How to Prepare Your Dog Emotionally Before You Travel

Dogs often become an integral part of the family. That’s why it can be very stressful to leave them behind when vacation time comes around. Absences can be hard on dogs too. They can suffer what is known as Separation Anxiety. This condition manifests itself in a myriad of behaviours caused by the stress of being away from their owner. To avoid any unwanted distress when you travel, there are a few ways you can emotionally prepare your dog for this time apart.

Decide Where to Leave Your Dog

Firstly, if you’re going somewhere your furry friend can’t follow, the best idea is to leave him or her in the care of someone you can trust. Nowadays, there are several reliable and comfortable accommodation options for pets. You could choose to ask a suitable family member or friend to stay with them, find a pet hotel or hire a professional dog sitter.

Each lodging option has its various advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to research which one is best for your dog’s needs. You could ask your veterinarian or local pet store for information on alternatives in your area. 

Wherever you decide to board your pet, it is advisable to meet the person or visit the place they’ll be staying at beforehand. This will help your dog to get the scent of the place or person and be at ease when the time comes. If you can, try to visit on more than one occasion. The better your dog knows their would-be carers, the more likely it is that they’ll feel calm and safe when you have to leave.

Keeping Up Appearances

Another way to ensure your dog will be emotionally stable while you’re away is to maintain their routine and diet. Before your departure, make sure to let the carer know when and what your dog eats, when they take their walks, and if they have any special dietary or medical requirements. If your dog remains active and follows their usual routine, they’ll find it easier to deal with the separation.

Although many canine residences offer premium kibble included in their boarding price, it is healthier for dogs to stick to their usual diet. Prepare your pet’s food for the duration of your trip to deliver when you drop your dog off. 

Additionally, if your dog needs to take medication or get any vaccines while you’re away, you should make arrangements for this too.

Spend Some Quality Time Together

Dogs greatly value their time with their owners. It is when they are at their happiest and healthiest. So, before you go away, take some time out to go for a few extra walks, play in the park or visit somewhere new with your pup. Even just paying a little more attention at home will go a long way with your four-legged friend.

Pack a Suitcase

Before leaving home, prepare some items that could help make your dog’s stay more comfortable. 

  • Take his/her bed or blankets so that they have a cozy place to rest. 
  • Choose a few of their favorite toys so they can keep themselves entertained. You could even buy a few interactive toys beforehand. This will help them get used to playing with them on their own.
  • Pack their food and water bowls too. Dogs aren’t often fussy about eating, but the more familiar their surroundings, the less anxiety they’ll feel.

It could also be beneficial to take something that smells of you or your home, an item of clothing or bedding, for example. Dogs are very sensitive to smell, and noticing your scent will put them at ease even when you’re not around.

Don’t Say Goodbye

Finally, when the time comes to leave, it should be swift. If you draw out your goodbyes and make a fuss about leaving, your pet will sense your anxiety and feel it themselves. It is better to reflect a comfortable, assured demeanor so that your dog is safe in the knowledge that you’ll be coming back soon.

By preparing for your time apart, you can assure that your dog is well taken care of and doesn’t suffer any separation anxiety. You can also better enjoy your vacation safe in the knowledge that your best pal is having their own adventure.

Read next: Summer Holidays Without Your Dog: Managing Your Pet’s Separation Anxiety

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