Every once in a while, a holiday is what you need to recover from all the stress that life brings. The thought of going on a vacation is nice, but it can be quite hard to have a good time when you’re leaving your pet behind.
Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Separation anxiety usually occurs when a pup becomes distressed every time their owner leaves. A dog who misses his owner may end up not eating properly, or worse, run away from home to try to find them. Most canines will want to be close to their owners at all times, and those that aren’t used to being alone may exhibit undesirable behaviours.
A dog suffering from separation anxiety may show the following disruptive behaviours:
- Barking or whining hysterically
- Chewing things up
- Scratching at the door
- Housetraining mistakes
Often, the undesirable behaviours listed above start immediately after you leave. In such cases, you have to consult with your vet or a dog trainer to gradually adjust your pup to being alone.
Here are pet care tips from a Dubai pet food company to ease your mind while you’re away on vacation.
1. Introduce your pup to his crate
Place your dog inside a crate for short periods while you’re still present. Then, gradually increase the time your pup stays in the crate until he gets used to it. Don’t forget to reward your pet’s quiet behaviour with praise and a tasty treat.
At first, leave your dog inside the crate for just a few minutes. Then, gradually increase the time as such that your pup will no longer get shocked when you leave.
2. Make leaving and arriving unexciting
The moment you leave and arrive should be something uneventful. If you make leaving a big deal, with lots of hugs and kisses, your dog will assume that you’re no longer coming back. Once you return, avoid making a fuss and going directly to your pet’s crate.
As much as possible, wait until your pup is calm and quiet before you go greet him. Try to treat your arrival and departure like any other time so that your pet will see it as a normal occurrence.
3. Make sure to update pet ID tags
In case, heaven forbid, your dog decides to make a break for it, you need to make sure he’s wearing your current phone number on his ID tag. This makes it easier for the person who will find your dog to reach you.
ID tags are great but can easily fall off over time. For added safety, you can try microchipping your dog. These are implantable computer chips that have a unique identification number to help you reunite with your lost pup. One limitation of microchips is that their readers aren’t universal, it’s best that you let your pet get chipped with a common brand.
4. Provide detailed instructions
Whether you left your dog in a pet home or have someone come over to look after him, you should have clear information so that there’s no room for confusion or guessing. Bear in mind that most puppies aren’t ready for unsupervised freedom until they’re a year and a half old. Leave a note that specifies:
- How much food the dog should get every meal
- How many treats are okay to feed
- The dog’s quirks like running after the mail main or delivery trucks
- The bathing and exercise schedule
It’s a good idea to let your pet-sitter come in advance so that you can walk him through your dog’s routine. Show the sitter where everything is and introduce him to your dog. You’d have to make sure that the sitter and your furry pal will get along well as you’ll not be around to play referee.
Good communication is the key to ensure your pet’s safety. Leave as much detailed information as you can like phone numbers the sitter might need, such as the vet’s office or emergency numbers of your friends or family in case you are unreachable.
5. Leave behind small comforts
While you’re away, your dog will need something that will remind him of your scent. Leave an old shirt on your dog’s bed or crate so that he’ll get comforted. If you will be away for a long time, leave some interactive dog toys like those that dispense treats to keep him occupied.
Make sure that your pet-sitter also knows how to refill the treats. Also, ask your sitter to play some soothing music during the day, especially if your dog is at home with the noise of an active household.
Leave in a relaxed state
Dogs can sense how their humans feel. If possible, leave your pup in a relaxed state as it will both serve you well. In the end, it’s probably harder for you than your animal friend to say goodbye.
Make farewells swift and keep moving. Once you get back from your vacation, you can both have a sweet reunion to look forward to and show your excitement then.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.