Just like us, every animal has different triggers for stress and anxiety. They are compassionate, loving, loyal and deeply attached to their human families. It makes perfect sense that a sudden change of environment with new people and animals to surround them is stressful for most of our four-legged comrades. From your perspective, all that’s happening is a few days of well-deserved vacation, or an unplanned trip abroad.
Many pooches will get into full-blown separation anxiety mode when you walk out to the store just to get some milk and get back in ten minutes. How can you prevent an entire vacation from becoming a stressful agony for your furry companions who stay behind?
A Friendly Face
Most families have at least one family member or a friend who develops that wonderful closeness with your pets. If they are willing and able, ask them to look after your pets while you’re away. This might mean that they will have the chance to bond and spend time with a loving, familiar friend and can significantly reduce their chances of anxiety.
Of course, your pet will notice that you’re away and their routine has been disrupted. As a result they will endure some amount of stress. But having someone who genuinely loves them and has an emotional bond with them can help them cope and overcome these moments of stress.
Only leave your pets with people who not only love them, but also know how to take excellent care of their every need.
A Professional Sitter
Although a pricier option, most pet parents will opt for a professional pet-sitter. Simply because they will know precisely what to do in any given situation and they are trained to keep your animals as stress-free as possible. If you can afford it, you can even ask them to visit your home a few times before the trip itself, so that your pets can socialize and become more familiar with the sitter.
Luckily, you now have access to a slew of reviews online. Not to mention asking for recommendations from your pet-owning friends to make sure you’re choosing the right service and the right person. Just like you wouldn’t leave your hyperactive Jack Russell with your grandparents, you need to consider many practical elements before choosing your sitter. Do they have the needed patience, are they able to calm an anxious animal, can they groom your pet to your standards?
Your pets need plenty of physical and mental stimulation throughout the day, and choosing the right person will make a difference in whether or not they will end up having everything they need, and then some.
Out-of-Home Pet Sitting Service
This means that your furry friend will need to adapt to spending time with other animals, and that there will likely be a whole new routine in place. Dogs who come to a new kennel, need exactly what every kid needs when starting a new school – they need to feel accepted by their new pack. Additionally, there will be a whole range of unfamiliar smells, tastes and rules to follow.
Some dogs and your feline friends can be picky when it comes to adjusting to a new diet, so it’s best to stick to high-quality Royal Canin food or a similar first-rate kibble choice that your pooch will enjoy and easily accept. If there’s a toy they find particularly soothing, it might be a good idea to let them bring it, but keep in mind that other animals might want to play with the toy as well.
Try to make this new environment as engaging, friendly and entertaining as possible. Of course, allow for extra activities that will help them steer their focus away from you leaving.
Spice It Up
Introducing new fun and helpful techniques in your pet’s life while you’re away can help them shift their attention. This helps them find a way to relax and stay a happy animal until you return. You can have your sitter book an occasional massage, as they can be exceptionally healthy and soothing when your pets are under more stress than usual.
For example, a canine sports massage can tremendously help your lonely pooch rid of built-up toxins, tension, boost their digestion. Especially if reducing stress is your key goal. If your dog has an existing condition that causes them pain, such as arthritis, an occasional massage can serve them as pain relief and provide them with better sleep.
Moreover, animals that have plenty of physical activities and exercise throughout the day are more likely to adjust quickly, and bond with their current caregiver while you’re away. An extra walk, a hike or a playmate for the afternoon can be exactly what your pet needs.
On a Final Note
Unfortunately, traveling with you is sometimes the most stressful event your pet can go through. Leaving them back while you’re on the road can be the least upsetting option for them, no matter how much you’d love them to tag along.
That’s why it’s essential to ensure your pets with the most suitable care they can get while you’re away, help them relax and overcome their anxiety with some extra effort. When you know that your beloved pets are well-fed, cared for, playful and lively, you can travel with a peace of mind, knowing that there’s a happy animal waiting for you to come back home.
About the writer: Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs,Teo and Mia. She is passionate about writing and always inspiring her readers to be clever in their lives. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world.