With the holiday season just around the corner, globetrotting Australians are in full preparation mode for Christmas – and their summer holiday. But for many pet owners, preparing to leave their pet behind can be stressful and overwhelming.
A recent survey has shown that 69 per cent of Australian pet parents view their dog as their child and that 97 per cent worry about leaving their pup behind for long periods of time*. With 8 million pet owners in Australia**, this is a large proportion of vacationing Aussies.
To help you plan for your holiday, we spoke to dog psychologist Louise Peresa for her top tips on how to prepare your pooch for when you jet off.
1. Before jetting off
Just as with any holiday planning, preparing your dog for your travels should be done with plenty of time in advance. Make sure you let your vet knows that someone else will be caring for your dog while you’re away. Also, give your carer permission to authorise any emergency procedures or to allow for treatments in case your dog is unwell.
2. Keep it local
Apart from sticking to normal routines, a great way to lessen your pup’s separation anxiety is to keep things local. Instead of leaving your pup at a confined kennel, choose a pet sitter who lives in your neighbourhood.
A great option is to book a pet sitter through pet sharing sites like Mad Paws, where you can find a trusted pet sitter that meets your pup’s needs and also lives in your neighbourhood.
This way your dog can keep walking in a familiar area. Furthermore, not only will your pup be close to home, he will also be taken care of by an animal-loving individual who will make your fur baby feel right at home.
3. Write a list of routines
Your dog will already be feeling confused and sad while you’re away, so it’s essential your carer sticks to their usual routine.
Write down a list of daily routines such as feeding schedule, how often to top up the water bowl, walking times, when he gets a treat and when you normally have play time with your pup.
Also write a list of things you would do to comfort your dog along with any allergies or behavioural problems. Providing the carer with this information will keep your fur baby happy and balanced while you’re away.
4. Pack their favourite things
If your dog is staying at a different house while you’re away, it’s important that he has items that remind him of you and your home.
Pack your dog’s favourite things to take with him to his carers, including his bed, toys, food bowl, favourite dog treats and his leash.
Dogs have an impeccable sense of smell, so he can find comfort in his familiar things.
5. Leave with confidence
Once it’s time to jet off, it’s important that you don’t show your dog any signs of stress or anxiety. Leave like you usually would on a normal day. As much as you want to say a proper farewell to your pet, your dog can easily pick up on your emotions and long goodbyes will only confuse him. If you’re feeling anxious about leaving him, he will feel anxious about you leaving.
6. Chat with your dog while you’re away
A perk of today’s digital society is that we never have to be completely cut off from our loved ones. Just as you can chat to your friends or family on Facetime while you’re away, there is now an option for you and your pet to catch up.
The fur version of Facetime, Pet Chatz lets you call your dog while you’re away so they never miss your companionship.
Not only does Pet Chatz allow you to talk to your dog, it also has a scent dispenser that sends out comforting scents - and you also have an option to give your dog a treat on your command. What’s even more genius is that the unit senses motion so that your dog can be the one calling you if he wants!
* Mad Paws Research 2017