For dog owners, one of the hardest parts of the day is going to work and leaving our canine companions. It’s even more difficult leaving our dogs home when we know we won’t be back for a few days. To help relieve your dog’s anxiety—and your own—we have compiled these tips for leaving your dog at home while on a trip.
Look at Pet-Sitting Options
For people only going away for a few days, you can always enlist the help of someone your dog knows and trusts to periodically visit your dog. These visits don’t have to end with a walk and some food. Having your pet sitter spend some time just sitting or playing with them is also a good way to help relieve pet stress. This option is great because your dog won’t have the added stress of being away from a familiar environment.
Another option is to have your pet stay somewhere else. Kennels are usually what many people think of for pet boarding, but some veterinarian offices and pet stores provide boarding services as well. PetSmart, for instance, has “Pets Hotels” attached to many of their locations. These options are great because the staff usually has specialized training to work with dogs and can provide professional care. If this option makes you nervous, you can always consider having your dog stay at a friend’s house. The homey touch will probably be less stressful for your dog, but if your friend has other pets or small children, this could affect your dog.
Don’t stress the goodbye itself when it’s time to bid Fido farewell. Remember, as clever as our dogs are, they don’t actually speak much English or know what’s really going on. They can, however, sense our emotions, and stretching out a long, tearful farewell will usually only serve to stir up more stress for your pet. Of course, for some dogs, seeing their owners leave is always a stressful experience, no matter the circumstance. For these dogs, try taking your dog on a long walk or playing games to tire them out right before you go to leave—or you could even give them a CBD pet tincture—to make them more mellow when it’s time to leave.
One last tip for leaving your dog at home while you’re on a trip is to train your dog to feel comfortable when you’re not around. This can and should happen months before you take a trip. Associating your occasional absence with something good, such as a treat puzzle with a very special treat, calming smells like lavender, or relaxing music, can show your dog that your leaving isn’t always a bad thing. Also, getting your dog used to the idea of being with other people one-on-one will make it easier for you to leave it in others’ care in the future.