Let's face it. We'd all want to take Fido travelling with us, but it's unfortunately not always possible. So what do you need to know before leaving your pooch behind?
1- Who do you leave your dog with?
This is my biggest worry and when I can, I usually leave Benji with my mom, which lets me leave with a complete peace of mind as I know she will take great care of him and he also loves spending time with her. If you are able to leave your dog with someone you trust at 200%, that would obviously be the best option.
However, if that is not a possibility, you need to start thinking way in advance in order to have enough time to look for someone, get to know them, visit them and introduce your dog to them.
Although it's common and some people are very happy with this option, I am personally not a fan of leaving any of my dogs in a kennel. I have tried different ones but after several bad experiences and 2 dogs dying there, I am never going back.
After many unsuccessful visits at potential sitters' homes, I decided to post an ad with the exact requirements I was looking for, including: AC, a quiet home where the sitter would be home most of the time, no other dogs, no young kids due to Benji's size and ideally someone with experience.
I struck GOLD.
I found an absolutely amazing retired couple who I still keep in touch with. One important thing when you meet a potential sitter is your first impression as well as your dog's. With this couple, I knew I wouldn't have to worry one bit.
You've found the perfect pet sitter. Now what?
Whatever you do, do NOT leave without filling out any paperwork. I cannot stress this enough. Whoever you find and however amazing they might sound, at the end of the day, your dog is left with a stranger.
Just the other day, I was chatting with an employee at the shopping mall who was telling me she lost her 2 puppies when she left them with a pet sitter that she trusted completely. When she came back from vacation, the sitter and the dogs had disappeared and there was no paperwork filled out. The police couldn't do anything about it.
Paperwork guys... It matters.
3- What to prepare for the big day
Fully vaccinate your dog. Bring his bed, enough food to last in case you'll be back later than planned, a crate if needed, poop bags, his favorite toys, a dog tag with an emergency phone number in case he gets lost... basically all the essentials.
On top of that, I would recommend you write a one-pager with your dog's routine that the sitter can refer to. Mine is very detailed and I include everything from the quantity of food Benji eats and how his toy is called Mister Frog to how many times a day he usually poops. You want them to know EVERYTHING.
4- When you leave
I know it's hard, I've been there. But don't stay around forever kissing your dog goodbye. This will make it seem like a huge deal and your pooch could get anxious. Give him a good scratch, a big kiss and most importantly, before you leave, tell them you'll be back soon. He might not understand everything you say, but your dog knows exactly how you feel. Give him a big smile and enjoy your time off!
- Know who you want to leave your dog with (kennel/individual)
- Know what your requirements are (someone who's home all day, no other pets, etc.)
- Fill out an agreement. Make one if you have to.
- Write down what your sitter needs to know about your dog.
- Vaccinate your dog and pack all the essentials
- Leave with a smile, enjoy your vacay :)