How to Keep Your Dog Happy Whilst You’re on Holiday
Dogs may be a man’s best friend, but we can’t always take them everywhere we go. This includes most holidays and breaks we plan. This can be down to numerous reasons such as your dog is does not travel very well; they could be anxious in new situations; they possibly don’t get along with other dogs or you are just not able to expend the amount of effort and energy needed to fit your schedule around theirs.
There are also extraneous factors in not being able to take your pooch with you on holiday, as many restaurants and hotels will not allows pets inside unless they are service animals. Unless your holiday is a camping or a road trip, taking the family dog with you can be a bad idea.
Where to have them stay
When looking for a place for your dog to stay whilst you’re on your holiday, it is important you perform some in-depth research. The safety of your pet is much more important than your pet’s happiness. It’s best to know what sort of temperament your dog has, so you can take it into account. For example, nervous dogs will definitely not do well in a highly social environment, just as a social dog will not do well with just themselves as company. Below are a few ideas of where to board your dog before you board your plane.
Have a sitter come to your house
Having someone come to your house to look after your pet(s) is like a 2-for-1 deal. Primarily, they are there to ensure your dog isn’t left alone the entire time you are on holiday, but there is also the added bonus minimised security risk of your home as they are looking after it too. Another positive is that your dog’s routine will suffer very little and they would be being cared for by someone you trusted. A friend or a member of your family are good options for caring for your pooch, or alternatively, you can hire a professional dog-sitter to come and stay in your house. Unfortunately, hiring professionally, while giving you peace of mind, can be relatively expensive.
Go to a sitter’s house
On the other hand, you can have your dog spend their holiday at a sitter’s house. It is less expensive than having a sitter spend time coming to your own house and still allows your dog to experience the comfort of their routine in a place that is almost home-like to them. This suggestion is ideal for dogs that are generally well-behaved and are well-socialised. Again, a friend or family member can be used here, or you could book in with a professional dog-sitter.
However, dogs that tend to have behavioural problems, such as aggression or excessive barking, or who don’t get along with other dogs, people, cats, etc. are not ideal for this type of boarding.
Most veterinary surgeries will have the means to look after your dog whilst you are away. This is a great option if your dog requires constant monitoring or needs medication administered at certain times. However, if your dog is healthy, it is not the best idea. Not only would your healthy pet take up space that is needed by a sick or injured animal, your pet may pick up an illness or disease from one or some of the other animals in the vets at the same time as them.
Years ago, kennels were the main/only place people could leave their dogs when they went away. They are still a popular choice to accommodate dogs today. Kennels are trained to deal with several different dog breeds and temperaments and tend to be a good price and can be quite cheap. Many standard kennels make use of individual cages or rooms for their guests and well-behaved dogs can come out and play with the other canine guests. Each kennel is unique in how they run things, so research is essential into finding the right one for your pet. For those dog owners whose pet is a little unruly (untrained, poorly socialised or aggressive), kennels are a good solution for your pooch’s stopover.
Preparing to leave them
If you plan on having many holidays, some that you may not be able to bring your pooch with you, or you are readying yourself to get that job you’ve always wanted, you’ll have to prepare them for when you are not there. The best way to do this is to acclimatise them when they are puppies, as they are easier to train. From day one, work on training them and socialising with other living things. Dogs that are well-trained and well-socialised are offered more privileges and opportunities later on in life.
Another notion is to crate train your puppy. From the puppy’s point of view, the crate can be a solace, or a safe space, for them to go to when they feel stressed or overwhelmed. Having a space like that can be extremely helpful when you decide to go away when they are older, as they will have a space to feel comfortable in. It will also be useful if you use a sitter to look after your dog while your away as it can keep them out of trouble while the sitter is not able to watch them.
An important thing to note is to ensure your puppy is fully vaccinated before you even consider boarding them. Due to the large amount of dogs under one roof, kennels tend to have a high rate of transferring disease and illness among their guests. Vaccinations can prevent a majority of the illnesses and most kennels will not accept any dogs or puppies to board in their establishment until they have been vaccinated.
Just as you have to pack for your holiday, you have to do the same for your dog. Below is a list of things that we suggest you get ready for them:
- Important phone numbers (your mobile, close emergency contact, their vet’s information)
- Food and water bowls
- 6 foot leash for inner city walks and a longer leash for exercise sessions
- Record of your dog’s vaccinations
- Your dog’s bed
- Your dog’s favourite toys and bones
- Treat pouch for training (if you use one)
- Dog food and treats (we recommend checking out our Lovejoys Dog Food range for hypoallergenic wet and dry food)
- Brush and nail clippers for grooming
- Poop bags (self-explanatory)
- Medications and their instructions (if applicable)
NB: If you have decided that you are having an at-home sitter, you do not need to pack much for your dog.
In order for your dog’s routine not to get too disrupted during your holiday, write out a list for your sitter. Include things like what time your dog usually wakes up in the morning, when they go for walks and most importantly, when and how much to give them their dinner.
At Lovejoys, we know that dogs are more adaptable than we may give credit for. We love our canine companions and know that research and advance planning will ensure that they are safe and well cared for while you are away. There is no need to worry about your dog while you’re on holiday. Canines do not have the same concept of time as humans do and will greet just as enthusiastically if you were gone for an hour or for a week. Having a long and dramatic goodbye with your dog is a bad idea, no matter how much you love them. If you are confident when leaving, it will set the tone for the holiday. They will be spending time with people they can rely on. So all that matters to them is that you come back.