alone
Quiet Time=Crate Time
Dear All Things Dog Blog:

We are going out of town and my neighbor is taking care of our dog. He is a 6 year old rescued Lhasa Apsa who is very good in the house until he is left alone after dark. My neighbor will not be spending the night. I think it is better for him to stay in his own home vs being at a kennel for 15 days. When we are home at night Stanley is completely calm and sleeps all night. Is there something we can do to soothe him while he is here at night alone or do you think he will get used to it after she shows up every morning? Do you think the kennel is better for him; they do love him there and they are there all day. 

After dark, he urinates on something of mine every time!

Dear S.M.:

Assuming Stanley likes his crate/kennel, it may be best to have your neighbor continue his routine, sleeping in the crate. This will also protect your home from his nighttime oopsies.

If you have a local boarding facility where outdoor playtime is provided frequently, this may be a better option if Stanley is social and would enjoy the company of other dogs during playtime. If this is not an option and you choose to have your neighbor care for him in your home, let's look at some thoughts on that topic. If you are concerned about separation anxiety, here are a few ideas:
  • Leave some dirty Tshirts (that have been worn by you or his favorite human) around the area he will have access to. This will be a comforting smell to him.
  • Encourage your pet sitter to exercise him as much as possible. A long walk will do a world of good, if this is possible. Perhaps even a neighborhood kid could be available if your neighbor is not up to this much activity. A tired pup is not as anxious or bored.
  • Leave calming music playing; perhaps a radio channel with classical or "elevator" music would work.
  • For several days before you leave, try to give Stanley as much activity as possible--new smells, fun outings, and plenty of long walks. If you leave him home a tired and satisfied dog, he will handle the time much better.
  • Make sure your neighbor knows that this would not be a good time to share new treats. Some pups get upset tummies easily, and you certainly don't want this to be a mess your neighbor feels obligated to clean up.
  • If your dog is used to a certain treat reward, after a bathroom break, for instance, your neighbor can certainly continue this routine to make sure he stays on track.
  • Practice coming and going frequently before you leave for your trip. Praise and reward your little one when you return to a quiet house without destruction.
  • When you leave for the actual trip, do so without a lot of emotional ado. This will only serve to get your furry friend off to a uncertain start, as he will read your emotion. Leave the same as you would if you were returning in 10 minutes.
Finally, because your pup cannot dial 911, be sure you have a smoke detector installed and activated with a fresh battery in the area he will be spending his time. Leave a sign on a front window indicating you have a dog in the home and where he will be. Many pet stores sell small window clings that you can mark your pets on.

Best wishes for a fun trip, and please hug your pup for me too!

Happy tails,


Thundershirt said...

Travel anxiety in dogs is something that has become a big issue for dogs and their owners. This can cause a lot of stress and can be very painful for dogs. We have had a lot of great discussions about dog anxiety on our Facebook page and have received a lot of great tips. We would like to invite you to check out some of the advice on our page or feel free to join in the conversation on our page. Happy reading:)

All Things 4Legged said...

Today we have many vacation care options and one that I think that is missed here is a Professional Pet Sitter. We are different than Dog Walkers. Professional Pet Sitters are trained, most hold certificates, and like us most carry CPR and 1st Aid certifications. You have to interview them and ask questions. If you are not comfortable with their answers then that pet sitter is not for you. We know animal behavior and can help if the animal is depressed, not eating and we monitor for health concerns. We keep your pet in their routine and will exercise them to reduce their anxiety. Pets are more comfortable in their environment as long as their routines are the same. A Professional Pet Sitter will do this. We also take care of your home, plants, mail, rotate lights and make sure their is nothing leaking and that all windows and doors are secure. We also provide other services so do not be leary to ask for what you need. We have back up plans in case there is an emergency at your home or there is a weather emergency. Ask these questions when interviewing Pet Sitters. Also, make sure that if they have signage on their cars that they remove them prior to coming to your home. You do not want it advertised that no one is home! It defeats the purpose of security of your animal and home. The whole point is that you leave relaxed knowing that a Pet Professional is taking care of your pet and your home. We can send email updates, texts, photos and we also leave a log of our time with your pet.

Los Angeles dog groomers said...

I like the last pointer the best. Shouldn't you also leave anything like toys or blanket that helps him sleep with your neighbor?

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

Dear @AllThings 4 Legged: Thanks for the great comments about the advantages of using a professional pet sitter. No doubt this is a wonderful route when the owner is willing and able to pay for services. You have put a spotlight on the many benefits of this decision and I appreciate your comments.

Peggy Frezon said...

Those are good tips, and also the professional pet sitter one also. Vacation is always tricky for us and stressful for Kelly. When we had to go away for a week, my son came and stayed with her night and day...she knows and loves him. And yet, she still developed a lick granuloma due to being stressed.

FANCY the Red Standard Poodle said...

Hi Y'all,

We always learn something when we visit.

Just stopped by to catch up on your happenings and say hello! Enjoy your week!

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

Anonymous said...

Hey it's Jet here. Hopping by, thanks for the info.

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