It’s no fun leaving your dog in someone else’s care while you’re on vacation, whether it’s at your friend’s house or a kennel.
But if your only other option is to leave them home alone, you may have no choice!
Whether you’re going on vacation or are just away from home for an extended period, these tips can help make leaving your dog in someone else’s care easier for everyone involved!
Leaving Your Dog In Someone Else’s Care
Let Them Meet The New Person:
This is crucial. The last thing you want is to entrust your dog with someone who will leave them in a crate for hours or, worse, mistreat them.
Make sure that whoever will be watching your doggy for any length of time meets them beforehand.
They should take their usual walk together and give you updates on how it went afterward so you know everything went well.
You can also ask that they snap a few pictures while they’re out so you have actual evidence of good treatment when picking up your doggy later on.
If they don’t agree to have your dog meet with them before taking care of them, then don’t hand over responsibility.
This is not something that can be pushed aside as non-important – it’s one of your top priorities!
Making sure that the person who will be taking care of your dog has met them before ensures the best possible experience for both of you.
Ask Questions Before You Leave:
Before you drop your dog off, ask a lot of questions. Does your dog need to stay in a crate while you’re gone or can he be let out during certain hours of the day?
Is it okay for him to come and go as he pleases, or should he be kept inside most of that time?
What types of food and treats do your dog like best and will someone there have them on hand if needed?
Who should walk your dog if not you, and how often do they typically feed him/her?
What is their schedule like?
How many dogs are in their care?
Is it okay for your dog to socialize with other dogs while you’re away?
Where is the best place to leave my phone number so someone can contact me if necessary (on a piece of paper with his bowl, near his bed)?
One more important question: Will my dog be cared for by one person at all times or split up between two people who may not know each other well enough?
If so, make sure both individuals understand the importance of staying home with your pup at all times.
Create A Routine
Consider your dog’s routine, and try to replicate it in your dog sitter’s home.
If you feed your dog breakfast before you leave for work, make sure they are fed at a similar time while they are staying with someone else.
This will be easier if you have a pet sitter that has experience with dogs.
Even if they don’t have lots of experience, spending some time getting them accustomed to your dog will go a long way towards making it easier on both of them.
You can do this by taking the time to show them how to walk him or play fetch with him so they can get used to each other’s movements and noises.
Leave An Information Folder Or List For Contact Info:
While you don’t need to worry about leaving someone specific instructions on how to take care of your dog.
Keeping a list of emergency numbers and putting it in a folder with detailed instructions is a good idea.
The person you leave your pet with should be able to call that contact if something goes wrong, but they also need to know what questions they should ask you or other trusted members of your family when looking for more information.
If you have a veterinarian that has cared for your dog before, make sure they have current contact information.
Also, consider including their license number on the list so that your dog can be identified easily in case of an emergency.
Bring Pictures Of Their Favorite Things
One of my favorite things to do is look through old pictures with my dog, whether it be from a previous trip or one of his first trips to a dog park.
I also ask them to bring some of his favorite treats, toys, and bones that we have at home.
Depending on where you are taking your dog, if they are going to stay somewhere overnight or longer.
I would ask them if they prefer soft food or hard food and make sure they tell you what their normal feeding schedule is.
Having their normal feeding schedule in mind makes me more comfortable knowing that he has had all of his meals (or as close as possible) before he comes home.
Instead of trying to figure out how many cans have been eaten or him not getting fed at all while he was there.
If you’re traveling for a long period, it may be tempting to leave your dog with someone who knows your pup well.
However, that won’t give them any time to get used to one another.
Let them bond slowly and naturally over a few days before leaving them alone together.
Over time, they’ll grow closer and be more comfortable when you’re away from home.
Start the transition by taking your dog on some long walks with the other person, so they can learn to trust each other.
Then start giving them some tasks or playing games together.
You can also try hiding treats around the house for both of them to find while you’re gone.
And don’t forget: always have someone check in on them at least once a day!
Give Instructions About Diet, Exercise, And Leash Walking:
You’re leaving your dog in someone else’s care.
That means you need to give instructions about diet, exercise, and leash walking.
At home, dogs receive a certain amount of exercise, depending on their activity level.
Even couch potatoes get some activity at home through playing or chasing things around inside.
When they go to someone else’s house, they may not get as much exercise and that can lead to weight gain or prevent them from losing weight after surgery or a medical issue like an illness or even old age.
Diet is also important when you are away from your dog because another person will likely feed them more treats than you do; those little extra calories add up!
So, before you leave for vacation or move out for college, be sure to speak with the people who will be taking care of your pet and be sure they know the importance of providing adequate amounts of both food and exercise.
The same goes for any advice you have on how to handle leash walking.
Think About The Size Of The Home:
If your dog is used to being left alone in a large yard, he might feel overwhelmed in a small apartment or a townhome.
If he has separation anxiety and becomes destructive while you’re gone, it could ruin what would otherwise be somebody else’s happy memories of having him stay over.
Consistency Is Key
When it comes to your dog’s routine, consistency is key.
This applies to where they sleep, what they eat, and how often you walk them, as well as who walks them and for how long.
If there are new people in your life (or even old friends), give them a quick rundown of your dog’s needs.
I always take a picture of my dogs and leave it on my desk so anyone in charge can have a reference guide when I am away.
Have the caregiver text or call you throughout the day if anything unusual happens or if their behavior changes.
Ask the caregiver not to feed your pet at any time other than mealtime- this will avoid stomach issues due to overindulgence.
Finally, leave a photo of your pet with their phone number attached and let them know that they should contact you immediately if they find out something is wrong with your dog while you’re gone.