Summer have just begun and with it the vacation season. Many dog guardians are beginning to wonder what to do with their dogs while on holiday. Should we take the dog with us or leave him/her in someone else’s care? If you decide to leave your dog in the care of your family, a pet sitter or maybe in a dog hotel? When and how to accustom the dog to separation? We will try to answer these and other questions in this post.
Is it better to go on holiday with or without a dog?
Most dog owners take their pets on holiday, especially if they spend the holidays in Poland. The tourism industry is increasingly offering accommodation with the possibility of a dog. Petrol stations have water bowls on display. There are also more and more catering establishments where you can bring your dog. So if you have a dog that likes travelling and is comfortable in new places, you can take it with you on holiday.
However, if you go on holiday abroad and the distance requires you to fly, it is better to leave your dog in the care of someone else. Carrying your dog in a carrier in the cargo hold is very stressful for him, even if the flight is short. The time and place of your holiday are also an argument for leaving your dog behind. If you go to southern Europe, where temperatures often exceed 30-35 degrees Celsius, your dog, regardless of breed, will get very tired in such temperatures. When we are focused on sightseeing, we have to take into account that our dog won’t be able to go with us everywhere – so we will have to leave him in the hotel room. It can be difficult for him, especially when it is a new situation for him. For some dogs, the very stay in a new environment is a huge stress. And finally, if our dog is afraid of driving a car or has motion sickness, such a journey may be a real challenge.
When to start preparations for the separation?
If we have a puppy at home, we should get him used to separation from the first days. First, we leave him alone in the house, extending the time we go out. Whatever form of care we choose, we should gradually prepare our puppy for the fact that we will not always be the ones to take care of it. We do the same with adult dogs, although here it can be more difficult. In this case, already at the stage of planning a holiday, we should decide whether we want to spend it with our pet or leave it in someone else’s care. The more time you spend preparing your dog for this separation from you, the more likely it is that your dog will accept the new situation.
How do I prepare my dog for the care of friends, family or a pet sitter?
First of all, gradually. If you want to leave your dog in a hotel, the first visit should consist of getting to know the new place and the hotel staff together. If you like it, the next step is to leave your dog for a few hours. This should be done gradually. Each subsequent visit should be longer than the previous one. A good idea, before we leave for a longer period, is to leave the dog for a weekend first. If you want to entrust the care of your dog to a friend or family member, you should also make sure that the dog has time to get used to its new surroundings. The person who will take care of our dog should get to know his daily schedule and at least a few times take him for a walk. To make it easier for the dog to bear separation from its guardian, it is possible to start giving it supplements which have a calming and anti-anxiety effect a few weeks earlier and to put an adaptation collar on it about a week before departure. Regardless of the form of care, when leaving a dog, we must remember to take its food, bed, favourite blanket or toy with us.
How can you check whether your dog is ready for its owner’s departure?
The best way is to leave it for a while in the place where it is going to stay during our departure. If the dog feels comfortable there, it will be happy to welcome the person who will take care of it. Watch your dog carefully for signs of stress, such as a desire to eat and the ability to rest in a new place. If you notice that your pet is panting, drooling, sweating paw pads or its coat is covered with dandruff, it means that it is not yet ready to stay for a long time.
How to choose a pet sitter/dog hotel?
If we entrust someone with the care of our pet, we must be sure that he will take care of the safety and well-being of the dog. First of all, you should read, and read the opinions of other people about the hotel or the person taking care of the dogs. However, this is not enough. Choosing a hotel, you should personally check the conditions in which our four-legged friend will stay. Large hotels for dogs have completely different standards than the smaller ones. Here, often a large number of places, unfortunately, do not go hand in hand with the quality of service. Recently small backyard hotels, where only a few dogs stay, are becoming more and more popular. Already during the initial conversation with the hotel employee, you should ask what the daily schedule of the „hotel guest” looks like – whether the dog is regularly walked, whether it has a chance to play with other dogs, whether there is a runway available, where our pet will have a chance to run freely. But most importantly, how long during the day will the dog have to stay in the box. Because regardless of whether it is a large hotel, or rather a small hotel, to ensure the safety of dogs, they should be closed at least for the night in separate boxes. For dogs that have been introduced to a kennel cage, it is easier to accept such temporary confinement than for those that do not know a kennel.
If you decide on petsitter care, you should also familiarise yourself with the place where you want to leave your dog. For some dogs, this form of care will be a better choice, especially if our pet is not fond of other dogs. Some pet sitters offer to take care of a dog in a client’s home. This involves walking the dog three times a day. A dog may feel less stressed in its own home, but you have to take into account that dogs are pack animals and if they are left alone for days and nights, they can feel very lonely.