When was the last time you were on vacation with your dog? And when was the last time you spent holidays separately?
It is usually stressful for both owners & dogs to spend some time away. I am personally not too excited to have fun without my 2 Italian Greyhounds. But hey, they say, you have to lose something (dogs) to appreciate it (dogs) even more. Haha :)
Lucky you if you have close friends or family who can look after your doggo anytime you need! For us, it is a bit of a different story – we have 2 Italian Greyhounds and, to be honest, we don’t have many friends who’d be excited to spend time with them while we’re off (weird people, I know!).
So where to leave your dogs at when you’re leaving for a vacation?
- The best choice is to go with someone who knows your dogs & whom your dogs know as well. So the first option is definitely your family & close friends
- Another great option is your dog’s play friends – staying in a place where you know the other dog reduces your dog’s stress level and may seem like a vacation for dogs too!
- Breed’s community members. It’s always preferable to leave a dog to people who know the breed really well. Italian Greyhounds are especially sensitive and require different treatment compared to quite some other breeds. Lucky for us, there is a strong community of Italian Greyhound lovers in our country and they’re very supportive when it comes to spending vacay at their place :)
- People sourced via trusted dog apps. What I like the most about such apps is that volunteering caregivers have their own profiles & get public reviews from other dog owners – trust is very important here. In Lithuania we have a superb app called Boop where you can easily find a dog lover who’ll be excited to take care of your pet while you’re away. Check for similar apps in your country/city!
- Dog hotels. But be mindful when choosing one. Consider if your dog feels safe and is social enough to be in there with other dogs; if there will be sufficient attention from people, etc. Personally, this is the least preferable option for us as our Italian Greyhounds are spoiled too much :)
How to prepare yourself, caregivers & dogs for a separate vacation?
Once you have an open-hearted person who’ll take care of your dog once you’re away, be sure to complete the steps for a smooth process:
- If you and/or your dog hasn’t met the person, do that at least a couple of days prior to the longer stay. Make sure you trust the person and that your dog is not totally unfamiliar with her/him. It’s super stressful to be left with someone your pet doesn’t know at all, not to mention staying without its owner.
- Get your dog familiar with other pets, if there will be any in the caregiver's place. Make sure they get along well. Organize a play date before!
- Together with your dog visit the place where he/she will stay. Let him get used to the place while you are there. You being there will help to get used to the place easier. When you’ll come there the next time, your dog will know the place already and be less stressed to stay there without you.
- Write down all the instructions carefully and brief the caregiver. It’s important to explain the daily routine, eating schedule, special needs, potential threats, allergies, etc. Caregiver must know everything!
- Be open about the potential challenges with your dog: does it pee/poo at home if stressed? Do they have a strong separation anxiety? Do they tend to bark a lot or chew sofa legs? It will help to manage the expectations of a caregiver. E.g. If your dog is used to being with people all day & a caregiver is out for 8 hours straight, this will definitely be a problem for both the caretaker and the dog. Put all the cards on the table!
- Bring your dog’s essentials: bed, blanket, crate (if needed), a few toys, food bowls, enough food, treats, poo bags, clothes (especially important for Italian Greyhounds!), shampoo, toothbrush, medicine for emergencies, leave your vet’s & your own contact number, etc. The more familiar stuff your dog will have in a new place, the less stress it’ll experience. Not even mentioning that a caregiver should not need to think about where to find food to buy for your dog.
And that’s it! You’re ready to go off for a well-deserved vacay! And you have just made sure your dog will have a great and stress-free time while you’re away.
Last but not least, get some generous gift to a caretaker once you’re back - they took care of your most beloved pet, they deserve a great thank-you gift, don’t they?