Out of Office: Leaving Your Pup When You Travel
As I write this, I am gathering my last few things I need before I drive to JFK airport. I am headed to Italy for the next week and while I couldn't be more eager to get there, I always get super anxious when I have to leave Ziggy for long periods of time.
He has always been very attached to me and acts oddly when I have to leave him. I know all of his quirks and the things he likes and the things he hates. Nobody understands your pup quite like you do as their mom. So prepare as much as you can to alleviate the stress on you and your pup while you travel.
One of the things I did first to prepare was find somebody who I could trust to care for him. I typically like to ask friends and family if they can watch him before I call a dog care service. While my parent's dog, Riley, loves be surrounded by other dogs and easily trusts other people, Ziggy isn't as lenient and prefers the company of one person who he knows well.
I then packed his travel bag. I got an air tight container for his food and measured exactly how much he needed and then some extra in case. He can act a little funny when he realizes I'm gone so I also left a package of wet food in case he wouldn't eat his normal food. I also gave him 3 of his favorite toys (a bone, a ball, and a squeaky toy) and a new toy as an extra little surprise for him. I also threw in some pet-friendly wet wipes, a couple rolls of poop bags, his harness, and collapsible bowls. Be sure to also include any medications or preventative medicines (heart worm or flea/tick medicine) if they need it while you're gone.
I also left very detailed instructions for the person watching him. I typed them up and emailed them to him and read it over a couple times to make sure I did not forget anything. Even if you think you are stating the obvious, you're better safe than sorry. One of the most important things to leave on your instruction letter is the name of your vet, the name of the clinic, and their number. Even if your dog won't be staying in close proximity to your vet, if there was an emergency and their caretaker had to bring them into the closest vet, they can call your regular veterinarian about your dog's medical history, allergies, vaccinations, etc. That is super important! I will be out of the country and my phone service will be limited, so in case anything ever happened and nobody could get in contact with me, I need to know that his caretaker has everything they need in an emergency. It's good to give your dog's caretaker the number of anybody else you are traveling with just in case they need to contact you but you do not see/answer your phone.
The last thing I did was say goodbye to Ziggy when I dropped him off. I hung around with him for a bit, gave him a hug and a kiss, and then waited another couple minutes before I left. I feel that if you make a big deal out of your goodbyes and then walk right out the door, it's harder on your pup because they are left confused and without their mom so suddenly. So say your farewells and then wait before leaving for good - it will make it a little easier on your dog.
Don't be afraid to ask for daily updates and pictures! I am sure whoever your dog is staying with will be happy to reassure you that your pup is happy and well.
Have fun on your travels this summer! And don't think of leaving your pup as a stressful, negative time - think of it as their own little vacation!