Prepare Your Dog for an Excellent Stay with the Pet Sitter
If your summer plans include a fun vacation or a road trip, you might need to leave your dog behind with a pet sitter. And one of the hardest things about being apart from your pup—other than missing their cuddles!—is trusting that they’ll feel comfortable while you’re gone.
To be sure, choosing the right pet sitter is a huge part of your dog feeling settled in your absence. But there are a few other things you can do to make sure Fido is safe and sound while you’re enjoying your time away!
Get the important details squared away
The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure that all of your dog’s ducks are in a row, including
- Vaccines. You always want your dog’s vaccines to be up-to-date, but this is especially true if they’ll be staying in a home with other pets or if your pet sitter will be taking them out for walks.
- Medication. On the one hand, you’ll want to make sure your pup is up-to-date on their internal and external parasite treatments. And, if they take any additional medication, make sure their prescription won’t run out while you’re gone.
- Dog tags or microchip. Most dogs these days are chipped, but if you haven’t done it yet, now’s the time to do so. It’s also a good idea to have current dog tags with your phone number. Including your email can be helpful if you do a lot of traveling abroad and won’t be able to answer phone calls.
- Food. You don’t want your sitter to have to go out and buy more dog food while you’re gone, so buy extra before you go or schedule a delivery.
- Contact sheet and instruction manual. Another task you can do ahead of time is put together written instructions and an emergency contact sheet. It’s better to be overly thorough than leave your sitter with questions, so include everything including your dog’s daily routine, max number of treats per day, vet number and address, neighbor’s contact info, where you keep the pet supplies, and medication instructions. Don’t forget to include your contact information, such as your travel itinerary, hotels, email and any other relevant details.
- Toys. Being surrounded by their own toys and bedding is one of the benefits of having a pet sitter watch your pup at home. But, introducing a new toy in the mix can also be a great way to keep your dog entertained while you’re away. Consider something they can chew on, such as a slow-dispensing treat toy or a new version of their favorite chew toy. Chewing is an excellent anti-stress activity!
Introduce your dog to their pet sitter
If possible, one of the best things you can do for your dog is introduce them properly to their sitter. This will ease so much of the anxiety of you leaving, for both you and your dog! Here’s how to do it:
- Arrange for the sitter to come over when you’re not otherwise busy. Asking your sitter to come over fifteen minutes before you have to go to the airport is a recipe for a stressed, hurried encounter. Instead, invite them over when you’ll be able to welcome them calmly and without distractions.
- Head straight out for a walk. If your dog is territorial, they may not react well to the sitter coming into the home right away. Instead, meet them outside and set out on a walk. This will allow your dog to associate the sitter with their favorite activity, and it will give your sitter the chance to see how you normally interact with your dog.
- Allow the sitter to give your dog treats. Not all dogs like physical contact or affection. But, most dogs enjoy a good treat. So, make sure to come prepared with some of your dog’s favorites to help the sitter win them over.
- Relax and don’t focus too much on the dog. Dogs are excellent at reading body language, and they form opinions based on our interactions with new people. So, take it easy! Don’t use this opportunity to scrutinize how the sitter behaves. Instead, get to know them, make relaxed conversation, and keep things light.
Schedule in some exercise before you go
Maybe it’s a bit too much to ask that you take your dog for a long walk on the day that you’re leaving. After all, you might be doing some last-minute packing or cleaning. But if you can make it happen, your dog will be better for it!
Getting in some quality exercise will allow them to shake off the jitters they’ve probably been feeling since you pulled the suitcase out of the closet. And it will give your sitter a better chance at connecting with them when they’ve got those endorphins going.
If you’ll be taking your dog to their favorite dog park or hiking trail before you leave, remember to keep a closer eye on them than normal. Having your BreezeGuard Screens over the car windows can prevent nervous puppers from jumping out, which can happen with dogs who are particularly anxious about being left behind.
Don’t make a big show about leaving
When it’s time to say goodbye, we can totally understand the temptation to hug your pup for five minutes. But this can actually increase their anxiety about you leaving! Instead, do your very best to stay neutral and calm during your goodbye.
Remember to enjoy your vacation
Whether you’re road-tripping around the country or hopping a plane to somewhere with sandy beaches, don’t forget to enjoy your time away. While it’s perfectly understandable to check in from time to time, try not to fixate on how your dog is doing without you or feel guilty about leaving them behind. Your dog is in good hands, and they’ll be glad to see you come back refreshed and re-energized.
From our team here at BreezeGuard, we hope you have some amazing summer plans, even if Fido isn’t able to come along!