A useful guide to leaving your pet behind when you go on vacation.
If you have a pet and wanted to go on vacation, chances are you’ve been wondering what to do with your dog. Unless you plan a road trip that includes your pet (which we highly recommend! For the ultimate road trip with your dog, read here).
But if you are going on a foreign vacation, or somewhere by flight or train, you might have to leave your dog behind. Many folks are lucky enough to have supportive friends and family that are comfortable with dogs. When this happens, you usually won’t have to worry.
Find a willing friend who will house-sit
The best person you can entrust with your dog is a friend or family member who is comfortable with dogs. An ideal situation is if this person can stay in your house for the duration of your vacation. House-sitting is increasingly popular in cities, and a friend that works from home is probably the ideal candidate for this job!
Remember, a dog will feel lonely and confused when you leave, so it’s best if it is with someone that it is already familiar with.
Make a list of boarding facilities and dog hotels
Ask friends, family, and pet-friendly social communities for recommendations on good boarding facilities for your dog. You can also check online for ideas and reviews. In big cities, you are likely to find a dog boarding facility.
Before your vacation, get your dog checked at the vet
You don’t want to leave your dog when it is not healthy. Do a complete medical check-up and see if your dog is fit to be left behind for a few weeks. If your dog is very attached, it might also avoid eating food given by someone it is not used to.
Socialize your dog
Socialize your dog with other dogs and humans from the time it is very young. This will give you a lot of peace of mind when you are away from your dog. A dog that gets along with other dogs will also be easier to handle at boarding facilities and other homes.
Visit the boarding facility well before you leave for your vacation
India does not have standards or guidelines for pet boarding facilities. It is up to you to see the boarding facility in person (before you leave your dog there). Read up on international guidelines for boarding facilities and make a mental checklist to see if the one you visit adheres to this. Try and find a facility with a lot of outdoor space, and never leave your dog in a place that cages dogs.
Many people “train” their dog to stay at the boarding facility by leaving them there for two to three days as a trial. When you do leave the dog there for a longer span of time, the place won’t be unfamiliar to them.
Keep all your dog’s vaccination papers and forms ready
If you are leaving your dog at a boarding lodge or hotel before you go on vacation, then the facility will ask for doggie-related forms and proof of shots. Even if you leave your dog with a friend or family, it’s best to give them the paperwork in case of an emergency. Leave phone numbers of the vet and emergency care with your friend.
They will find it useful to have with them if they need to take your dog to the vet for some reason.
Does your dog have triggers?
If so, it’s necessary to tell your friend or the boarding facility exactly what your dog’s behavioural triggers are. Write down all the things your dog is not comfortable with, along with medical suggestions and share it with the facility.
Leave adequate pet food behind
If your friend is coming to stay, or if the dog is staying with a friend, keep food ready. Leave proper instructions with your friend about feeding time, the quantity of food, and what the friend should do once the food is over.
Write down proper instructions for medication
Similarly, if your dog suffers from any health condition, or takes prescribed medication, then leave specific instructions about dosage and time. Try and be available on the phone so your friend can contact you about doubts and other queries about medical care for your dog.
Use an anti-tick shampoo and give your dog a proper bath before you go. Make sure that the dog has no ticks and fleas, as it will then affect every other dog in the boarding facility.
Pay the boarding facility on time
Maintain a good relationship with the boarding facility. After all, they are doing you a huge service. Pay dues on time and don’t allow financial carelessness to become a factor. Your dog’s treatment at the boarding facility will depend on it.
If you follow these tips, you will be able to return to a happy dog after your vacation!